The Little Pine Island Mitigation Bank (LPIMB) (Bank) is a 4,670± acre wetland restoration project in Lee County, Florida. In the 1960’s, the island’s wetlands were drained by mosquito ditches and the unique high marsh habitats became badly infested with exotic plant species such as Melaleuca, Australian pine, and Brazilian pepper. In 1997 Mariner Properties Development, Inc./LPI Wetland Mitigation Bank, Ltd. conceived and proposed a unique and pioneering agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and began the $22 million restoration of Little Pine Island.
Recovery of the restored wetlands, completed in 2015, has been quite remarkable. Following exotic removal, seeds of native wetland vegetation that had been dormant in the soil sprouted to produce appropriate native wetland flora within well-balanced vegetation communities. Supplemental plantings of native species in small areas where the seed bank failed to germinate, and ongoing exotic maintenance, have allowed the restoration areas to reach conditions that are highly comparable to pristine natural systems.
In 1995, the pre-restoration assessment of wildlife utilization included only 4 mammal species, 43 bird species including 20 wetland-dependent bird species, and 5 species of native reptiles. To date, wildlife monitoring has documented utilization by at least 9 species of native mammals, 111 bird species including 54 wetland-dependent bird species, 21 species of native reptiles, 7 species of native amphibians, 14 species of native fish, and 150 aquatic macroinvertebrate species.
Little Pine Island is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, the Great Calusa Blueway, and has been chosen as one of only 36 sites worldwide by the United Nations Environment Programme which demonstrate the success of ecosystem restoration for worldwide sustainability. As part of the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park, Little Pine Island is open to the public for the enjoyment of birding and hiking enthusiasts. The extensive restoration of Little Pine Island, which would not have been possible without the public-private partnership, has re-established the historical hydrology and unique high marsh vegetation on Little Pine Island. The island’s tidal creeks now function as they once did creating “mangrove tunnels” which attract kayakers and fisherman along the Great Calusa Blueway.
The Little Pine Island Preservation Trust Fund has also been established for perpetual maintenance and monitoring of the entire 4,670 acre island. Funded through the sale of wetland mitigation bank credits, the Trust Fund will exceed $2 million, the interest from which will be used yearly to pay for all maintenance forever on Little Pine Island.
Little Pine Island now stands as a shining example of private business joining with the State of Florida to create a natural legacy today and far into the future.
See Map Below for Mitigation Bank Location and Mitigation Service Area
“Desmond Duke of EcoResolve has been a valuable resource and a great colleague for Bluefield Ranch Mitigation Bank for many years. Desmond’s uncompromising integrity, loyalty and dedication are coupled with his competence (experience, knowledge, creativity and high energy) add value to Bluefield Ranch and to our customers. Armed with a great personality, including charm, grace and humor, Desmond participates actively in Bluefield’s professional and social activities, having become an integral member of our Bluefield family.”
“I have had the opportunity to work with Desmond for 22 years and EcoResolve since its inception. In that time I have found that Desmond’s business ethics are beyond reproach and his knowledge and expertise in mitigation banking and sales is unrivaled by his peers. I know you will find, as I have, the unique pleasure of working with an industry leader!"
“Anyone interested in using Desmond Duke’s services should note that he is one of a small handful of the “original” mitigation professionals in the United States. Desmond's work in mitigation banking dates back to the early 90’s and his representation of the first successful entrepreneurial mitigation bank in the US. It would be truly impossible to find anyone more experienced in our field! I recommend Desmond and hold his professional assistance in the highest regard.”
“Desmond Duke and I have been working together for over 8 years. His knowledge and expertise of mitigation lands and Banks (Federal and State) are what brought us to come to know one another very well. Desmond helped me create and develop the largest Panther Conservation Bank in the United States. His knowledge and connections in the industry led to our success. I’m a vegetable farmer with over 30 years of farming experience so I believe I know what hard work is and Desmond is a hard worker. He will put in the extra time and effort to get the job completed. Desmond is a forward thinking out-of-the-box businessman. We have spent many hours together. He always strives to make the right decisions, always putting his clients first. Choosing Desmond on my project (Panther Passage Conservation Bank) was the best decision I could have ever made and for this I am blessed.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Desmond Duke of EcoResolve, for his willingness to help us resolve a mitigation banking issue we had related to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) permit. Desmond unselfishly supported a decision to come to our aid on a very sensitive banking discrepancy. He supported a decision to ratify a permitting inconsistency, where his bank and another were both named as mitigation banks on the same project for both the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and ACOE permits. Without hesitation, Desmond proactively helped us unify the banking mitigation on our clients behalf. Desmond openly supported unification of the mitigation ultimately going to a competitor’s bank with whom our client had an existing contract, saving our client in excess of $200,000 that would have gone to his representative bank. In my opinion, his willingness to recognize and support the mitigation credits, consistent with his understanding of the permitting intent, regardless of his loss of economic gain, demonstrated not only his underlying understanding of the permitting process, but more importantly his character and integrity as an individual and professional in this complex field. We are gratefully indebted for his actions.”
“For more than 20 years, I have worked closely with Desmond Duke in his capacity as a marketer of mitigation bank credits for both wetlands and endangered species. Desmond has been trustworthy, knowledgeable, diligent and highly networked in his extraordinarily successful career with The Wetlandsbank Company and his work at EcoResolve”.
This is to express both my gratitude and acknowledgement of the well-established superior reputation and service provided by Desmond Duke and EcoResolve. For over 15 years, I have had the opportunity to work with Desmond on a number of projects, and in a number of capacities, in both the public and private sectors.
For more than a decade Desmond has been a really valuable member of our Bluefield team and we’ve enjoyed the relationship as much as we have the credit sales he’s made. What I particularly appreciate is that he has a genuine interest and passion for the science and conservation that underwrites our mitigation, and he has worked diligently to master all of the technical and ecological elements of our work so that he can convey to credit buyers and their...
"I have been involved in mitigation banking for 20 years, with Panther Island Mitigation Bank and with Corkscrew Regional Mitigation Bank, and have worked closely with Desmond Duke and EcoResolve in both banks. Desmond has been a major part in the success of these mitigation banking projects. Desmond’s intellect, work ethic and honesty are the qualities that one always seeks in a professional relationship."
“Desmond is incredibly knowledgeable of mitigation banking, credit sales, and regulatory requirements. He responds quickly and accurately to requests for documentation and its always a pleasure working with him.”