Northeast Florida Wetland Mitigation Bank
The Northeast Florida Wetland Mitigation Bank (NFWMB) is a 386-acre multifaceted project consisting of restored wetlands and uplands available for offsite mitigation in Duval County, Florida.
The purpose of this project was to establish a mitigation bank by restoring an intensely impacted site back to its historical conditions through a combination of wetland enhancement and restoration. Before 1996, when restoration of this property began, it was listed as improved pasture for dairy operation. Historical aerial photography confirms that some time before 1943 the land was converted into cattle pasture.
The conversion consisted of de-forestation, excavation of drainage ditches, canalization, plowing and the planting of forage crops. As a result of these previous land management activities and the length of time that the property was used by cattle, the on-site waters and the downstream receiving areas were heavily impacted and required extensive restoration measures to reverse their effects. Following its successful restoration, both the Army Corps of Engineers and the Saint Johns Water Management District have approved this parcel and included it into the NFWMB. Through the implementation of this plan, the land now represents a more viable and functional habitat for wildlife and offers opportunities for the purchase of mitigation credits for offsite wetland impacts.
Mitigation activities for the NFWMB included:
• Recording of the conservation easement
• Termination of the dairy lease
• Removal of fencing, culverts, sheds, troughs, other dairy structures
• Removal of accumulated cattle waste from Deadman’s Branch and the north-south ditch and spread on upland areas
• Restore hydrology by filling the ditches and placing a weir at the downstream end of Deadman’s Branch
• Harrowing of the pasture to minimize competition from weedy species and prepare for tree planting
• Re-establishment of vegetation which involved:
• Thinning of a 33-acre dense pine stand
• Elimination of Chinese tallow trees which had begun to be established at several locations
• Replanting 340-acres of the site (259-acres of restored wetlands, 26-acres of enhance wetlands, and 55-acres of enhanced uplands)