Geography Colloquium Speaker Series hosts Rebecca Lave of Indiana U., 3/13

Please join us when we host Rebecca Lave, Assistant Professor of Geography at Indiana University, as part of our Spring 2014 Colloquium Series.

Professor Lave will be giving a talk on “Marketing Environmental Science and Management: Stream Migration in the US”. You can view her faculty page here, and the abstract for her talk is below.

  • Thursday, March 13; 12 to 1:25 p.m.
  • Jefferson 218

Please note that for the remainder of the semester, all talks will begin right at 12:00 in Jefferson 218, with a reception to follow in the Geography Commons. All are welcome.

Hope to see you there!

Rebecca Lave Indiana University


Marketing Environmental Science and Management:  Stream Mitigation Banking in the U.S.

Rebecca Lave

Department of Geography, Indiana University

Market-based approaches to environmental management are increasingly common.  In 1983 when Joeres and David published their pioneering collection, Buying a Better Environment, the concept was seen as at best novel, and at worst far-fetched.  Yet today, conservation and water quality credits are for sale in many developed countries, and the idea of payment for ecosystem services is ubiquitous in environmental policy circles. This paper traces that shift from command and control to market-based management and its ecological and policy consequences through analysis of the emerging practice of stream mitigation banking in the U.S.  In the most common form of stream mitigation banking (SMB), a for-profit company buys land with a damaged stream on it and restores it to produce mitigation credits which can then be purchased by developers to fulfill their permit conditions under the Clean Water Act. Entrepreneurial SMB began in 2000, and has since spread rapidly across the U.S. with the strong support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Drawing on data from document analysis, interviews, and geomorphic fieldwork conducted from 2010 through 2013, I argue that while mitigation bankers have made several key interventions in the development of SMB policy, market forces have not dominated the policy-making process to the extent one might expect.  Even so, their influence is clearly visible in the homogenization of channel form across the U.S.