Wetland Mitigation Farm

The National Wetlands Mitigation Action Plan was enacted by the federal government in 2002.  Its goal is to maintain no net loss of U.S. wetlands.  This means using a credit system to ensure that any wetland loss is offset by the planting of new wetland species elsewhere.  This credit system works by allowing businesses or individual land owners to demolish a certain acreage of wetlands on their property if they pay a designated landowner to plant the same amount of acreage on his property.  The system is not likely the best method to ensure zero net wetland loss- as a newly planted site cannot ecologically function as an established wetland.  However, upon visitation of a 700 acre mitigation property in Houma, Louisiana,  the transformation of this parcel of land, from an agrarian field to a newly planted forest (that is neither highly mowed or managed- excepting the removal of invasives), is amazing.  The amount of wildlife in this 2-3 year old planted site was astounding.  It was inspiring to see land reverting back to its natural state (or as natural as the current state of bionomics allows).  However the destruction of an established, working wetland should never be condoned; even if it is “replaced”.

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