While mitigation is intended to provide an avenue to compensate for the unavoidable impacts on the environment due to development, it can also be an effective way for conservation organizations, such as Wildlife Mississippi, to protect, restore or enhance significant wetlands and streams that might not otherwise receive attention. Pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, anyone who disturbs or destroys regulated wetlands or streams is required to compensate for those losses. Compensation can be on the same site or similar site, can involve buying credits from a third party who has restored a similar site or can involve the payment of in-lieu-of fees to a conservation organization. Wetland and stream mitigation banks are regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in consultation with state and federal agencies that also have jurisdiction over wetland and stream protection.

Purchasing credits from an established mitigation bank is preferred by regulatory agencies because banks typically represent a quality restoration project that has gone through a rigorous approval process. For the permittee, credit transactions at banks can be quick and easy. Mitigation banks are areas set aside permanently to produce credits that are directly related to the quality and the amount of wetlands or streams they restore, enhance, and/or permanently protect. These credits are then made available for purchase to provide compensation for wetlands or streams lost or disturbed during public or private development projects. A mitigation bank typically can only compensate for wetland and stream losses that occur in the same river basin and the same state where the bank is located. Mitigation banking is operated under the free market economy and follows the inherent laws of supply and demand. Therefore, most mitigation banks tend to be established in watersheds that include areas of high development. Wildlife Mississippi strives to locate its banks along significant river systems, allowing it to contribute to the protection of at-risk aquatic and terrestrial species and habitats while providing a service to public and private developers.