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PBS&J markets credits for largest wetlands bank in Texas

TYLER, TEXAS—PBS&J is marketing credits and conducting oversight for the Pineywoods Mitigation Bank, recently launched by The Conservation Fund, a national non-profit. Private, industrial, and government developers whose projects impact wetlands in the Neches River basin and select surrounding watersheds can purchase credits necessary for these projects, as determined by a standardized assessment based on calculated functional loss at the impact site.

At more than 19,000 acres, the Pineywoods Mitigation Bank is Texas’s largest wetlands mitigation bank, and is located along the Neches River, traveling through Angelina, Jasper, and Polk counties. The new bank will restore more than 13,000 acres of bottomland forested wetlands and an additional 6,000 acres upland to pre-settlement condition as a self-sustaining forest, and will provide a wildlife corridor between Davy Crockett and Angelina national forests.

The Pineywoods Mitigation Bank was approved to provide compensatory mitigation credits to public and private developers who must compensate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands across a designated service area. Given its landscape-level scale and conservation value, the bank offers developers an opportunity to leave a positive environmental legacy. For conservationists, the bank provides a critical source of conservation capital in the region.

"Working on a mitigation project of this scale, with the involvement of numerous state and federal agencies, has been a real challenge to say the least," said J. Grant Barber, PBS&J project manager. "In the end, I believe we were able to strike a balance that will allow for the restoration of a massive wetland ecosystem and will help provide the funds for more of these projects in the future. PBS&J is already well known for our Engineering and Environmental Consulting capabilities. Now we have the opportunity to showcase, to the nation, PBS&J’s knowledge and capabilities in the wetland mitigation and ecosystem banking industry through our involvement and oversight of the Pineywoods Mitigation Bank."

The Pineywoods Mitigation Bank meets federal and state criteria for mitigation banks, receiving approval by an Interagency Review Team that includes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas General Land Office, and the Railroad Commission of Texas.