Minnesota Wetland Report
VI. Other Programs
in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve Program:
One of the components of the RIM Reserve Program pays landowners to
restore legally drained wetlands and adjacent uplands to their
native condition. In
conjunction with the restoration, the state acquires a perpetual
conservation easement on the land.
BWSR administers RIM Reserve at the state level while soil
and water conservation districts (SWCDs) implement the program at
the local level.
1997, the wetland component of the program enrolled 1,070 acres of
wetland. This number
jumped to 2,431 acres in 1998, primarily due to increased funding
from partnerships with federal programs (the Conservation Reserve
Enhancement Program and the Reinvest In Minnesota/Wetland Reserve
Program partnership) that created additional restoration
opportunities. CREP payments are financially more attractive and
have allowed enrollment of additional adjacent uplands. As a result,
enrollment acreage and wetland protection has increased without the
need for an accompanying leap in restoration efforts.
1997, 632 acres of enrolled wetland areas were restored, involving
48 basins of types 2, 3, 4, and 6 wetlands at an average
construction cost of $338 per acre. In 1998, 739 acres of enrolled
wetlands, involving 54 basins, were restored with an average
construction cost of $283 per acre.
majority of restorations are located in the prairie pothole region
of the state. Since the program began in 1986, it has restored about
25,140 acres of wetlands and adjacent uplands (including 1998
sign-up figures). Appendix H of this report provides
the programs yearly statistics for enrollment, demand and costs.*
Wetland Preserves (PWP) Program: This
program, established by the Wetland Conservation Act, protects
existing (not drained) wetlands through easement acquisition. Like
RIM Reserve, it is administered by BWSR and implemented by the soil
and water conservation districts at the local level.
Since the program began in 1992, it has acquired 269
easements, perpetually protecting 10,992 acres of at risk existing
type 1, 2, 3 and 6 wetlands and surrounding upland at a cost of $6.6
million (average cost = $600/acre).
PWP easements were taken in 1997 for a total of 534.5 acres of
wetland and surrounding upland. In 1998, 14 PWP easements were taken
for a total of 270 acres of wetland and surrounding upland.
Department of Transportation (MnDOT): MnDOT
is required to mitigate any wetland losses or impacts that occur in
conjunction with state highway projects.
The agency reported impacts to 59 acres with the replacement
of 85 wetland acres in 1997. In 1998, MnDOT replaced impacts to
67.06 acres with 104.72 acres. From 1992 to 1998, MnDOT has impacted
280.79 acres and replaced them with 449.28 acres.
estimates its wetland replacement costs at $2,500 to $203,000 per
acre for urban areas and from $600 to $106,000 per acre for outstate/rural
Department of Natural Resources (DNR): Through
the Public Waters Work Permit Program, the Department of Natural
Resources regulates alteration of the course, current, or
cross-section of type 3, 4, and 5 wetlands that are included on the
Public Waters Inventory completed in the early 1980s.
In general, public waters are all water basins and
watercourses that meet the criteria set forth in MN Statutes,
Section 103G.005, subdivision 15. Public waters wetlands include all
types 3, 4, and 5 wetlands (as defined in U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service Circular No. 39, 1971 edition) that are 10 acres or more in
size in unincorporated areas or 2½ acres or more in size in
incorporated areas. (See MN Statutes Section 103G.005, subd. 17b,
Public Waters Work Permit Program in 1997 issued 43 permits,
authorizing impacts to 19.045 acres (mostly for public
transportation projects) and requiring 34.38 acres of replacement.
In 1998, 27.504 acres were lost due to 18 permitted program
activities; of these, only one impacted more than two acres of
wetland. Restoration or creation of 40.417 acres of wetland
mitigated these losses. (An
additional restoration project of 81 acres had no connection to
development impacts. The North Fork Crow River Watershed District,
Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District and DNR
cooperated in restoration of the site, which had been drained due to
county ditch improvements.)
DNR is also required to replace wetland impacts resulting from its
capital improvement projects. In
1997, the agency reported that 1.36 acres of impacts were replaced
with 2.45 acres of restored or created wetlands. There were no
impacts in 1998.
1997, the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife restored approximately
654 acres of wetlands on lands it owns, and purchased lands
containing approximately 1,359 acres of existing wetlands. In 1998,
acquisition protected approximately 1,050 acres of wetlands, in
addition to 50 acres that were restored. Since 1986, an estimated
55,900 acres have been protected by DNR acquisitions.
Since 1994, DNR has restored about 151 wetlands, totaling
DNR Division of Minerals staff estimated that taconite mining
activities impacted and replaced approximately 1,024 acres of
wetland during the period from 1992 to 1999.
Part X, National Viewpoint, for a summary of a U.S. General
Accounting Office report on wetland enumeration at the federal
Paul District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Department of the
ACOE has responsibility for implementation of Section 404 of the
federal Clean Water Act, which regulates the filling of wetlands.
In 1997, the ACOE took action on 1,539 permit
inquiries, including 46 individual permits and 305 nationwide or
In 1998, the ACOE issued 1,486 permits, including 47 individual
permits and 1,439 nationwide or general permits.
estimated 386 acres of compensatory mitigation were required in
1998. Since 1988, about 5,330 acres of compensatory mitigation has
June 1998, a federal court decided that the Tulloch rule was
invalid. The Corps and the EPA had adopted this rule in 1993 in an
effort to close a loophole that allowed wetland draining by
ditching, which is not regulated by Section 404 of the Clean Water
Act. Sophisticated developers with special equipment had been able
to avoid incidental fallback from dredging; the Tulloch rule
over a year after invalidation of the Tulloch rule, the EPA
estimated that about 30,000 acres of wetland had been destroyed by
unauthorized ditching, much of it in Virginia and North Carolina.
While state authorities in North Carolina have since moved to halt
drainage by stepping up enforcement of state law, Virginia
authorities have not. Federal response by ACOE and EPA officials has
been to strengthen wetland protection at the state level and clarify
the difference between incidental fallback and redeposit (which does
fall under regulation), as well as to initiate enforcement action
against activities that do still lie under agencies statutory
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Department of the Interior: USFWS
administers several programs aimed at restoring wetlands on private
and public lands. USFWS places high priority on projects that will
benefit migratory waterfowl and strives to restore sites to a
condition as close as possible to their former status (e.g.,
restoring a partially drained wetland to its pre-drainage
1997, USFWS estimates that it has temporarily and permanently
restored or partially restored 47,147 wetland acres in Minnesota
figures listed here include permanent, temporary and partial
restorations completed on acres enrolled in the U.S. Department of
Agricultures Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), on private land
and on federal land holdings in Minnesota (see table).
the agency reports that in 1997 it acquired 32 sites containing
1,276 acres of wetlands and obtained 26 easements on an additional
749 acres of wetland. In
1998, it acquired 17 wetland sites (473 acres) and obtained 33
easements on an additional 807 acres of wetland.
private and nonprofit conservation organizations are involved in
wetland preservation and restoration projects, often by providing
partnership funds on cooperative projects with state and federal
from Ducks Unlimited (DU) indicates that as of March 1999, it had
completed 372 projects involving 61,220 acres of wetlands and 17,283
acres of upland in the state. Total
expenditures by DU in Minnesota for these projects is $11.4 million.
Projects include wetland restoration, enhancement, creation
and acquisition. The majority was done in cooperation with state and
federal agencies and thus the acres reported already may be included
by those agencies previously listed.
Many other local sporting groups and private landowners restore or preserve wetlands for their own benefit and use. Some of this is reflected in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data for CRP and Private Lands programs as reported above.
Minnesota Board of Water and Soil