Mitigation banking is the restoration, enhancement, creation, and in exceptional circumstances, preservation of wetlands or other aquatic habitats to provide compensatory mitigation in advance of authorized impacts to these aquatic habitats, i.e. you can improve wetlands now to balance out any damage to wetlands you may do later.
The Service is part of a multiagency team in South Florida that ensures ensure mitigation banks are successful and provide a full suite of wetland values. Currently, the Service is involved in the planning, construction, and operation of approximately 30 wetland mitigation banks in South Florida. These range in size from 200 to 13,000 acres, and are designed in part to support 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, increasing the expanse of protected lands. The strategic location of mitigation banks benefits wide-ranging wildlife species, such as the Florida panther, by providing natural corridors between environmentally sensitive areas.
Mitigation banks have the potential to complement the recovery of many of Florida’s threatened and endangered species 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.