History and Theory: The Origin and Evolution of Conservation Banking
Anyone familiar with conservation banking will tell you its roots are in wetland mitigation banking. Wetland mitigation banking is a regulated system that allows those impacting wetlands to fund the creation, restoration or enhancement of wetland habitat at one location, a mitigation bank, as a means of offsetting the loss of the same type of wetland at multiple other locations (i.e. the impact sites). The offset habitat at the wetland mitigation bank is represented by wetland credits, which are purchased by developers or others to compensate for their projects’ impacts to this same type of wetland habitat elsewhere. Conservation banking is a similar concept where adverse impacts to endangered, threatened or other protected species are offset at a conservation bank where the credits represent individuals or habitat.