Mitigation Wetlands

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In 2003, the new Mitigation Wetlands Team will develop a technical/regulatory guidance for mitigation/restoration wetlands. Mitigation wetlands are built to replace wetland habitats lost to development or degradation. A no-net-loss policy among federal and state governments mandates that degraded or destroyed wetlands be restored or replaced. Mixed authorities in the federal and state government strain resources for mitigating or restoring wetlands and often lead to overlapping, if not duplicative, authorities. Some states are still in the process of delineating their wetlands areas as a first step toward implementing no-net-loss policies and rules.

The technical/regulatory guidance envisioned by the Mitigation Wetlands Team will help standardize criteria for evaluating and documenting the performance of a mitigation or restoration wetland. The adoption of this guidance by state and federal authorities will help ensure the sustainability of wetlands as wildlife habitats.

The Mitigation Wetlands Team plans to first conduct a regulatory overview to assess overlapping, conflicting, and dual authorities that oversee no-net-loss policies that affect restored wetlands. The team will develop a flow diagram depicting the regulatory framework and the key decision points within the regulatory approval process. The team will identify issues that impede completion of wetlands and will recommend alternative solutions. This project will include the review of existing case studies to evaluate different criteria being used to assess the value of a wetland and the health of wetlands as a habitat for wildlife.

Dib Goswami (Wash.) and Paul Eger (MN) lead the Mitigation Wetlands Team.