The City of Charlotte's Stream and Wetland Mitigation Bank provides Charlotte with a source of funding for improving streams and wetlands, and ensures that some federally required mitigation projects are constructed within Mecklenburg County instead of hundreds of miles away.
Between 2001 and 2016, approximately 14 miles of streams were improved and
18 acres of wetlands were either improved or preserved through the Mitigation Bank.
Municipal projects, such as new roads, schools and water lines, are necessary for a growing community. Occasionally, these projects must impact streams and wetlands. Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires streams and wetlands impacted by construction to be compensated with the restoration, enhancement, and/or preservation of streams and wetlands in a different location; often at a higher ratio. This is called stream and wetland "mitigation" and must be implemented within the same regulatory watershed where impacts occurred. Unfortunately, regulatory watersheds are very large so mitigation can occur hundreds of miles away from its impact.
In 2004, the City of Charlotte established North Carolina's first municipally-owned Stream and Wetland Mitigation Bank where "mitigation credits" are generated when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services restores, enhances or preserves streams or wetlands in Mecklenburg County. These credits can be bought by City or County agencies to offset impacts caused by their construction projects. Once credits are bought, the Mitigation Bank can then fund more local stream and wetland projects.
The Bank benefits local watersheds by ensuring that stream and wetland impacts from City and County infrastructure projects are mitigated within Mecklenburg County, not hundreds of miles away.
An example of a successful Mitigation Bank project implemented by the City is the Edwards Branch Watershed Improvement Project. This project was completed in four phases from 2001 until 2015 and included approximately 7,000 linear feet of stream restoration, 4,400 linear feet of stream preservation, and a little over one acre of wetland preservation. The project also constructed wetlands, a wet pond, a dry detention basin, storm water swales, and buffer enhancements. See Stream & Wetland Restoration Projects for more information.
Another example of a Mitigation Bank project that will break ground in the fall of 2016 is the Reedy Creek Restoration Project. This project will include approximately 25,480 linear feet of stream restoration and enhancement, 14,700 linear feet of stream protection, and 4.17 acres of wetland enhancement and protection.
For information about how staff selects projects for the Mitigation Bank, which watersheds have mitigation credits available, and the process for requesting credits, see Stream and Wetland Mitigation Bank Project Selection and Credits.
For information about federal regulations that require mitigation of impacts to streams from construction projects, see Section 401 & 404 of the Clean Water Act .
Stream and Wetland Bank Questions?
City of Charlotte Watershed Restoration and 404 Permitting Supervisor
Mecklenburg County Project Manager