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20th wetland mitigation bank is first on coast
For immediate release                                                                        09-05
More information:   Dana Field – 503-986-5238
                                 Sally Owens – 541-964-3345
Wilbur Island Bank located on peninsula near the mouth of the Siuslaw River
Florence – On a site that has partially self-restored due to dike breaching, the state’s newest wetland mitigation bank was recently approved by the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL).
The Wilbur Island Mitigation Bank, sponsored by Don Wilbur Ltd., is a 162-acre site located just upstream from Florence on a piece of land accessible only by boat. The land was previously used for cattle grazing.
A wetland mitigation bank is a business venture in which the bank sponsor restores, creates or enhances wetlands, and sells wetland credits to developers who need to offset their wetland impacts to obtain a removal-fill permit from DSL. One credit is generally equivalent to one acre of wetland impact.
"We plan to remove dikes, disable drainage ditches and reestablish tidal channels to allow the native vegetation and tidal flows to return," said Sally Owens, spokeswoman for Don Wilbur Ltd. "Our family has owned this 300-acre property since 1975, and the potential for protecting and restoring one of the largest and most important islands in the Siuslaw estuary has been very important to us. We’ve enjoyed the support of the local community, natural resource organizations and sustainable development entities in this endeavor, which we believe will benefit the entire Siuslaw watershed and support development in our region," said Owens.
The project is expected to provide excellent habitat for young salmon, shorebirds and waterfowl, said Dana Field, DSL mitigation bank specialist. "Over the next several years, about 51 wetland mitigation credits will be generated at the bank by the restoration activities," she said. The initial five credits are expected to be available for sale shortly.
The service area (the area where credits may be sold) for the Wilbur bank includes the Siuslaw watershed, and smaller watersheds north to the Alsea River at Waldport and south to the Umpqua River at Reedsport.
DSL and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in collaboration with other resource agencies, review and approve mitigation banks' plans, and release credits for a bank site when it reaches pre-approved performance milestones.
General information on wetland mitigation banking and a map of the Wilbur Island Mitigation Bank service area can be found on the DSL's and the Corps' Web sites:
The State Land Board consists of Governor Theodore Kulongoski, Secretary of State Kate Brown and State Treasurer Ben Westlund. The Department of State Lands administers diverse natural and fiscal resources. Many of the resources generate revenue for the Common School Fund, such as state-owned rangelands and timberlands, waterway leases, estates for which no will or heirs exist, and unclaimed property. Twice a year, the agency distributes fund investment earnings to support K-12 public schools. The agency also administers Oregon’s Removal-Fill Law, which requires people removing or filling certain amounts of material in waters of the state to obtain a permit.