Under state and federal environmental laws, people who propose development impacting natural resources have to avoid and minimize some of those impacts, and when they can’t they are required to mitigate them. That means paying for natural resources elsewhere to be protected or restored — and that’s where Alex Preisser, President of Mitigation Marketing, comes in. Born and raised in Central Florida, Preisser combines her background in biology with expert knowledge of the permitting processes of state, federal, and local environmental regulatory agencies to deliver meaningful conservation results. In her role, she oversees onsite restoration activities and manages federal and state permitting compliance at the company’s banks located throughout the state, while also managing the marketing and sale of mitigation credits.
Mitigation Marketing, founded in 1998, was the first company of its kind in Florida. Today, the company remains the largest firm specializing in marketing support for mitigation banks. Preisser notes that success in this line of work comes from savvy risk assessment, a good eye for investment, and thoughtful project management: “We identify problems early on in the process,” she explains. “We have never had a project fail because we invest in our education. If we have a bank that’s successful, we will make money—it’s a green investment.”
Beyond ensuring the company’s own success, she keeps her eye on the larger environmental goals. “What we do is valuable to the environment so we must meet our milestones to have our projects make a big difference in the long run.” Mitigation Marketing is instrumental in helping achieve no net loss of wetlands—an ongoing environmental quest to increase the wildlife corridor, decrease water pollution, and create additional open outdoor space.
While Preisser’s university education was in Utah, she grew up in Winter Park, FL, and had always planned to return home after college. “I just love everything about Florida. It’s so diverse and I truly love being out in parts of Florida that most people do not get to see.” In her role, she is able to enjoy Florida’s special places; the 900-acre Hilochee Mitigation Bank within the Withlacoochee River Basin in Polk County is one of Preisser’s favorite projects. The restoration and enhancement plan creates wetlands, enhances both the wetlands and the upland forests, and establishes native marsh vegetation. “The wildlife out there is amazing, and we get to see eagles, Sandhill Cranes, gopher tortoises, coyotes, and bears on our wildlife cameras.”
Mitigation banking continues to evolve and Preisser enjoys maximizing its benefits for Florida’s natural resources, and sharing her perspective as a “woman in this industry, coming home to my three kids in snake boots and a shovel.”
In addition to their beauty, wetlands and other natural spaces can function as natural climate solutions. While improving air and water quality and enhancing habitats for birds, fish, and other wildlife, they also offer flood and erosion control, recharge groundwater, offer storm protection, and sequester carbon pollution.
“I will continue to put my skills and knowledge to good use,” she said. “Florida is THE place to do [mitigation] banking; everything is on the cutting edge.”