A mitigation bank is an ecologically significant but degraded wetland, stream or habitat area that EIP restores to a healthy, functioning ecosystem. In return, EIP’s restoration work is certified by regulatory agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency and Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as state agencies. These regulators issue and certify credits to EIP, which are then “banked” and purchased by project developers.
Project developers seeking to offset (i.e., mitigate for) permitted, unavoidable impacts to wetlands, streams and habitat areas can use EIP’s mitigation credits to permanently satisfy mitigation compliance under a variety of regulations including Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Sections 7 and 10 of the Endangered Species Act, and state guidelines. These regulations offer permittees three ways to meet permit mitigation requirements, which the federal 2008 Mitigation Rule ranks as follows according to agency preference:
• Outsourcing mitigation to a third party by purchasing mitigation bank credits
• Payment into a public in lieu fee program
• Do-it-yourself permittee-responsible mitigation
Mitigation bank credits are not only preferred by agencies, but offer project developers a host of other benefits.