Tag Archives: wetland mitigation

September Message from the Board

Dear Wetland Supporters,

In July, the National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference was held in Raleigh, NC.  This conference brings together numerous companies and individuals interested in ecosystem services and allows a platform to share ideas and explore opportunities.  The various attendees ranged from Departments of Transportation, federal and state regulatory and resource agencies, attorneys, contractors, consultants, practitioners, and capital providers. 

A lot of interest has been generated in the last few years with ongoing concerns around climate change, nature-based solutions, and resiliency.  A lot of money is being spent to pursue larger and more complex projects as carbon sequestration needs and water quality/quantity issues continue to rise.  We only need to look at the recent algal blooms on the Chowan and Pamlico River (NC), flooding and water quality issues in northern Pitt County (NC) and flooding issues in Bucksport area of Horry County (SC) as examples of the issues communities across the Carolinas are battling. 

Most of these issues developed over time as we continue to increase the amount of impervious surface, clear and drained wetlands, and build in floodplains. Solutions will require a holistic and multiple project approach that will take time and money to plan and implement.  Restored and natural wetlands are a vital part of holistic, watershed-based solutions by helping to improve water quality and attenuate flood waters. 

As demonstrated at the national mitigation conference, the science of wetlands continues to evolve.  We are continually improving how wetland restoration projects are implemented to ensure the development of functioning ecosystems and to better track the restoration progress. 

In the last thirty years of driving toward the Carolina coast, I have witnessed shifts in wetland systems due to beaver activity and saltwater intrusion.  These changes to wetland hydrology whether water quantity or water chemistry have changed these ecosystems.  Learning to implement holistic projects will help enhance the environment and protect communities with nature-based solutions.  As this evolution happens, a whole industry continues to grow around mitigation and ecosystem services and the push for alternative ways to lessen the impact of climate change and build resilient system to withstand the future.

Go explore a wetland!

Norton Webster, Treasurer

Carolina Wetlands Association

August Message from the Board

Greetings Wetland Supporters:

Summer is well upon us and so is work dealing with wetlands.  One such event was the National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference that was held in Raleigh, NC in July.  Mitigation and ecosystem banking is very important to maintain and increase the quality and quantity of wetlands across the United States.

First, impacts to wetlands due to development must be permitted by the state and federal regulatory agencies with the goal to avoid and minimize wetland impacts. When impacts can’t be avoided, the impacted wetland areas must be replaced or mitigated in size and function preferably in the same watershed.  Mitigation normally takes the form of restoration or creation. 

  • Creating a wetland means putting a wetland where one had not previously existed, and this is the most complex way to mitigate wetland impact.
  • Restoration means taking a damaged or degraded wetland and turning it back to a high functioning, high quality. Restoration can take on many forms such as improving or restoring hydrology (such as plugging ditches on the coast), planting native wetland vegetation, and connecting wetlands to other wetlands such as a salt marsh to the ocean.

So, what is ecosystem banking?  First ecosystems are more than wetlands and streams so what else may be mitigated?  There are some localities in the US where there are local ordinances that require impacts to entire ecosystems must also be mitigated.  There is such an ordinance in Hilton Head Island, SC. 

Banking refers to the process where wetlands, streams and other ecosystems are restored, and a bank of mitigation credit are established.   Restoration companies then these sell mitigation credits to the developer who want to impact a wetland, stream or other ecosystem.  This process of generating credits before the impact occur is an efficient way to mitigate impacts.

You will be hearing more about wetland restoration in the future due to some of the projects we are seeking funding and, we have recently formed a partnership with the SC Mitigation Association.  We will be exploring ways where we can benefit each other. 

Most of the sponsor of the Carolina Wetland Association are in the business of wetland mitigation; including our newest sponsor – the South Carolina Mitigation Association.  We look forward to working together on wetland education, outreach, and development opportunities.

Finally, while not mitigation-related, but our Volunteer Wetlands Monitoring Project has partnered with Wildnote to use their mobile data application to collect field data.  We will be testing to the best methods for citizen scientists to perform wetland monitoring.  We are both very excited to see how this works out.

So, go beat the heat and explore a cool shaded wetland.

Rick