You’re in charge of a construction project or an industrial property that currently has a wetland on the site. What does that mean for you, and how can you ensure your work is compliant with federal regulations?
Those are some important questions if you want to avoid fines and other issues — and ones you need to get answers to.
What Is Wetland Mitigation?
If your construction work is going to destroy or negatively impact existing wetlands, you may need wetlands mitigation.
According to the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ regulations, here’s the definition of this environmental service:
Compensatory wetland mitigation is the restoration, establishment, enhancement and/or, in certain circumstances, preservation of wetlands, streams and other aquatic resources for the purposes of offsetting unavoidable adverse impacts that remain after all appropriate and practicable avoidance and minimization has been achieved.
That’s a bit wordy, so in simpler terms, if your work is going to impact existing wetlands, you’ll need to take action to compensate for that and preserve the natural elements.
Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t forget wetland mitigation on your construction site.
Keeps You From Getting Fined
Here are some of the guidelines from the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about wetland mitigation to stay in compliance:
- Avoid over-engineered structures in the wetland’s design.
- Restore or develop naturally variable hydrological conditions.
- Conduct early monitoring as part of adaptive management.
- Provide appropriately heterogeneous topography.
Working with a landscape contractor who knows all of the ins and outs of these regulations is a must to avoid costly fines.
Protects Wildlife And Environment
Even if you aren’t personally concerned about the effects your worksite is having on the environment (although I find that unlikely), you are responsible for your impact. Your site can affect everything from wildlife to drinking water, so make sure you take action to preserve those things with appropriate wetland mitigation techniques.
Mitigation can also provide better alternate methods for stormwater runoff, instead of having it leave the site and possibly contaminate another area.
Gives Your Company Good Press
A little-known benefit of wetland mitigation is the reputation it will give your company in the community. You’ll be able to show how you took measures to rebuild and preserve natural habitats — plus, you just did the “right thing.”
Any time you’re able to show you’re running a sustainable, environmentally friendly business is good for your brand and might even land you future work. Showcase your wetland mitigation work on your website and in materials you give to potential clients. It might just be the thing that pushes you ahead of the rest the next time you bid on work.
Hire A Wetland Mitigation Professional
The only way to guarantee all of those benefits (and no fines) is to hire a professional who has experience with this service.
You’ll need a landscape contractor who can identify if your site requires wetland mitigation work, and if so, handle the design, construction and plant installation. In Georgia, the average cost-per-acre of wetland mitigation is $23,200 (not divided by total acreage).
Don’t forget: Wetland mitigation isn’t a one-and-done type of project. You can’t just stick plants in and walk away from it. The site needs maintenance after installation, or it won’t work.
Your landscape contractor needs to bring the water levels up in a controlled fashion after the plants are installed so they don’t drown or float away. You can’t bring the water levels up to normal overnight.
That’s why our team at T. Lake Environmental Design not only designs and installs wetland mitigation projects, but we also come back to maintain the project.
We also offer environmental services like dust mitigation, erosion control, wildlife control, waste water pond maintenance and vegetation management — in addition to our landscape design, construction and maintenance services.
Located in Central Georgia, our service area includes cities like Dublin, Macon, Warner Robins and Hawkinsville.
Need help with a wetland mitigation project? Contact us to schedule a free consultation.