Glenn Barnes is a senior project director at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina.  Glenn is the project manager of the Sustainable Finance for Wetland Programs project funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In the world of environmental finance, questions can seem a lot simpler than they actually are.  For the past several years, the Environmental Finance Center has helped states and tribes think about how to fund their wetland programs in more financially sustainable ways.  At our finance workshops, we discussed how states and tribes across the country pay for the work they do across the four core elements of effective wetland programs: regulation, monitoring and assessment, voluntary restoration and protection, and water quality standards for wetlands.

One question often came up in these workshops: “How much do other programs charge for wetland regulatory permits?”  This simple question proved to have a far more complicated answer.  Without some caution, it is easy to end up comparing apples to oranges. Continue reading