The National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference (NMEBC) took place May 6-10 in Minneapolis, MN. The national annual meeting invites people involved in mitigation banking, such as consultants, developers, and federal and state agencies, to learn the latest in industry trends, regulatory requirements, new scientific developments, and the overall environmental restoration market.
NMEBC is an opportunity for public and private sector attendees to collaborate and talk about mitigation trends. Davey Resource Group (DRG) representatives attended the conference.
Here is what they learned:
- Waters of the United States (WOTUS): The new WOTUS rule is proceeding through the promulgation process following the close of the public comment period in April. Industry experts anticipate that numerous legal challenges will occur on procedural or statutory grounds should the rule be adopted.
- Push for Quantitative Functional AssessmentsThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has reiterated its desire to introduce state or regional quantitative functional assessments for evaluating aquatic resources proposed for impact or mitigation. These new assessments would replace existing rapid qualitative assessments or length/area-based mitigation ratios.
- State of Mitigation Markets: mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs continue to be established across the United States, resulting in an increase in the number of watersheds covered by these agency-preferred third-party compensatory mitigation options. However, adoption of the new WOTUS rule could severely hamstring continued investment in the industry and limit future mitigation options for permittees.