With a new wetland mitigation bank being approved in Vancouver, Wash., private and public sector developers can now purchase mitigation credits to offset unavoidable impacts from their building projects.
The Washington Department of Ecology has certified the privately-owned 113-acre Terrace Mitigation Bank. It’s the third entrepreneurial wetland bank to open in Clark County since 2011.
The Terrace Mitigation Bank is expected to generate about 81 credits that developers can purchase to offset unavoidable wetland impacts in the Burnt Bridge, Lacamas, Lakeshore and Salmon creek watersheds.
Each credit will represent about 1.4 acres of restoration work on the ground. A permanent conservation easement will ensure the bank’s site remains in a natural state.
Ecology, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, city of Vancouver and other state and federal agency partners worked together to approve the number of mitigation credits the Terrace Bank can generate as well as develop performance standards the bank must meet over the next decade.
Located in Vancouver near the intersection of Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard and Northeast 162nd Avenue, the bank site was a former peat bog that had been tiled and drained to grow crops. Terrace Bank will re-establish the wetland by removing the existing tile drainage system, taking out a culvert, and planting native grasses, trees and shrubs.
The site includes 2,750 linear feet of Burnt Bridge Creek. Bank owners have proposed reshaping the creek bank throughout the site and planting riparian vegetation to help shade and reduce stream temperatures for fish and wildlife.
Gordon White, Ecology Shorelands Program manager said, “Protecting wetlands and the benefits they provide makes environmental and economic sense. It would cost far more to come up with human-engineered solutions to control floods, provide clean water, and protect essential habitat. By harnessing the power of the marketplace, wetland mitigation banks provide a level of certainty that Washington can grow and develop while protecting our environment.”
Wetland banks engage the private market for conservation
Wetland mitigation banks are an important strategy for engaging the private sector and power of the marketplace to sustain Washington’s remaining wetlands. The Terrace Mitigation Bank will be no exception. Wetlands are essential for protecting Washington waters by supporting and protecting communities and businesses by filtering drinking water, holding flood waters, providing fish and wildlife habitat, and supporting wildlife-related recreation. Ecology has certified 17 wetland mitigation banks across the state and is reviewing four more.