BANKING - INTRODUCTION
there are unavoidable circumstances in which there is an adverse
impact to a wetland, such as filling or draining in order to further
development. Due to the valuable functions of wetlands in sediment
and nutrient filtering, flood water storage, and habitat for endangered
and threatened species it is important to replace these wetlands
to ensure there is no loss of the benefits they provide. With passage
of the Interagency Wetlands Policy Act in 1989,
Illinois became only the second state in the nation to consider
the functions and values of wetlands to be important enough to adopt
a state goal of no net loss of wetlands or their functional values.
Federal Executive Order 11990 adopted this same standard as
a national goal.
banking is one tool that can be used to help reach the goal of no
net loss. Mitigation banks provide for the compensation of unavoidable
adverse wetland losses, by restoring chemical, physical, and biological
functions of wetlands and/or other aquatic resources prior to an adverse
impact. Wetland mitigation banks are typically large blocks of wetlands
whose values and functions are summed and assigned a value that is
translated into "credits". These credits are deposited, just as a
deposit is made into a regular checking account. As approved wetland
losses occur, these credits are withdrawn to compensate for the losses.
Mitigation banks can be developed by private individuals, public agencies,
or a combination of these entities and the credits sold in order to
compensate for adverse wetland impacts.
credits can be achieved through creation, restoration, enhancement,
or in some rare circumstances preservation of wetland areas of high
value. As with on-site mitigation, a bank site is to be managed and
preserved in perpetuity.