What is Mitigation Banking?
Mitigation banking as defined by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is:
A practice in which an environmental enhancement and preservation project is conducted by a public agency or private entity (banker) to provide mitigation for unavoidable wetland impacts within a defined region (mitigation service area).
The bank is the site itself, and the currency sold by the banker to the impact permittee is a credit, which represents the wetland ecological value equivalent to the complete restoration of one acre. The number of potential credits permitted for the bank and the credit debits required for impact permits are determined by the permitting agencies.
Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank is a fully permitted mitigation bank capable of providing wetland mitigation credits that can help to satisfy both federal and state requirements.
Currently, hundreds of wetland mitigation banks operate in the United States. These banks are used to restore and maintain the highest levels of natural habitat areas along with protecting numerous animal species and habitat types. This popularity reflects that mitigation banking is cost effective as a means of replenishing ecological resources, reducing delays in permitting, eliminating temporary losses of natural resources during development, and assuring maintenance of these vital natural areas forever.
HRMB Mitigation Goals
- Eliminate current pine production practices
- Improve surface water flows
- Prevent clear-cutting of cypress and mixed hardwoods
- Restore and nurture native plant communities
- Employ appropriate land management practices, including prescribed fire in fire dependent communities
- Improve wildlife habitat
HRMB Mitigation Activities
- Preserving the mitigation bank site by conservation easement
- Eliminating the pine plantation silviculture practices
- Pine tree thinning and removal to densities consistent with natural communities
- Planting appropriate native tree species
- Installing culverts
- Removing two trail roads that traverse Boggy Branch Creek, removing bedding/furrows throughout the site
- Preserving and nurturing native vegetation
- Implementing a prescribed burn program within fire dependent communities
- Managing the site perpetually to promote healthy native communities in a manner intended to increase wildlife diversity and carrying capacity for those species currently utilizing, or anticipated to utilize, the site.