Research the business side of banking
Establishing a wetland mitigation bank is similar to setting up any other business. The first step entails doing some initial research by asking:
- Do local jurisdictions in the watershed allow the use of banks to offset wetland impacts from development and construction?
- If banking is allowed, is there a market for bank credits? If you had credits to sell, would you have buyers? Have wetland impacts happened in the area? Is there a need for mitigation?
- Is the site appropriate for a bank?
The last question may be the most critical because having a wetland on a piece of property doesn't mean it will make a good wetland mitigation bank. Consider how the site currently looks and ask:
- Can the wetlands be restored, created, enhanced, or preserved?
- What actions would you need to take to make it a bank?
- How can the site provide ecological benefits in the service area?
As you research whether to become a bank sponsor, ask yourself whether you are prepared for a long-term commitment.
- Unlike other businesses that may change over time, bank sites are designed to compensate for losses to wetlands and their functions in perpetuity.
- Wetland mitigation banks are permanently protected, usually through a conservation easement. This means the site can't be sold or used for other uses - even into the future.
Another critical question is whether a proposed bank site is large enough to generate sufficient credits to be economically viable. It often takes a large initial investment and bank credits typically are released over a 10-year time span. Some key questions to ask:
- Do you have the money to make a bank site that is ecologically appropriate and environmentally sustainable?
- Do you have the environmental background to determine the mitigation actions necessary on the site or will consultants need to be hired?
- After construction, what type of on-going maintenance and monitoring will the bank need?
See Step 2: Investigate
for more information regarding what you should investigate about your bank site.