Until recently, wetlands had value in the marketplace only as targets for destruction. Today, wetlands often have market value for uses that do not require that they be dredged and filled. Such opportunities include: 1. Carbon storage offsets for greenhouse gas emissions; 2. Mitigation banks for destruction of other wetlands; 3. Conservation banks for wildlife protection; 4. Tradable water quality protection rights; 5. Sites for growing algae or other biofuel crops. These new uses have valid public benefits, but most laws and ordinances were not written with these possibilities in mind. Planners and lawyers need to think about ways to ensure that such proposals can be analyzed and regulated to consider their site-by-site impact on traditional wetland values.
Fred P. Bosselman,
Planning for a Bull Market for Wetlands,
Plan. & Envtl. L.
Available at: http://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/fac_schol/731