Government of Nova Scotia
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Environment

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Wetlands

Compensation for Wetland Alterations

An acceptable Compensation Plan is based on a signed Letter of Understanding (LOU) (PDF: 57k) between NSE recognized wetland restoration professionals and the applicant or a detailed plan describing how the applicant (usually in contract with a third-party restoration specialist) will provide compensation for the alteration. Inspectors will work with the applicant to develop the LOU or detailed plan in consultation with the Department Wetland Specialist to ensure the compensation project identified is aligned with government priorities for wetland restoration, enhancement or creation.

LOUs should include:

  • basic information about the approach that will be taken;
  • general description of the amount, type and location of the wetland that will be restored, enhanced or created (must be clear that proposed project will provide compensation for wetland lost to the alteration at a minimum of a 2:1 ratio);
  • timeline for completion of different phases of the project;
  • basic details on monitoring that will be used to assess success;
  • agreement from the third party responsible for the project that they will keep NSE informed of project process
  • signatures from the applicant and consultant on the agreement.

Note: The preferred method of compensation is restoration of highly degraded wetland habitats or wetlands previously lost to historic conversion.

Enhancement of wetlands that lack certain functions and creation of replacement wetlands will also be considered acceptable in most circumstances, although generally at higher compensation ratios.

Compensation may also include:

  • studies to identify potential restoration sites
  • developing naturalized stormwater or wastewater retention wetlands
  • preserving existing wetlands of special significance or upland buffers adjacent to wetlands
  • building public access facilities and interpretative centres
  • developing public education materials
  • conducting or supporting wetland research.

These options should typically only be considered when included in addition to restoration, enhancement or creation efforts. The Department Wetland Specialist is available to provide advice on all aspects of the compensation agreement.