State approves wetland bank north of Battle Ground

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The Washington Department of Ecology has certified the construction and operation of a privately owned, 113-acre wetland mitigation bank at Fargher Lake, north of Battle Ground.

East Fork Lewis Mitigation Partners, the company that will build and operate the bank, will permanently protect the property through a conservation easement. The firm will re-establish and enhance existing wetlands, as well as upland habitat areas at the site.

Developers in the southwest part of the Lewis River watershed will be able to buy credits from the mitigation bank to offset wetland losses. The bank service area also includes the Gee Creek and Allen Canyon Creek watersheds and the north part of Mill Creek.

The site is expected to generate 91 credits. Each credit represents 1.2 acres of work on the ground that developers can use to offset unavoidable impacts to wetlands in the mitigation bank’s service area.

Federal and state clean water laws require that wetland impacts be avoided and minimized before development can occur. The East Fork Lewis Wetland Mitigation Bank will be regulated by the Ecology Department, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Clark County.

The private wetland mitigation bank is the second to be certified in Clark County. In May, a 154-acre parcel owned by the Port of Vancouver became the Columbia River Wetland Mitigation Bank. Certified by the state last year, it will be transformed over 10 years to a fully functioning wetland.

Financing for both banks was arranged by Woodinville-based Habitat Banc NW.