- Associated Press - Friday, May 6, 2016

KELSO, Wash. (AP) - The state’s newest program intended to offset development impacts to wetlands and fish habitat has been certified to operate in southwest Washington.

The Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Ecology have certified a 302-acre site along the Coweeman River, a tributary of the Cowlitz River, for a so-called mitigation bank.

The goal of the project is to enhance and restore wetlands across the site, as well as to create habitat for imperiled salmon as they migrate along the river. Developers will be able to buy credits in the bank to offset impacts to wetlands or fish habitat associated with their projects.

State, federal and tribal officials applauded the collaboration between many parties, both public and private.

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