- Wetland habitats are disappearing at an alarming rate and research is finding that establishment and creation of wetland habitat is generally unsuccessful. Typical mitigation strategies in the past have created multiple small isolated wetlands with little functioning habitat. Within Washington State, guidance and research recommends utilizing mitigation banks to compensate for potential wetland impacts and losses. The overall goal of wetland mitigation banks is to create, restore and enhance wetland habitat before potential wetland impacts occur, thereby trying to ensure that bank habitat areas are a success with no net loss of wetland area or functions.
Kitsap County is developing a master plan for the Schold Farm site with the intention of creating a credited wetland mitigation bank. The Project site includes approximately 105 acres of land in north central Kitsap County within Silverdale, Washington. The Schold Farm Mitigation Bank project is a multi-year and multi-phased project being proposed by Kitsap County. The project was first initiated in 2018 because conflicts between recreation, wetland habitat, trail safety and maintenance were observed within the Schold Farm area. Currently, three alternatives have been developed and are focusing on wetland creation and increasing hydrologic connectivity over the entire site. Kitsap County is currently working with regulatory agencies, the public and internal staff to further refine the proposed alternatives that will accomplish the goals of the project. The bank site is expected to be completed in the next 5 years, but schedule will depend on agency support, funding, comments and public opinions.
This paper will review published data on mitigation banking and wetland losses and analyze an existing site in Kitsap County, Washington where a mitigation bank is being developed.