Ecosystem Investment Partners received word today that the Mitigation Banking Instrument for its Old Florida Mitigation Bank has been approved the U.S. Army Corps and the other federal and state members of the Interagency Review Team (IRT). According to EIP Director of Operations Dave Urban, “This approval was completed in a very professional and timely manner by the staff of the Jacksonville District and the IRT, and will allow us to move to the next stage of activity in the permanent protection and restoration of an important wet pine savannah, marsh and prairie ecosystem in the watershed to the north of Tampa and St. Petersburg.” EIP acquired the 1,095 acre parcel in order to establish the Old Florida Mitigation Bank (OFMB) in May of 2013, and the bank had previously been permitted under a separate state regulatory program by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. (SWFWMA)
The OFMB is located in an area designated at ‘Priority 1’ in the State of Florida’s Critical Land and Waters Identification Project, indicating the significance of EIP’s protection and restoration actions towards accomplishing regional watershed management planning objectives. The bank is also adjacent to an existing large-scale protection and restoration project known as the SWFWMA Conner Preserve, and will expand a regionally significant network of wildlife corridors as well as habitat for the federally endangered wood stork (Mycteria americana).
During the 1940’s ditches were dug through the entire site to enable cattle ranching and timber harvesting, draining wetlands and affecting water quality through tributaries that connect through the Cotee River to the Gulf of Mexico. A wide variety of restoration techniques will be used on the site, including removing roads and backfilling ditches, revegetation of native plants and control of nuisance and exotic species, and reintroduction of prescribed fire treatments. The Mitigation Bank Instrument details rigorous standards for ecological restoration, along with a credit release schedule that reflects target success criteria. The bank Instrument is publically available on the Regional In-Lieu Fee and Bank Information Tracking System (known as ‘RIBITS’).
EIP is pleased to be in business in the Tampa and St. Petersburg area, serving this growing metropolitan area of approximately 2.9 million people – the fourth largest in the Southeastern United States behind Miami, Washington D.C. and Atlanta. EIP’s newest approved bank will serve to provide high quality compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources as the region’s economy continues its strong recovery.
For information on availability of mitigation credits from the Old Florida Mitigation Bank, please contact EIP Director of Markets Katherine Birnie at firstname.lastname@example.org