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IV. Regulatory Simplification

Since the inception of the Wetland Conservation Act, regulatory simplification has been a topic of great debate.   Several agencies presently regulate a myriad of wetland-related activities in the state.  The multiple agency system has been confusing at times for the regulated public.   BWSR has worked in cooperation with other state and federal agencies to develop strategies for regulatory simplification; during 1997 and 1998, these efforts focused primarily on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE). The ACOE has responsibility for implementation of Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act, which regulates the filling of wetlands. In January 2000, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers introduced a new letter of permission (LOP) process to replace the nationwide permit process. The LOP uses many of the standards contained in WCA, meaning that a project permitted through WCA will generally also be permitted through the Army Corps of Engineers, thus greatly increasing predictability for landowners applying for a state/federal permit. Additionally, the landowner may apply to the Corps directly through their local government. This removes the duplicative application process that landowner/citizens often face now for the same project. For more information about Corps activities, see its website at: www.mvp.usace.army.mil.

State and federal agencies have simplified the state wetland banking program, as well. BWSR and the Corps have developed a process to provide both state and federal approval of wetland banking sites. An applicant using a site that satisfies both WCA replacement and Section 404 mitigation requirements would comply with both state and federal replacement requirements.


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