Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. constructed and monitored a 230-acre wetland bank in Prince William County, Virginia which was approved as successful by the USACE in 2005.
The first private wetlands mitigation bank in Virginia, the Julie J. Metz Wetlands Bank, was created in 1994 and comprises 230-acres. By the end of 1996, a total of 17 acres of wetlands had been constructed; the remaining 213 acres of the site consist of upland buffers and existing wetlands that will be preserved in perpetuity. Selected design features include a two-mile wood chip and boardwalk nature trail; forested wetlands with several sub-communities defined by elevation and species composition; and pockets of emergent marsh and shrub wetlands to maximize wildlife values. In September 1995, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) dedicated this project in honor of Julie J. Metz, a COE biologist who led the Inter-Agency Mitigation Bank Agreement Task Force, and who passed away from breast cancer at age 38. The project received the NAIOP Environmental Award in 1995.
Through monitoring, WSSI demonstrated that the created wetland had successfully met all monitoring criteria both in extreme drought and in extremely wet years. In February 2005, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the wetland bank as successful, and the land has since been donated to Prince William County.
WSSI’s restrictive covenant for Julie J. Metz Wetlands Bank included allowances for recreational trails, boardwalks, and observation structures. As the steward of this wetlands bank, Prince William County funded the design and construction (by others) of the 3,000-foot Neabsco Creek Boardwalk, part of the National Park Service’s Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.