Mitigation Banking

What is mitigation?

During the late ‘60s, the United States became more concerned with the health and sustainability of our environment and water quality, especially in the aftermath of the Cuyahoga River fire, which led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In 1972, the Clean Water Act was passed. It called for the protection of the nation’s wetlands.

The concept of mitigation banking was developed as one of the means of complying with this new federal regulation.

Simply put, mitigation banking is the restoration, creation, enhancement, or preservation of wetlands or streams that offsets expected adverse impacts to nearby wetlands or streams. Developers buy credits from USACE-permitted banks to fulfill requirements to offset impacts per the Clean Water Act to gain 404 permits and move forward with their projects.

What is a mitigation bank?

A mitigation bank is privately or publicly owned land managed for its natural resource values. In exchange for permanently protecting the land, the bank operator is allowed to sell credits to developers who need to satisfy legal requirements for compensating environmental impacts of development projects. A mitigation bank is a free-market enterprise that:

  • offers landowners economic incentives to protect natural resources;
  • saves developers time and money by providing them with the certainty of pre-approved compensation lands; and
  • provides for long-term protection and management of habitat.


More about Mitigation Banking in Alaska