ABSTRACTProtection of wetland resource areas is critical to maintaining the ecological services theyprovide to society. The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) provides protection by requiringcompensation for the deterioration of wetland resource areas in the form of compensatorywetland mitigation. According to the CWA, compensatory wetland mitigation may include thecreation, enhancement, or preservation of existing or new wetland resource areas. State orregional programs, such as the North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP), manageand monitor compensatory wetland mitigation needs. These programs are critical to replacinglost wetland resource area functionality. The goal of this analysis was to evaluate the EEP as asuccessful mitigation program and to determine if it should be a model for future programs usinga policy analysis framework. The analysis also developed an evaluative tool to measure andcompare wetland mitigation programs. Results indicate the EEP contains the key components of a successful compensatory wetland mitigation program including reporting mechanisms, groupparticipation, and watershed planning. However, areas of the EEP requiring improvementinclude financial stability, transparency, and commitment to long-term monitoring. The EEPmay be a model for other wetland mitigation programs in its general structure but not in its fullimplementation.
Evaluating the Ecosystem Enhancement Program