Petersen Ranch Mitigation Bank
WRA assisted our client, Land Veritas, in initial site selection and due diligence efforts to acquire a working cattle ranch for the purpose of mitigation banking. The Petersen Ranch Mitigation Bank, encompassing 4,236 acres in Los Angeles County, is currently the largest wetland mitigation bank in California.
WRA led the conceptual restoration planning tasks and authored the bank entitlement documents. WRA performed all of the biological baseline field studies and negotiated bank approval with the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, South Coast Region of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Lahontan and Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Boards. WRA authored the conservation easements and endowments in coordination with the easement holder.
WRA provided habitat restoration throughout the property, including alluvial fan and wetland and riparian habitats as well as preservation of habitat for listed species. The design called for lowering and reinforcing an existing dam to reintroduce flows over 70-acres of historic alluvial fan habitat. In addition, the spoils area was graded to create a naturalistic landform and seeded with native species to blend in with the landscape and maintain the aesthetics of the adjacent Elizabeth Lake recreation area. WRA developed a novel crediting methodology for this project to facilitate a process-based restoration approach, where habitats would evolve over time.
The bank restoration program also included the restoration of human-made hunting ponds back to a natural wet meadow wetland community. The design restored the natural valley floor landform and incorporated wildlife-friendly infrastructure to maintain the function of the agricultural lands. More than 150,000 native wetland and riparian plants were installed for this restoration project.
WRA continues to implement the management, monitoring, credit sales and reporting for the Bank.
The Bank, approved in 2016, now provides mitigation credits for permitted impacts under U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 permits, Regional Water Quality Control Board 401 certifications, and California Department of Fish & Wildlife 1600 agreements. It also provides CEQA/CESA mitigation for a wide variety of species and habitats. WRA managed the Bank from site selection through the entitlement phase, and continues to manage Bank operations today.
Conservation Project Manager
Ashley Zavagno, CERP, CE
Senior Restoration Ecologist
Habitat Restoration Design
Mitigation Bank Management