Well, it’s about water quality.
As mentioned in the previous blog post about mitigation banking, the primary purpose of banking is to maintain or even increase the water quality of our wetlands and streams.
Wetlands and streams are protected by the federal government in large part because they are nature’s means of helping filter our water. They provide balance to the earth’s ecology.
The 1950s and ‘60s saw a growing awareness in the United States of people’s relationship to the environment. Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring was released, and the end of the ‘60s saw several pollution-related disasters, including the Cuyahoga River fire in Ohio, which occurred because of the tremendous amount of pollution dumped into the river.
Over the next 40 years, as laws were tested and refined and scientific understanding about how best to preserve and protect waters of the U.S. increased, mitigation banking began to stand out as the best means to preserve and protect both wetlands and streams while encouraging continued economic growth and development of roads and bridges, housing, energy infrastructure, etc.
How do mitigation bankers restore wetlands and streams?
Restoring and preserving wetlands and streams is a complicated process that takes many years and careful monitoring. Mitigation bankers either preserve a wetland area or stream system or attempt to restore it to as close as possible to its original state.
For example, previously, the land for Fall Off Mitigation Bank had been used for grazing cattle and farming, which depleted the soil and affected the biodiversity of plant life in the area, thereby decreasing water quality. In restoring the bank, environmental scientists are working to eradicate non-native and invasive plants and animals and reintroduce native plants that increase water quality. The process will be monitored by the scientists and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over many years to confirm that the bank’s restoration process is effective.
Want to learn more?
To learn more about the history of mitigation banking, view our Mitigation Banking Timeline web pages or register to receive a free infographic that details how mitigation banking became the Gold Standard for offsetting unavoidable impacts to our wetlands and streams.