Wetland mitigation is required by the Clean Water Act and is directed by the No Net Loss statute. Wetland mitigation compensates for any wetland loss by either restoring or creating new wetlands at least equivalent to the lost area on the disturbed site. The goal is to maintain the same level of ecosystem services and public health benefits provided by the wetlands on-site. Mitigation decisions are made on a site-by-site basis and developed through careful assessment of specific site conditions, limitations, and opportunity for successful mitigation.
It is preferred that wetland restoration of disturbed areas occurs before creation of new wetlands due to the ecological and economic benefits of restoring pre-existing wetlands. When mitigating, it is essential that native vegetation is used to restore the site.
Native Vegetation for Restoration
The use of native vegetation for wetland mitigation is essential to restore to the type of wetlands that previously existed prior to disturbance. Because of the interconnected relationship between vegetation type and wetland function, wetlands will provide the greatest services when comprised of native vegetation. If non-native grasses and reeds are used to seed the restoration site, these grasses may unintentionally overwhelm the wetland site and spread to adjacent areas.