Wetlands in Minnesota
Proposing a project that may impact a wetland? Installing or replacing tile, cleaning a ditch, filling a low spot, or excavating for a wildlife pond? You may be unintentionally impacting a wetland. Many wetlands do not contain standing water or are only saturated for part of the year, and can be difficult for landowners to identify.
There are many regulations that address the draining and filling of wetlands. It is important for agricultural producers to be aware of these regulations in order to minimize their risk. In some instances, the regulations may conflict with each other. This means if you meet the requirement of one agency's regulations, you may be in violation of another agency's regulations.
CLICK HERE FOR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT WETLANDS
Since there are many regulations that cover wetlands, there are two major regulations that the producer should be aware of:
1. The Food Security Act of 1985, as Amended, denies USDA farm program benefits to participants who drain wetlands or plant commodity crops on wetlands converted since December 23, 1985. For additional information on USDA wetland conservation compliance check out the following link: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/national/water/wetlands/?&cid=stelprdb1043554.
The following link is a good document regarding lateral effect. Lateral effect is the drainage capability that ditches and tile has on wetlands. For more information click here.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recommends completing form "AD1026" at the local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). Once the form is completed and submitted to FSA, you should visit with NRCS prior to beginning any projects that may impact wetlands.
Phone: 320-251-7800, Extension 3
CAUTION: NRCS mapping of wetlands has no connection to what WCA considers wetland. It is not unusual for WCA to identify jurisdictional wetlands in areas not considered wetland by NRCS.
To avoid the wetland regulation pitfall you should 1) complete and submit your "AD1026" form to the Farm Service Agency office and 2) bring a copy to the Stearns County Environmental Services Department (ESD) and explain what you plan to do. To contact Stearns County ESD toll free call 1-800-450-0852.
Remember to plan ahead because if there are any potential wetland impacts, Stearns County Environmental Services will inform you which agency or agencies you will need to contact for approval. The process could take up to 60 days to complete.
Any questions regarding WCA please contact:
Stearns County Environmental Services
Wetlands benefit more than just the ducks.
- Wetlands reduce flooding by slowing excess water runoff during times of heavy rainfall or snowmelt.
- Wetlands improve water quality by filtering sediment and nutrients out of runoff water before it soaks into the groundwater table or drains into our lakes and rivers.
- Wetlands provide critical habitat for many animal and plant species, some of which can only survive in wetlands.
- Wetlands provide opportunities for outdoor recreation such as canoeing, hunting, trapping, hiking, fishing, and birding.
- Wetlands offer commercial uses like growing wild rice or cranberries.
- Wetlands make for important outdoor science and art classrooms and laboratories.
Check out the YouTube video called the Echoes of Cry of the Marsh. It gives a history on what has happened with wetlands in Minnesota.