Title: Compensatory mitigation and the possibility of restoring natural wetlands

Authors: Gordon Steinhoff

Addresses: Utah State University, USA

Abstract: In this paper I address this fundamental problem: is it possible to restore a natural wetland? I will argue that the answer is no. Wetland ||restoration|| is not restoration in the strict sense. It is actually the creation of a new ecosystem of a distinct kind. I will argue that compensatory mitigation under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act involves replacing natural wetlands with artificial, human-dependent wetlands. Under this program we are gradually losing wetland functions. Also, in our society we may not have the interest and the resources to properly support these new ecosystems.

Keywords: natural wetlands; wetland restoration; ecosystems; compensatory mitigation; Clean Water Act; USA; United States.

DOI: 10.1504/IER.2008.053962

Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, 2008 Vol.10 No.1/2, pp.65 - 84

Available online: 13 May 2013

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