Conservation Act >
The Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act (WCA)
was first passed in 1991. Rules were promulgated by the Minnesota
Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). The WCA mandates that wetlands
must not be drained or filled unless (a) drain or fill activity is
exempt or (b) wetlands are replaced by restoring or creating wetland
areas of at least equal public value. The goal is no net loss of wetlands.
A wetland is defined by the presence of (a) hydric (developed under wet conditions) soils, (b) surface or subsurface hydrology (properties and distribution of water) , and (c) hydrophytic (affinity for water) vegetation. The Wetland Conservation Act applies to all Minnesota wetlands, except those identified on the DNR inventory of protected waters and wetlands. These wetlands are regulated by the DNR.
The local government unit (LGU) has the primarily responsibility for administration of the WCA and for making key determinations. Generally, the LGU is a city or county.
If an activity is not exempt, impacted wetlands must
be replaced under a replacement plan approved by the LGU. The replacement
plan must demonstrate compliance with "sequencing," i.e., (a)
that wetland impacts are avoided as much as possible, (b) that to the
extent that the impacts cannot be avoided, the wetland impacts are minimized,
and (c) that unavoidably impacted wetlands are replaced as required by
the WCA Rules. The Rules include numerous specific requirements as to
location, size, type, etc. of replacement wetlands. The WCA allows wetland
losses from drain or fill activities to be replaced by wetlands previously
restored or created and deposited into the state wetland bank. The banked
wetlands can only be used if the result is a no-net-loss in the quantity,
quality, and biological diversity of Minnesota’s existing wetlands.
Wetland bank "accounts" must always maintain a positive balance.
Wetlands and Construction Sites
Investigation of Potential Wetland Restoration and Creation Sites
Information about WCA from the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources
Water/Wetland Project and Permit Application Forms
Wetland Consultants for Southern St. Louis County