Wetland Mitigation

Bridget Carnahan, Senior Wetland Scientist, 605.773.3568

What is Wetland Mitigation?

The Department requires avoidance of all wetland impacts or, where avoidance is not practicable, minimization to the greatest extent practicable. Special emphasis is placed on avoiding impacts to high-quality wetlands including those wetlands with known or potential endangered species support functions.

When the objectives of a transportation project cannot be met without adverse impacts to wetlands, wetland mitigation involves the preparation of a wetland mitigation plan detailing how lost wetland functions will be compensated. Subsequently, wetland mitigation plans are submitted to one or more of the regulatory agencies highlighted below for their review and approval prior to a permit being issued.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Pierre, S.D.
S.D. Game, Fish & Parks
S.D. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Even when the impacts are so small as to fall below regulatory thresholds, the Department follows a "no net-loss" directive requiring compensatory mitigation for any wetland loss.

What is Wetland Mitigation Banking?

Mitigation banking is a major focus of SDDOT's wetland mitigation program. Mitigation banking can be thought of as a type of "savings account" for mitigation.

The bank owner or "sponsor"
  • creates
  • restores
  • enhances and
  • preserves functioning wetlands
    prior to environmental impacts.
These acres are then converted to "bank credits" that can be used later as compensation for unavoidable wetland impacts within the bank's specified service area. Because wetland banking generates ecological functions in advance of wetland impacts, its mitigation value increases as the site matures prior to its use as mitigation.

Bank credits can be roughly defined as the net increase in wetland area and/or ecological function provided by a bank site.

The SDDOT Environmental Office maintains a listing of wetland mitigation banking activities. This system reflects project agreements reached with regulatory agencies concerning wetland impacts and restoration.

Do I have areas on my property that are wet and cannot be farmed? Do they qualify as a wetland and can SDDOT utilize these wetlands?

For more information about the SDDOT Wetland Mitigation Banking Program, review our Wetland Mitigation Flyer or contact the Environmental office at 605.773.3568 or 605.773.2426 with questions.

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