TO THE PROJECT OWNER/DEVELOPER
- Reduces regulatory review and processing time. The mitigation section of the permit application can simply state the applicant's intent to purchase credits from the Mitigation Bank. This translates into time saved in mitigation plan development, time saved in regulatory review of the mitigation proposal, and time saved in negotiating final details associated with a mitigation plan.
- Eliminates need to dedicate or acquire land and water for mitigation purposes. Use of on-site land or acquisition of off-site properties can be a costly and/or undesirable proposition. Securing and guaranteeing sufficient water resources to support the wetland in perpetuity is often challenging. Encumbrance of the property in perpetuity for mitigation purposes is no longer an issue to contend with.
- Eliminates subcontracted design, construction, monitoring, and maintenance. Implementing a successful mitigation project "in-house" requires the use of technical and experienced professionals. Design of the mitigation plan is typically contracted through experienced wetlands biologists, engineers, and/or landscape
architects. Construction implementation will often involve a separate contractor specialized in environmental reclamation work. Follow-up monitoring and maintenance, usually required by the permit for a three to five year duration, will again involve the original designer. The several years of carrying costs, time, financial uncertainty, and headache associated with management and coordination of these contractors can be eliminated entirely by using the Bank.
Cost-effective. Considering all the costs associated with mitigation (including land, water, design, permitting review, construction, monitoring, maintenance, and warranty), purchasing credits from the Bank is most often the cost-effective alternative. No hidden costs or contractor "change orders". Use of the Bank provides a fixed, known cost that can be used to develop an accurate assessment of a project's bottom line.
- Completely eliminates risk and liability. What happens if your "in-house" mitigation attempts fail? If pursued by the regulatory agencies, you may be forced to remediate at whatever cost and/or pay a fine. If you purchase credits from the Bank, the entire responsibility and liability associated with mitigation performance is shifted to and accepted by the Bank.
TO THE ENVIRONMENT
- Large Complex of Aquatic Ecosystems. The Garcon Peninsula Mitigation Bank is large in size and incorporates a diversity of wetland types, it is in a ecologically important area situated near and cleansing water that is deposited into Blackwater Bay. This complex of ecosystems provide greater function and ecological value as compared with small, isolated and fragmented mitigation sites scattered throughout the watershed.
- Helps approach the national policy goal of no-net-loss of wetlands. Studies conducted on the topic of wetland mitigation efforts have concluded that, nationwide, more than 50% of all wetland mitigation projects fail for a variety of reasons. The Garcon Peninsula Mitigation Bank nearly guarantees the likelihood of mitigation success since credits are not awarded until success in creating wetland function is achieved.
- Mitigation Occurs in Advance of Impacts. Traditional non-Mitigation Bank mitigation is most often implemented months to years
after the original wetlands have been filled, this creates a "functional lag-time" in which the environment realizes a net loss of wetland function in the interim. The Garcon Peninsula Mitigation Bank is creating large complexes of wetlands in advance of credits being issued against losses, thereby overcoming the temporal lag-time effect and in effect creating a net-gain of wetlands for a period of time.
TO THE REGULATORS
- Consolidation of Resources. With the purview of the Section 404 & F.S. Chapter 373 regulatory programs expanding, and development pressures increasing, the regulatory and
resource agencies have experienced greater demand for their already limited time and human resources. By consolidating numerous mitigation commitments at one bank, the demand for individual mitigation plan review,
implementation, verification, and follow-up compliance checks is greatly diminished. The regulators time is freed up to locate ecological violations and verification of in-house mitigation plans.