Funding available to restore wetlands

Published 6:35 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) is now accepting applications for conservation easements that will allow for wetland restoration projects for the agency’s Local Government Road Wetland Replacement Program.

Landowners across the state who have restorable wetlands on their property can apply to enroll land into permanent conservation easements for the program. Landowners receive a per-acre payment rate and retain private ownership of enrolled land. The payment rate for program projects is approximately 25-50% higher than the typical rate offered by other state easement programs, making it an appealing option for landowners looking to enroll marginal agricultural land.

State and federal laws require replacement of wetlands that are filled or drained. Through the program, restored wetlands can produce credits that are deposited into a statewide wetland bank. Local road authorities can use those credits to acquire state and federal wetland permits to proceed with safety related road projects. These program details are handled by BWSR, who provides payment directly to the landowners for the right to restore the wetlands.

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“This program restores high-value wetlands throughout Minnesota and streamlines the process of completing necessary local road projects,” BWSR Executive Director John Jaschke said. “Landowners benefit, local road authorities benefit, and our water resources benefit.”

Landowners can work with their local soil and water conservation district staff to prepare applications. The application period opened closes April 17. Approximately $10 million is available for enrollments during this application period.