In 1989, the first Bush Administration formally adopted the national policy of no net loss of wetlands. Consequently, the issue of wetlands matters to anyone who wants to do something with land. On rare occasions, it’s a nonissue, and clients can simply proceed with projects. However, given that Louisiana is a coastal state, Liskow’s ability to help clients manage this aspect of environmental law is a pivotal, and invaluable, capability.
We have experience in handling wetlands issues in virtually every conceivable context. This can affect, for example, builders seeking to construct anything from a strip mall shopping center to a major industrial development. Scenarios range from clients who want to alter its use – extending a dock, for example – to developers seeking to acquire land who need to know what kind of permitting is required to landowners who accidentally engage in unpermitted uses.
Permitting takes priority
Our lawyers are skilled in handling the permitting aspects of wetlands. We assist landowners in obtaining after-the-fact permits, managing and mitigating exposure to fines and penalties, and negotiating resolution with regulatory agencies. We are also knowledgeable with respect to title issues connected with wetlands property, from squatters to individual Louisiana parishes regarding easements, rights to canals, and so on. Finally, there are few wetlands-related situations we haven’t seen. We have counseled clients facing historic preservation issues arising from slave burial grounds on property. We have helped clients determine which agencies have jurisdiction, and what kind of permit will be needed.
Using wetland banks strategically
We are also experienced in the intricacies of wetlands mitigation banks, and represent both operators of these banks as well as clients needing to compensate for wetlands loss. We’re particularly experienced in the purchase and sale of wetland credits, functional assessments, and all aspects of integrating wetlands banking into project planning, development, and transactions, up to and including helping clients purchase property and create their own banks. Our goal with respect to our clients in this field is to help them determine how to either avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate the impact of a project on wetlands, including such narrow topics as bottomland hardwood wetlands permits.
Seeing what’s coming next
Finally, we often play the role of being a clients’ eyes, ears, and early warning system concerning changes in the law that affects wetlands. Federal regulation of wetlands is based on the Interstate Commerce Clause, with Supreme Court decisions interpreting various aspects of jurisdiction every 2 or 3 years. Similarly, every 4 or 8 years, a new Presidential administration often promulgates a new rule expanding or contracting Federal regulation of the waters of the United States. The scope of wetlands law changes constantly, and we help our clients stay on top of developments, both real and potential.
Nobody knows the wetlands better
Louisiana is a unique state in many ways, one of which is the overwhelming importance of wetlands to our ecology, our culture, and our economy. As one of the oldest, most established firms in the state, we have dozens of attorneys involved in wetlands-related litigation and an extensive coastal docket. We have attorneys who have read, and know, almost every word written on the subject of wetlands. We have an unmatched level of knowledge, and for many major players in wetlands-related litigation, we are the law firm of choice.