A new plan in Box Elder County is aimed at combining the interests of conservationists and developers.

The idea is to create new wetlands all the while allowing construction of homes and businesses to continue. It was spearheaded by the head of Box Elder's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Al Trout, and Thiokol retirees Tom Walker and Jerry Mason.The trio has pieced together a plan that calls for developers to pay for their fair share of wetland expansion, without jeopardizing their ability to build.

"Before now, battle lines have been drawn up" between builders and conservationists, Trout said.

But the establishment of a wetlands mitigation bank is an opportunity to keep both groups happy, Trout added.

"We're not trying to build an extreme militant wetlands group," Trout said. "But we genuinely want to protect and enhance our wetlands."

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Under the proposal, developers whose expansion plans endanger wetlands can pay into a wetlands bank. The bank then will fund the creation, enhancement or expansion of adjacent wetlands in the county.

In many cases, developers will no longer be required to carve two-to-three-acre lots to preserve wetlands on their new property.

Instead, the "credits" the developer pays into the bank will allow nearby wetlands to grow.

According to Trout, the wetlands bank benefits developers because it allows them to directly add mitigation expenses into the cost of development, and abolishes any construction delays caused by mitigation requirements.

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