Real World Restoration and the Wetland Policy Industry

To identify, acquire, design, construct and manage for the long term actual aquatic ecosystems is a privilege and a challenge for our team at Restoration Systems.  “Stories from the Field” is in large part our attempt to communicate this experience in order to educate the wetland policy industry.

What is the “wetland policy industry” you ask?  It is my term for the 1000+ well intended people nationally who are wetland and environmental mitigation specialists — but not involved directly with anything that would wet a boot (except perhaps the occasional well-planned field trip).   It’s the think tankers, planners, academics, high-level regulators and Washington environmentalists who provide indispensable support for the politics of the wetland regulatory and policy apparatus on which our company relies, but who are woefully short of comprehensive real world experience with — and economic responsibility for — actual ecosystems.

This is to some degree excusable.  Wetland regulation and mitigation is hardly a generation old, and therefore very little intellectual mixing has occurred.  In other words, unlike agriculture, where the planner or policy maker might have had a grandmother who farmed, or the transportation sector, where the “road wonk” actually drives a car — the folks who are the backbone of a strongly protective wetland policy and those who carry it out are almost entirely siloed in their own intellectual envelopes.

But it is excusable only to a degree.  When the pontificators become so lost in their white papers, policy prescriptions and planning documents that they do not provide support, but misapply resources within the field (and away from the field) it is time to critically assess the value of their efforts in order to distinguish that which encourages better mitigation and is helpful to the comprehensive practitioner — and what is political posturing in the name of science or policy. “Stories from the Field” will attempt to make that distinction.  Stay tuned.