- Associated Press - Monday, September 1, 2014

SOMERVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee state agencies and developers are set to pick up the tab for the restoration of more than 160 acres of Fayette County land that was drained and cleared to grow crops.

The Mount Tena Creek Mitigation Bank is a place where wetland-restoration work is conducted to offset environmental damage caused by construction elsewhere. Builders purchase credits in the bank to fund the work and in return can get permits under the federal Clean Water Act authorizing projects that destroy wetlands.

The Mount Tena bank is located southeast of Moscow adjacent to the Ghost River State Natural Area.

The conservation program’s manager, Eric Held, told The Commercial Appeal (https://bit.ly/1w0t0X0 ) that Ducks Unlimited will sell the credits and do the wetland-restoration work.

“Mitigation banks are typically a market solution to a regulatory issue,” Held said.

Ducks Unlimited purchased the land from the Wolf River Conservancy, a conservation group that had bought it from a farm family.

As part of the restoration process, Ducks Unlimited will plant nearly 23,000 native trees. It also will remove earthen berms and other structures that were erected to keep the land from flooding.

Held said most of the acreage was marginal cropland.

The establishment of the mitigation bank required the approval of an interagency review team. The Corps of Engineers, which issues Clean Water Act permits, authorized the credits for the Mount Tena bank.

Among the likely buyers of credits is the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which has funded restoration work at other mitigation banks. TDOT has several large construction projects that require the filling of wetlands.

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, https://www.commercialappeal.com

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