What Is Mitigation Banking?
Pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Florida Statutes Chapter 373, any development activity that adversely affects wetlands must be authorized in advance through the permitting process. In order to obtain a permit, the applicant must demonstrate compliance with specific guidelines. Permit applicants must establish, In sequence, that: 1) impacts to aquatic resources cannot be avoided, 2) efforts to minimize aquatic resource impacts through modification of construction plans and designs have been taken, and 3) compensation for unavoidable impacts have been made. If impacts are considered unavoidable compensation is usually required to mitigate for lost wetland functions and value. These unavoidable impacts that result from project development must be fully compensated for through a wetland mitigation plan. Compensation is where wetland mitigation plays a role.
Mitigation banking is an approved and accepted method for compensating for unavoidable impacts. Banks are designed to create, restore, and/or enhance large, ecologically important wetland tracts in advance of permitted impacts. Based upon the type, size, and function of the improvements, the bank is authorized by regulatory/resource agencies to sell a certain number of credits. As part of a sales transaction, the number of credits necessary to satisfy the requirements of a permit holder's U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and/or Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit(s) are debited against the mitigation bank's created functional wetlands credits.
Upon successful restoration these wetlands will be transferred to either the Nature Conservancy, Northwest Florida Aquatic Preserves, or the Northwest Florida Water Management District, along with a long term maintenance trust fund, to ensure their management and function in perpetuity.
Garcon Peninsula Mitigation Bank,L.L.C.