Compensatory mitigation credits are commercial paper commodities similar to municipal bonds that have been around for 30+ years.
Government agencies such as the Army Corp of Engineers and the US Fish and Wildlife Service award these credits to landowners who establish conservation/mitigation banks and mitigation bankers, who make their living fostering ecosystem services produced by wetlands and streams, rare species and habitats, as well as high quality rivers and streams. These credits can then be sold to businesses and industries, city and county governments and other groups who need them to offset development or land use impacts as federal and state laws require.
These credits have sold from around $1,000 to half a million dollars or more for an acre. Read our article “Rivaling Gold: Ecological Assets Outperform Traditional Commodities” for a deeper look at the compensatory mitigation market and its value.