Become a bank sponsor

Find guidance on how to become a wetland mitigation bank sponsor. A bank sponsor is any public or private entity responsible for establishing and, in most cases, operating a bank. Learn about becoming a bank sponsor and establishing a wetland mitigation bank.

We work in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as the co-chairs of the Interagency Review Team (IRT), to certify and regulate wetland mitigation banks in Washington.

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.

Investigate your potential bank site

Anyone interested in setting up a wetland mitigation bank should first gather some preliminary technical information and research available background information about the potential bank site.

  • Find out if a wetland delineation has been conducted on your site.
    • If not, is there any information available that would identify wetlands are currently on the site or have been in the past?
  • What types of wetlands exist in your watershed?
  • Are the soils and hydrology at the site suitable for wetlands?
  • Is there any potential for cultural resources on the site?
  • Is the site located on agricultural lands of long-term commercial significance?

We have tools to help you locate an appropriate bank site:

Propose a bank project

  • Step 1: Submit a complete prospectus to our wetland mitigation banking staff and the Corps.
  • Step 2: We and the Corps review the prospectus and determine whether it is complete.
  • Step 3: We and the Corps provide feedback, information, and guidance to the wetland mitigation bank sponsor to ensure everyone understands the next step(s) of the certification process.

For a detailed list of information required to propose a wetland mitigation bank in Washington, please refer to the wetland mitigation banking rule and checklists provided below: