Cane Bayou Mitigation Bank will Save Money and Preserve over 1,000 Acres of Land
Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today, the opening of the Cane Bayou Mitigation Bank, and conservation project; the first of its kind in St. Tammany Parish. A culmination of over five years of work has resulted in roughly 1,200 acres of tree-populated land which will be preserved, and a portion utilized, for wetlands mitigation by St. Tammany Parish Government. Wetlands mitigation credits, required by federal law when natural resources are disrupted through developmental impacts, were previously purchased from out-of-state companies at a much higher cost. St. Tammany Parish Government will fund the bank out of capital project funds in the amount of $6,000 per credit, as opposed to market value which can range up $22,000 per credit.
“This 1200-acre Mitigation Bank is a re-investment in St. Tammany, through responsible preservation and growth that takes into consideration both the viability of a location for development, but mitigates the environmental impact through planned, dedicated environmental equity, and guaranteed preservation,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “The Cane Bayou Mitigation Bank will give us another tool to save taxpayers money, because we will not have to rely on out-of-state banks to purchase credits, and it will help us to maintain our commitment to preserving what is one of our greatest assets — our pristine natural resources.”
According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the objective of a mitigation bank is, “… to provide for the replacement of the chemical, physical and biological functions of wetlands and other aquatic resources which are lost as a result of authorized impacts.” Land is purchased and then donated to the place impacted for preservation, in perpetuity. This mitigated land cannot, by law, be developed.
St. Tammany Parish has purchased, and placed in conservation, 1169.2 acres of land. The project will consist of two phases involving wetlands restoration. The first phase of the Mitigation Bank (section 1 on map) will provide approximately 395 acres of mitigation credits. The second phase (section 2) will provide nearly 300 acres of mitigation credits. The bank will be established through the restoration, creation, and/or enhancement of these wetlands.
Wetland Mitigation banking
Wetland mitigation banking is the restoration, creation or enhancement of wetlands for the purpose of compensating for unavoidable impacts to wetlands at another location. Wetland mitigation banking is commonly used to compensate for wetland impacts from development, but it also used for impacts from agriculture.
How Mitigation Banking Works
Producers can buy credits from wetlands mitigation banks to compensate for the impact of lost wetlands. Wetland mitigation banks are established through the restoration, creation or enhancement of wetlands. When a mitigation bank is established, the landowner retains ownership and use of the property, while a conservation easement protects the wetlands from degrading activities. The size and scope of the wetland restoration, creation or enhancement activities determine the quantity of credits available for sale. The price of credits is negotiated between the buyer and seller.