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Posted 4/30/2015

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By Robert Kidd
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District

SACRAMENTO, California – When a doctoral student from the University of Versailles needed to understand how America balances urban development with natural preservation, she visited the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District.

That grad student, Sophie Menard, flew into Sacramento the final week of April and spent time with several members of the Sacramento District’s regulatory team, visiting a variety of mitigation bank sites in the region.

Mitigation banks are tracts of land set aside for their natural biodiversity. Developers can sometimes mitigate for negative impact on wetlands or other ecological features by purchasing credits in a mitigation bank.

The implementation of biodiversity mitigation banks in France is still a recent development, according to Menard.

“France has only one commercial mitigation bank dedicated to biodiversity at this time,” said Menard. It is located in Southern France.

During her visit, Menard’s emphasis was toward understanding the economic viability of both commercial and non-commercial mitigation sites. Commercial mitigation banks are established as a for-profit enterprise.

“It is very gratifying that our state’s reputation for work in ecological mitigation reaches around the world,” said Krystel Bell, a Sacramento District regulator and Menard’s mentor during the visit.

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