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What are mitigation bank credits/debits?

Credits and debits essentially represent units of trade. Credits represent increased habitat value as a result of habitat improvements on a mitigation banking site. Debits represent the decreased habitat value on a project site because of the habitat improvements.

What are wetlands?

Wetlands are low-lying areas where water covers the soil or is present at or near the surface a good portion of the year, which determines the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities living there.

What is a mitigation area?

A mitigation area is any area, right-of-way, or piece of property on site or offsite within which habitat improvements occur as part of a mitigation commitment. The offsite mitigation area must include locations where the habitat improvements occur and adjacent native habitat areas.

What is habitat creation?

Habitat creation is the establishment of a wetland ecosystem on an ecosystem previously considered non-wetland with little or no existing habitat value.

What is Habitat Suitability Index?

Habitat Suitability Index is a unit less number, ranging from 0 to 1 that represents the utility of a specific area of the habitat in relation to its ability to support and evaluation species. 1 indicates optimal habitat. 0 indicates the area is unusable by the evaluation species.

What is habitat unit?

Habitat value is derived in the evaluation procedures by multiplying the quality of the habitat, Habitat Suitability Index (HSI), by the size of the habitat for which the HSI was calculated. (HU = HSI x size of habitat).

What is habitat value?

The habitat value of a site is determined by summing the functional capacity values, Habitat Suitability Index, for each habitat type and multiplying the sum by the area of the entire site. The result is the site’s potential to successfully support selected animal and/or plant evaluation species.

What is habitat value assessment?

Each habitat has a unique habitat assessment value derived from individual habitat variables and the Habitat Suitability Index for each variable. This value is an important baseline measure for future comparisons of habitat scores for the same site.

What is in-kind and out-of-kind mitigation?

In-kind mitigation provides the same or similar physical and functional values as the disturbed area. Out-of-kind mitigation provides substitute or different physical and biological values to the disturbed area.

What is mitigation banking?

Mitigation banking entails habitat improvement actions – such as restoration, creation, enhancement, or preservation – taken by a mitigation bank operator to compensate for unavoidable losses before the impacts occur. A mitigation credit/debit system is created so developers can purchase credits in lieu of compensatory mitigation, allowing for compensatory actions for multiple projects to be coordinated.

What is the Clean Water Act?

The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. The act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. “Clean Water Act” became the Act’s common name with amendments in 1977.

Under the CWA, the EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry. Water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters have also been set.

The CWA made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained. EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls discharges. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit. Industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.

Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency

What is wetland enhancement?

Wetland enhancement is the improvement of an existing, degraded habitat to increase one or more of its current functions through substantial alterations to the soils, vegetation, and/or hydrology for specific species or purposes.

What is wetland restoration (individual site)?

Wetland restoration are actions taken to reestablish an ecosystem’s structure and functionality by creating habitat value at past-practice waste sites or human-impacted sites (e.g. industrial area, road) in hopes of restoring it to its original, healthy, self-sustaining state.

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