Why buy credits in a mitigation bank instead of creating a wetland or restoring a stream on- or off-site? Purchasing credits gives the developer these major benefits:
Save time and money: The developer, after following the 404(B)(1) Guidelines to try to avoid or minimize wetland or stream impacts, then does not have to go through the time-consuming permit approval process to create or restore a wetland, riparian buffer or stream reach. One of the benefits described in the Federal Guidance for the Establishment, Use and Operation of Mitigation Banks is that “Use of mitigation banks may reduce permit processing times and provide more cost-effective compensatory mitigation opportunities for projects that qualify.” Additionally, the developer may not be experienced in wetland or stream restoration, may not have the additional land required for mitigation, may not wish to encumber the mitigation property in perpetuity or other issues. For the long term, buying credits in a bank is usually less costly than “doing your own”, particularly when the cost of the additional permitting process is added to the construction task. Mitigation requirements like easements and long-term monitoring can be time consuming activities.
Eliminates risk and responsibility: The credit transaction legally transfers all responsibility for wetland and stream mitigation to the mitigation banker.
And purchasing credits in a mitigation bank brings one more highly significant benefit for the environment:
The mitigation bank assures that the mitigation works – and lasts. Too often, wetlands built on-site eventually fail because the landowner does not have sufficient incentive or know how to maintain them.
Mitigation bankers assume total responsibility for the mitigation and guarantee perpetual maintenance of the bank’s environmental assets Mitigation is typically performed prior to the wetland impacts, therefore reducing or eliminating temporal loss of wetland functions.
Mitigation financial securities and conservation easements are in place prior to wetland impacts.
Information Courtesy the National Mitigation Banking Association (NMBA)