No Net Loss Case Study: Structural and Functional Equivalence of Mitigation Wetlands

  • M. Siobhan FennessyEmail author
  • Abby Rokosch DresserEmail author
Reference work entry


Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act require that wetlands in the United States must be created or restored as “replacement” or “mitigation” wetlands in order to compensate for wetland areas that are lost due to development. This is in order to meet the US policy mandating a “no net loss” of wetland extent or function by balancing the need for economic development with wetland preservation. A question related to this policy is whether or not mitigation wetlands are structurally and functionally equivalent, to those they are designed to replace. In other words, is wetland mitigation a fair trade? The uncertainty in whether mitigation wetlands can succeed in replacing natural sites has led them to be called a “large-scale ecological experiment.”


Clean Water Act United States Replacement wetlands Mitigation Wetland loss No net loss Economic development Wetland preservation Structurally equivalent Functionally equivalent 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyKenyon CollegeGambierUSA
  2. 2.BiologistDucks UnlimitedBozemanUSA

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