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Wetland authorites, the Endangered Species Act and other authorities use three strategies for avoiding damage to Public Trust resources, in order of preference: 1) avoid, 2) minimize, 3) mitigate. The legally stated preference is to avoid injury, or if an action is necessary, to minimize that injury. Where there is adequate justification to cause damage, agencies may seek mitigation.

Mitigation is the replacement of damaged ecosystem services in one location, with replacement services in another location.

This page aims to frame the existing mitigation system and assemble a large number of the existing references.


  • "In place, in kind" is a phrase common in wetland regulation, which suggests that we should prefer to replace lost ecosystems services of a similar type and location as those lost.
  • In place--in kind, is the subject of a countervailing argument, that suggests that mitigation should be applied at the site and landscape position where the greatest ecosystem benefits can be achieved.
  • Mitigation often devolves into an economic analysis, where those required to mitigation attempt to obtain the most credit at the least cost, regardless of actual ecological outcome.

2008 Mitigation Guidance and Related Policy

The US Army Corps of Engineers is often at the center of wetland mitigation processes, and published a 2008 guidance document on mitigation mechanisms. Because wetland mitigation is the most developed mitigation system, the mechanisms.

  • The guidance defines the need and value of an Interagency Review Team (IRT).
  • The guidance allows the Seattle District to delegate work, but retains at USACE sole discretion.
  • File:NOAA 2022 mitigation policy.pdf defines NOAA's mitigation policy for its trust resources applying to ESA, EFH and NRDA authorities.

Types of Instruments: Banks, In Lieu Fee, Applicant Managed

There are essentially three different kinds of mitigation, defined by the relationship between the person destroying the resource, and the person restoring the resource, and when the "credit" is released compared to the time of damages.

  • Banking
  • In Lieu Fee
  • Applicant Managed

Exiting Currency Markets

Recurring issues and concepts in Mitigation

A range of common issues recur in any mitigation scenario, and form the foundation of a mitigation system.

  • Quantification of ecosystem services
  • Service over time
  • Compensation ratio
  • Service Area
  • Performance Assurance


The following useful questions could be used to expand this page, or create new pages:

  • What justifications allow for private actions to damage public trust resources and how does this vary among authorities.