Wetland mitigation banks are one option available to compensate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands.
What is a wetland mitigation bank?
A wetland mitigation bank is a site where wetlands are restored, created, enhanced, or in exceptional circumstances preserved, for the express purpose of providing compensatory mitigation in advance of unavoidable impacts to wetlands or other aquatic resources. Banks provide the option of purchasing credits to offset the unavoidable impacts of a project.
North Fork Newaukum Wetland Mitigation Bank, June 19, 2012. Nine years after construction.
Columbia River Wetland Mitigation Bank, July 9, 2014. One year after construction.
East Fork Lewis Bank, July 6, 2015. One year after construction.
Weatherwax Wetland Mitigation Bank, June 14, 2011. Prior to bank approval.
Snohomish Basin Wetland Mitigation Bank - Phase 3, Sept. 24, 2013. One year after construction.
Benefits from banks
Banks typically involve consolidating many small wetland mitigation projects into a larger, potentially more ecologically valuable site. This consolidation encourages growth of more diverse habitat and wetland functions. It also helps create more sustainable ecosystems.
Wetland mitigation banks are more likely to succeed than permittee-responsible mitigation projects because the banks are built before damage occurs to another wetland site. Banking has the potential to increase ecological benefits, save money for project applicants, and make the application and permitting processes more efficient. Banking also creates an economic incentive for restoring, creating, enhancing and/or preserving wetlands.
The wetland mitigation banks rule (Chapter 173-700 WAC) identifies the criteria necessary for implementing and operating an environmentally sound banking system in Washington. We collaborate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and EPA to certify banks across the state.
How do I use a bank?
If your development project is within the service area of a wetland mitigation bank, you may propose to compensate for your unavoidable impacts to wetlands by purchasing credits from an approved bank. As the permittee, submit a bank use plan to the permitting agency/agencies. The agency/agencies will review the proposal and determine whether or not using the bank is appropriate.
How do I...