Swamp School alerted me to this editorial in The Columbian about the Columbia River wetland mitigation bank in Clark County, Washington.
Developers will be able to purchase credits from the bank. Why?
Because while developers traditionally have been required to create small wetland areas within the boundaries of a project, these offsets have been largely ineffective. Developers typically are not biologists nor are they water-quality experts, and requiring them to provide wetlands is akin to asking the chef at a five-star restaurant to also serve as maitre d’ and waiter. It’s not their area of expertise, and it detracts from their primary function.
Now the development and management of wetlands can be left to experts, and developers can make a purchase from the “bank.” That is the part that environmentalists like — a more effective way of offsetting damage caused by development. (“In Our View: Win-Win Scenario,” The Columbian, March 29, 2010)
For another point of view, see my earlier post on the difficulties of restoring wetlands successfully.
For much, much more about wetlands, see Swamp School.