Wetland and stream credits are intended to protect valuable wetlands that provide people with water purification, flood protection, erosion control and habitat for fish and wildlife. Wetland Credits have been available since the late 1980s to help agencies achieve ‘no net loss’ for wetland habitats impacted by human activities. This category includes stream zone protection credits (aka ‘stream credits’) designed to protect stream banks from erosion and thus to protect water bodies, including wetlands themselves, from sedimentation.
The term ‘mitigation credit’ began with wetlands and often refers exclusively to wetland habitats.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture describes Wetland Mitigation Banking as ‘a form of Environmental Market trading where wetlands are developed to create marketable wetland credits. These credits are sold to others as compensation for unavoidable wetland impacts.’ U.S. EPA collaborates with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement wetland mitigation banking under the Clean Water Act and the 1899 Rivers & Harbors Act.