My masters thesis, completed for the MS Environmental Management program at the University of San Francisco, investigated the success of compensatory wetland mitigation required by the California Coastal Commission from the years 2012-2018.

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Compensatory mitigation is a practice whereby a government agency requires the creation, restoration, enhancement, or preservation of ecological resources to offset unavoidable adverse impacts to environmentally sensitive habitat caused by some form of development. Compensatory wetland mitigation programs have slowed the rate of wetland loss in California and elsewhere, but they have largely failed to offset impacts with a sufficient amount of functional mitigation acreage. More than 90% of California’s historical wetlands have been drained, diked, filled, or dredged over the past 100 years.

Methods involved reviewing permits and preparing a database to index all compensatory mitigation projects in the study period; locating all available mitigation plans and monitoring reports for those projects; statistically evaluating each project’s compliance with performance criteria and “no net loss” policies; and performing a literature review to contextualize these findings.

Alexander, Tommy, “Evaluating the Success of Compensatory Wetland Mitigation in the California Coastal Zone” (2020). Master’s Projects and Capstones. 997.