- Mitigation banks are used to offset unavoidable impacts to a natural resource due to a proposed activity or development i.e., flora, fauna, aquatic resources, etc. This ensures that ecological loss is compensated by the preservation and restoration of wetlands, natural habitats, streams, etc. in other areas so that there is no net loss to the environment.
- They must be within the specific region of the impacted project area.
- Regional Area is defined/mapped by the Regulatory Agencies.
- They must be a qualified/certified land bank specific to the impacted feature, i.e., impacts to wetlands or other natural protected features on the “subject property” would need to be mitigated by the purchase of the appropriate credits from a qualified land bank containing a like-quality natural protected feature.
What is the process:
- In the case of a proposed real estate development project, impacts on the environment must be analyzed. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is an important part of the approval process with projects that involve discretionary approvals.
- CEQA requires a full investigation of potential impacts on the environment that may potentially result from the proposed development.
- Identified impacts must be mitigated so purchasing credits from a Mitigation Bank provides one method of offsetting the impacts.
What are the advantages:
- Mitigation Banks have a perpetual conservation easement on the land and a trust fund dedicated to managing the resource within the Mitigation Bank.
- Mitigation Ratios provide some assurance that the impact on the environment will be offset to a net-zero and possibly a net positive.
- Mitigation Ratios vary, however, a 3 or 4 to 1 ratio is common: For example – if the proposed development would impact 1 acre of a natural resource the needed mitigation would be 3 or 4 acres of mitigation credits would need to be purchased.
Blog Written By: Bob Garrison, Director of Consulting Services
Comments or questions? Please feel free to contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org