Leaders from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, and Environmental Protection Agency have signed an agreement to expand wetland mitigation options for permit applicants in Wisconsin.
The agreement expands mitigation options statewide by providing applicants the ability to mitigate wetland losses via an in-lieu fee program. The DNR-administered program still requires proposed projects to first avoid, then minimize adverse impacts to wetlands and meet all other permit conditions before qualifying to participate in the new program.
“Establishment of the Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust provides an important new tool for businesses and communities to create jobs while establishing a new path forward for protecting and restoring state wetlands,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “This initiative represents an innovative and cooperative approach to environmental protection by DNR, the Corps of Engineers and EPA.”
Matt Matrise, DNR coordinator for the in-lieu fee program, said the program has established credit values of $58,000 in the Lake Superior basin, $60,000 in the Mississippi basin and $61,000 in the Lake Michigan basin. The values are based on a variety of factors including land values.
As administrator for the program, DNR will collect the credit fees, seek public involvement on future restoration projects and ensure projects are initiated within three years after selling the first credit. For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search for “wetland compensatory mitigation.”