The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released on 28 March a draft of a new rule to guide compensatory mitigation for when wetlands are unavoidably lost due to development. However, whether the rule is successful in preventing a net loss in wetlands will depend largely on its implementation, according to two wetlands scientists who evaluated the issue for the U.S. National Research Council (NRC) in 2001.
Under the federal Clean Water Act, developers who seek to build on wetlands must compensate for any wetlands loss if they are unable to avoid or minimize the loss. Such compensation is covered under the newly proposed compensatory mitigation rule. Benjamin Grumbles, EPA assistant administrator for water, called the rule an “innovative new standard that will accelerate the pace of wetlands conservation and restoration.”