Wetland Mitigation Banks: An Addendum

When I was searching (with little success) for information on habitat loss caused by vacation/second homes, I came across a September 2003 article from Underwater Naturalist, “Protecting Coastal Wetlands.” It details the results of a survey.

It had some statistics in it that complement those I quoted in my recent post on Wetland Mitigation Banks.

For example, in that post I quoted a Nature Conservancy magazine (summer 2008) estimate that there are 108 million acres of wetlands in the lower 48 states. But Dave Grant, the author of “Protecting Coastal Wetlands,” states that Alaska has more than half the wetlands in the United States, or about 170 million acres.

I also mentioned in the previous post that some states had developed nearly 90% of their wetlands, but Grant said that California led the pack, with a 99% loss of wetlands.

Here’s an interesting quote from “Protecting Coastal Wetlands”:

Not all mitigation attempts are successful. For example, in New Jersey, almost half of these projects have failed, and the result has been a net loss of wetlands. Tidal restoration projects have the best track record, especially when initiated adjacent to existing, functioning wetlands. Forested and other freshwater wetland mitigation projects have not demonstrated great success, and some enhancement efforts have been controversial. The least favored options are Contribution or Mitigation Bank programs, which allow the destruction of a wetland, as long as there is no net loss in an area. A major concern is the scope of that affected “area” since it may allow the substitution of wetlands some distance away, reducing the value of the replacement.

I don’t know if Grant was using “wetland mitigation banks” in the same way as the Nature Conservancy article.