Emerging Issues in Wetland Loss Mitigation: A Policy Analysis in the Tar-Pamlico Basin
Ecological functions of wetlands and streams provide valuable services to human societies, but conflicting societal objectives at times place greater value on conversion or destruction than on preservation of wetlands. Therefore, it is imperative that regulatory structures provide a system for environmental decision makers to weigh available science, stakeholder input, and economic factors in determining how to minimize and mitigate loss of these resources. This study utilized an environmental policy analysis framework to evaluate the success of North Carolina’s wetland management system in achieving these goals, and to locate programmatic components for which performance could be improved. Comparison with past analyses revealed that the state’s newest mitigation mechanism, the Ecosystem Enhancement Program, demonstrated high-level or enhanced performance over its first two years of operation in efficiency, the ability to incorporate scientific advancements, transparency, and watershed planning. Areas for continued improvement were identified as incorporating a functional assessment methodology into wetland evaluation for determining mitigation requirements and evaluating mitigation success, increasing the length of monitoring for restored and created wetland and stream projects, enhancing data availability and clarity, and applying a watershed approach in directing development toward areas of least environmental damage.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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