The Future of Wetland Mitigation Banks in Florida
As a leader in wetland mitigation credit services in Florida, the Mitigation Banking Group, Inc (MBG) sees a promising future in the expansion of wetland mitigation banks and credits. The state currently boasts 131 wetlands mitigation banks covering nearly 227,500 acres of land with plans in motion to open an additional 30 sites.
Why Mitigation Banks Are Necessary
Florida’s unique ecosystem offers both unparalleled biodiversity and abundant development opportunities. The aim of mitigation banks is to strike a careful balance between these competing interests. When developers undertake projects that impact wetlands, they can offset these impacts by purchasing mitigation credits from banks like ours, where lands have been restored to serve the same ecological functions.
State and Federal Cooperation
It’s an interesting time for the environmental community as state and federal officials navigate a changing legal environment. The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a ruling outlining which waters fall under federal jurisdiction. The development has necessitated new guidelines from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Still, Florida law, in many instances, offers even greater protection to our submerged lands and wetlands, reaffirming the state’s commitment to preserving and restoring natural habitats.
The Value of Mitigation
There are skeptics who question whether mitigation truly compensates for the impact on wetlands. At the Mitigation Banking Group, we stand with experts like Christine Wentzel of the St. Johns River Water Management District in believing that mitigation banks can produce a net positive impact on the environment. Our efforts often transform pine uplands back into integral parts of wetland systems, fully restoring waterways and natural habitats.
Shortage of Credits
Despite the high demand for mitigation credits, Florida currently faces a shortage, affecting regions from Pensacola to Miami. Addressing this will require expedited procedures without compromising the quality and integrity of the projects. The federal government often takes as long as five years to issue environmental permits, compared to the state’s 18-month timeframe.
Mitigation is not just about offsetting ecological losses; it’s about reviving and preserving the rich tapestry of Florida’s wetlands. As we expand our efforts and contribute to new mitigation banks, we keep in mind the broader goal of ecological preservation. We consider not just the immediate benefits of our work but the long-term positive impacts that make Florida’s wetlands sustainable for future generations.
For an in-depth look at Florida’s wetland mitigation plans, watch the recent House Water Quality, Supply & Treatment Subcommittee video.
For over 20 years, Victoria has been committed to partnering with mitigation bankers, environmental consultants, and developers to achieve their highest goals. As we look to the future, we are excited to continue contributing to the well-being of Florida’s unique ecosystem while offering investment opportunities in the wetland mitigation credit market.
For more information on how to get involved in the crucial work of wetland mitigation, feel free to contact us.