Recognizing the importance of wetland protection, the Bush administration in 1988 endorsed the goal of “no net loss” of wetlands. Specifically, it directed that filling of wetlands should be avoided, and minimized when it cannot be avoided. When filling is permitted, compensatory mitigation must be undertaken; that is, wetlands must be restored, created, enhanced, and, in exceptional cases, preserved, to replace the permitted loss of wetland area and function, such as water quality improvement within the watershed.
After more than a dozen years, the national commitment to “no net loss” of wetlands has been evaluated. This new book explores the adequacy of science and technology for replacing wetland function and the effectiveness of the federal program of compensatory mitigation in accomplishing the nation’s goal of clean water. It examines the regulatory framework for permitting wetland filling and requiring mitigation, compares the mitigation institutions that are in use, and addresses the problems that agencies face in ensuring sustainability of mitigated wetlands over the long term.
Gleaning lessons from the mixed results of mitigation efforts to date, the book offers 10 practical guidelines for establishing and monitoring mitigated wetlands. It also recommends that federal, state, and local agencies undertake specific institutional reforms. This book will be important to anyone seeking a comprehensive understanding of the “no net loss” issue: policy makers, regulators, environmental scientists, educators, and wetland advocates.
National Research Council. 2001. Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the Clean Water Act. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10134.
|2 Outcomes of Wetland Restoration and Creation
|3 Watershed Setting
|4 Wetland Permitting: History and Overview
|5 Compensatory Mitigation Mechanisms Under Section 404
|6 Mitigation Compliance
|7 Technical Approaches Toward Achieving No Net Loss
|8 Institutional Reforms for Enhancing Compensatory Mitigation
|Appendix A Survey of Studies: Comparison of Mitigation and Natural Wetlands
|Appendix B Case Studies
|Appendix C Analyses of Soil, Plant, and Animal Communities for Mitigation Sites Compared with Reference Sites
|Appendix D California Department of Fish and Game, South Coast Region; Guidelines for Wetland Mitigation
|Appendix E Examples of Performance Standards for Wetland Creation and Restoration in Section 404 Permits and an Approach to Developing Performance Standards
|Appendix F Memorandum for Commanders, Major Subordinate Commands, and District Commands, April 8, 1999
|Appendix G Army Corps of Engineers Standard Operating Procedures for the Regulatory Program
|Appendix H Selected Attributes of 40 Common Wetland Functional Assessment Procedures
|Appendix I Functions, Factors, and Values Considered in Section 404 Permit Reviews
|Appendix J Biographical Sketches of Committee Members
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