Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New County Bank will Exchange Environmental Mitigation Credit

When construction projects encroach on protected waterways or wetlands, federal laws require mitigation by either making environmental improvements nearby or buying credits from other projects that have already done so. Gwinnett County will soon be exchanging those credits through its own mitigation bank, recently approved by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

The County’s stormwater management division routinely restores eroded streambanks to protect water quality as required by state regulations. Now Gwinnett County will be able to use its own credits from those projects to offset the environmental damage of new road building or other construction projects. “Instead of buying these credits on the commercial market as we’ve had to do in the past, we will now be able to buy them from ourselves, keep the money in Gwinnett and use it for more stormwater projects,” explained Board of Commissioners Chairman Charles Bannister.

The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday adopted a formal policy for mitigation bank operations and delegated its management to County Administrator Jock Connell. Excess credits can also be sold to developers and others for non-County projects at the prevailing commercial rate.
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