is likely to be that outcomes are more predictable where damages are minimal and restoration efforts most intensive. Badly damaged wetlands and wetland creation sites are less likely to match reference wetlands, especially if restoration efforts are minimal.

In conclusion, the literature and long-term trajectories reported therein suggest that wetland restoration and creation sites do not often achieve functional equivalency with reference sites within 5 years; indeed, up to 20 years may be needed for functional attributes to be determined or assessed correctly.


On the basis of its evaluation of wetland structure and function, the committee makes the following recommendations for compensatory mitigation:

  1. Avoidance is strongly recommended for wetlands that are difficult or impossible to restore, such as fens or bogs.

  2. The science and technology of wetland restoration and creation need to be based on a broader range of studies, involving sites that differ in degree of degradation, restoration efforts made, and regional variations. Predictability of outcomes should then improve.

  3. All mitigation wetlands should become self-sustaining. Proper placement in the landscape to establish hydrogeological equivalence is inherent to wetland sustainability.

  4. Hydrological variability should be incorporated into wetland mitigation design and evaluation. Except for open-water wetlands, static water levels are not normal. Because of climatic variability, it should be recognized that many wetland types do not satisfy jurisdictional criteria every year. Hydrological functionality should be based on comparisons to reference sites during the same time period.

  5. Because a particular floristic assemblage might not provide the functions lost, both restoration of community structure (e.g., plant cover and composition) and restoration of wetland functions should be considered in setting goals and assessing outcomes. Relationships between structure and function should be better known.

  6. The biological dynamics should be evaluated in terms of the populations present in reference models for the region and the ecological requirements of those species.

  7. Mitigation projects should be planned with and measured by a broader set of wetland functions than are currently employed.

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