How to Improve the Success of Your Wetlands Mitigation Site

Written by Hugh Mortensen, PWS

Over the years of doing mitigation monitoring, we have found adding spring maintenance inspections to a monitoring program greatly improves the success of mitigation sites. 

A maintenance inspection can help avoid accidentally girdling new trees.

A maintenance inspection can help avoid accidentally girdling new trees.

What do you get out of a maintenance inspection?

Maintenance inspections are an economical way to ensure sites are entering each growing season in a condition that will allow them to succeed.  An inspection typically involves one person briefly visiting a site and developing a “punch list” of maintenance needs.  This list is formatted to be straightforward and easy to understand for maintenance crews in the field. 

An alternative is to have the maintenance supervisor meet with one of our ecologists in the field to explain verbally what is needed.  Either way, the goal is to communicate the most efficient solution to maintenance challenges so the site can meet standards and be signed off by regulatory agencies.

Why does the spring maintenance inspection work?

Success means economy.  Mitigation sites that don’t meet standards incur expensive repairs that are usually not covered in the original project budget.  Frequently on private projects, the repairs exceed the cost of the bonds and sites are simply abandoned for economic reasons. 

Beyond direct economic advantages, sites that do meet expectations have the distinct advantage of continued goodwill with regulatory agencies.  For most of our clients, permits are not a one-time event; they continue to need local, state and federal permits as a regular part of their business.  Therefore, maintaining positive relationships with agencies has the benefit of ensuring future permits are not overly scrutinized, delayed or denied outright.