Who wins and loses from “no net loss”?: Socioeconomic and participatory differences in compensatory mitigation

Authors: Simone Chapman*, University of New Hampshire, Catherine M. Ashcraft, University of New Hampshire
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: Environmental Justice, compensatory mitigation, wetlands policy, water, policy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Jefferson, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Compensatory mitigation is a “no net loss” policy to balance unavoidable, significant loss of wetland functions and values caused by development with replacement or protection of similar wetland functions and values elsewhere. Compensatory mitigation is sometimes used to fund wetland restoration as part of dam removal and flood risk mitigation projects. Existing research has focused on evaluating ecological success of compensatory mitigation policy, while very few studies have evaluated socioeconomic patterns. Existing research has found evidence of differences between communities around permit and mitigation sites that warrant further research. Observed differences in the populations surrounding permit and mitigation sites include differences in population density, percentage of minorities, level of educational attainment, rate of unemployment and household income, but differences varied between study sites in different states and the type of mitigation program in use. We present a research design to use geospatial data to compare and analyze socioeconomic differences. This will be the first such study in New Hampshire and New England and will inform whether environmental justice should be considered in compensatory mitigation programs.

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