Mitigation banking is the concept of restoration, enhancement, creation, and in exceptional circumstances, preservation of wetlands and/or other aquatic resources expressly for the purpose of providing compensatory mitigation in advance of authorized impacts to similar resources.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is an important player on the Interagency Review Team in South Florida, whose purpose is to ensure that mitigation banks are successful and will provide a full suite of wetland functions and values. Currently, the Service is involved in the planning, construction, and operation of approximately 30 wetland compensatory mitigation banks in South Florida. These banks range in size from 81 to 5,261 ha (200 to 13,000 acres), and are designed in part to support the ecosystem approach through the enhancement and protection of larger tracts of wetlands than would normally be associated with mitigation for development. Banks are often sited adjacent to publicly held natural areas which increases the spatial extent of protected lands. The strategic location of mitigation banks also benefits wide-ranging wildlife species such as the Florida panther by providing corridors between environmentally sensitive areas.
Mitigation banks have the potential to complement the Multi-Species Recovery Plan through habitat restoration, and the restoration and maintenance of the biodiversity of native plants and animals. Incentive may be provided to mitigation banking applicants for designing banks which would meet elements of a recovery plan for a particular listed species, or which could ultimately increase a species' population.
For More Information contact the Program Coordinator, Constance Cassler.