Wetland and Stream Mitigation Bank Design, Construction, and Monitoring
The client sought to convert a 900-acre ecologically-degraded cattle ranch to native prairie with thousands of feet of restored stream, riparian buffers, and emergent wetlands. The client’s goal was to obtain approval for restoration of the property in order to sell stream and wetland mitigation credits. To accomplish this, the client required a team that had expert regulatory, design, and communication skills necessary to provide the technical design approach and coordinate with the multiple agencies involved in approving the project.
GES was engaged to create a wetland and stream mitigation bank, including stream and wetland restoration designs, and development of the mitigation banking instrument (MBI). The MBI is a legal document that details the ownership and use of the property, and the responsibilities of the project owner. The MBI includes an executed conservation easement, financial assurances, performance standards, a mitigation plan, and other disclosures. After project milestones are met, such as completion of construction or achievement of performance standards, the client receives a release of stream or wetland credits, which may be sold to individuals to offset impacts to similar waters of the US.
GES developed the MBI by conducting a “waters of the US” delineation and a conditional assessment of aquatic resources; creating a site-specific stream and wetland design with construction plans; and meeting other requirements of the project. GES provided limited construction oversight, and continues to work with the client, maintenance personnel, and regulatory agencies to ensure that credit releases are approved and occur on schedule.
GES’ assistance in completing the MBI and coordinating with multiple regulatory agencies enabled the client to successfully gain approval for the project. The project is in its third year and is on track to achieve restoration goals and full credit releases within the decade. The client is currently receiving payments for the credits generated from the project’s restored waters of the US. GES is continuing to provide expertise in ecological and restoration strategies to achieve full restoration success, while also achieving cost savings associated with project management.