Niswander Environmental established and owns a private wetland mitigation bank that services the Paw Paw Watershed and Battle Creek Outwash Plain Ecoregion. Twenty-seven acres of historical wetland was restored on a 40-acre agricultural property in Decatur Township, Van Buren County, Michigan. As one of only seven such approved mitigation banks in the state, Niswander Environmental received MDEQ and EPA clearance by designing an innovative, high-quality mitigation area.
Niswander Environmental obtained the mitigation banking agreement through close coordination with MDEQ. MDEQ staff applauded our product as complete and accurate. This legal document is complex and requires a detailed understanding of wetland laws and science. In addition, to ensure a profitable project, mitigation banking requires knowledge of the economic and social factors that drive mitigation need. As part of this project, Niswander Environmental researched potential mitigation requirements within the watershed to determine future need.
Niswander Environmental designed the site to restore historic wetland conditions with little disturbance to the native soil. Through elimination of drainage features to restore hydrology, a diverse seed bank that had been dormant for decades was allowed to reestablish. A water control structure was installed to ensure proper hydrology. Over 9,000 native wetland trees and shrubs were planted by Niswander Environmental to aid in establishment of desired wetland types that mimics the adjacent wetlands. Approximately 13 acres of emergent, 10 acres of forested, and 4 acres of scrub-shrub wetland has been established as part of this mitigation bank.
This project included a mitigation land search, mitigation design, hydrologic assessment, specifications, a design justification report, permitting, easement coordination, MDEQ mitigation banking agreement approval, and engineering cost estimates. Construction was completed in 2007, and Niswander Environmental monitors the development of the site throughout each year, and has been managing non-native species through biological and chemical means. Credits for this mitigation bank are currently available.