PennDOT often requires wetland mitigation for its projects undertaken within its 11 engineering districts. The conventional approach is to develop one-off or project-specific mitigation sites that satisfy the specific wetland impacts of a given transportation improvement project.
An unsolicited proposal was submitted for wetland mitigation banking. Through a Public-Private Partnership with PennDOT, a private sector partner proposed to develop 140 acres for a wetland banking site in Bucks County. The land is already owned by PennDOT and is being proposed to provide on-demand wetland mitigation credits for both PennDOT projects as well as other private-development projects that have wetland impacts located in the same watershed.
Regulatory changes have made it increasingly difficult for PennDOT to satisfy its own mitigation needs. Given the greater risks and higher costs associated with wetland banking, there have not been any PennDOT wetland mitigation banks permitted since 2008. This is mainly due to the operation and maintenance of a banking site not being a core service of PennDOT.
Under the proposed P3 project, the private partner managing the mitigation bank is responsible for maintaining the land associated with the credits for a period up to 99 years.