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Stipsonís Island Mitigation Bank

Cape May County, New Jersey

 

Evergreen Environmental, LLC, has initiated the development of the Stipsonís Island Mitigation Bank in Cape May County, New Jersey. Situated on 35-acres of agriculturally modified land, this parcel provides opportunities to restore tidal as well as freshwater wetland habitat. Development of the bank will entail the removal of perimeter berms so as to re-introduce tidal flow and the filling of drainage ditches to raise the seasonal water table. Tidal marsh habitat as well as coastal wetland forest habitat will be restored in a mosaic with interspersed upland habitats. The parcel is adjacent to restored habitats under state protection as well as conservation easements. The Stipsonís bank will serve to promote habitat connectivity with these habitats to form a contiguous expanse of un-fragmented wildlife preserve.

 

The bank will provide mitigation credits and advanced mitigation for permitted impacts within the region or service area. The bank will be approved by a Mitigation Bank Review Team (MBRT) composed of federal and state agencies. The Prospectus for the bank has been submitted to all MBRT agencies. The New Jersey Freshwater Wetlands Mitigation Council has granted the project conceptual approval. The Division of Fish & Wildlife has issued the project a Special Use permit to conduct technical studies on their lands and promote hydrologic connection to the adjacent Wildlife Management Area under their jurisdiction.

 

Technical studies to-date have included monitoring of the tidal and freshwater groundwater hydrology, vegetative inventory, soil samples, delineation of habitat types and detailed topographic mapping. Permit pre-application conferences have been held and permit applications are in preparation.

 

The restored wetland bank will be constructed and planted in 2007. Credits will be available for permitted applicants subject to mitigation requirements as part of federal and state permit processes. The bank will be protected in perpetuity under a conservation easement. Once the restored bank has met all performance criteria, the bank will be donated to a land trust as approved by the state and federal regulatory agencies.