Beaver Creek Hydrology > Our Services > Mitigation Banking

Mitigation Banking

A mitigation bank is a wetland and/or stream aquatic resource area that has been restored, established, enhanced, and/or preserved expressly for the purpose of providing compensatory mitigation under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1972.  

Restoration, establishment, and enhancement activities for streams and wetlands provide an uplift of ecosystem functions and services of the aquatic resource being improved within the mitigation bank.  Preservation of streams and wetlands protects the existing functions of aquatic resources being preserved.  Restoration, establishment, enhancement, and/or preservation within a mitigation bank are protected in perpetuity via legally required site protection and conservation.

Through these aquatic ecosystem uplift and preservation activities, the mitigation bank generates what law defines as “compensatory mitigation credits.” A mitigation bank’s permit requirements identify the specific ecological assessment techniques to assess the efficacy of the project to create and protect the designed level of desired ecosystem functions and services. Based on these assessment techniques, the mitigation banker can determine the number of credits that are available for sale from the mitigation bank to permittees seeking to obtain approval to discharge dredged or fill material for their project.  Permittees seeking project approval within the mitigation bank’s approved service area—defined as the geographic area in which a given mitigation bank can compensate for permitted impacts—can then purchase credits to replace the loss of wetland and aquatic resource functions in the area as required by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.


Compensatory mitigation is required under Section 404 to offset the unavoidable loss of aquatic resource function in a watershed due to authorized, permitted discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States. Activities in regulatory waters regulated under this program that require permits and may require compensatory mitigation can include fill for development, water resource projects (such as dams and levees), infrastructure development (such as highways and airports), mining projects, and many other activities involving dredge or fill in-stream and wetlands.

Necessary, permitted impacts to our nation’s waterways requiring compensatory mitigation have created a robust market for aquatic ecosystem restoration. Beaver Creek Hydrology’s staff are experts in navigating the complicated environmental permitting landscape of compensatory mitigation and can provide guidance and full permitting and design of these projects.

Who approves the permitted impacts and compensatory mitigation projects, including mitigation banks, required by the Clean Water Act?

In many geographic areas within the United States, the local US Army Corps of Engineers district office administers the 404 permit program, but certain states have assumed the administration of this federal regulatory requirement as a state-level permit program.  

Beaver Creek Hydrology has worked with various Corps districts across the US to build a wide-ranging portfolio of compensatory mitigation for streams and wetlands.  Our projects include headwater, steep, mountainous geomorphic systems (in the Rockies, Appalachians, and other mountain ranges); mid-watershed, low-gradient geomorphic systems (tens to thousands of square-mile drainage areas for riverine systems); and depositional, tidally influenced geomorphic systems (along the Pacific Coast, Atlantic Coast, and Gulf of Mexico).  Our unique expertise in hydrology, hydraulics, sediment transport, geomorphology, and ecosystem functions and services provide our team with a unique ability to consult on very complex compensatory mitigation projects across the US.

We can provide clients with solutions to find sites, develop demand analysis, permit, design, manage construction, and monitor Mitigation Banks and Permittee Responsible Mitigation (PRM) sites as well as sell credits and manage all aspects of a mitigation site. Our expertise in all of these areas will provide solid solutions to our client’s mitigation needs.

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