COLUMBUS, Ohio - Despite 20 years of progress in restoring and creating wetlands, we still have not stopped the loss of wetlands in America, according to a report released by the National Research Council (NRC).
William Mitsch, director of the Olentangy River Wetlands Research Park at Ohio State University, served on the advisory committee for the report, entitled "Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the Clean Water Act."
Mitsch, who also holds professorships in natural resources and environmental science at Ohio State, said the report "recommends improving current federal mitigation laws to achieve the goal of stopping the net loss of wetlands." Mitigation usually means creating or restoring more than one acre of wetlands for every acre of wetland filled.
Efforts to restore wetlands have made some headway: Loss of wetlands in the United States has declined during the past 15 years - from 1986 to 1997, the estimated annual rate of wetland loss was 23 percent that of the previous decade, according to the NRC report. But data in the report show that required mitigation projects often aren't undertaken or fail to meet permit conditions outlined by Section 404 of the 1972 Clean Water Act.