Mitigation Projects

Pajaro River Mitigation Bank

Wildlands’ Pajaro River Wetland Mitigation Bank occupies approximately 273 acres near Gilroy, California. The land was previously contaminated by waste disposal, but under Wildlands’ management, has regained safe conditions. It now provides wetland, agricultural, wildlife, and flood control benefits to the region.

From approximately 1984 to 1991, under prior ownership, the Bank site had been used for the disposal of wastewater treatment sludge and other biosolids. Discharge activities ceased in 1991 when hay grown on the site was found to have nitrate-nitrogen levels in excess of 0.2 percent, making it unacceptable as feed for cattle.

Throughout 2002 and 2003, Wildlands’ land acquisition staff worked with the previous owner to have the waste discharge permit rescinded, making it feasible for Wildlands to buy the property and construct the first phase of wetland restoration in 2004. Ongoing soil and groundwater testing showed significant decreases in nitrogen levels as the restored wetlands performed their function. A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment conducted in 2007 found no evidence of presence or likely presence of hazardous substances.

With the property cleared of any contamination concerns, Wildlands began grazing the site and obtained approval for Mitigation Bank status. With Phase I of restoration completed, the Bank boasts 29.5 acres of uplands, 46.79 acres of seasonal marsh, and 7.87 acres of semi-permanent emergent marsh habitat. Habitat development for Phase II will include over 90 acres each of wetland and upland landscapes.

The Bank is protected by a conservation easement in perpetuity. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-approved wetland creation credits are now available for impacts to jurisdictional waters within the Bank's approved service area.

273 acres

Location: San Benito County, California

Mitigation Types

  • Wetland/Waters of the U.S.

Service Area

The Waters of the U.S. service area includes the 8-digit Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) it is located within [Pajaro River (18060002)].

Approving Agencies

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

For additional information on the Pajaro River Mitigation Bank, please contact Julie Maddox at (916) 435-3555 or