Wetland Mitigation

Ryan Huber, Environmental Project Scientist, 605.773.3568

Wetland Mitigation Bank Prospectus

Proposed Wetland Mitigation Site - Lonnie Anderson Site

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 endanger 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 regulatory agencies, typically the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, USFWS Pierre Ecological Field Services Office, SD Game, Fish & Parks, and SD Department of Environment and Natural Resources, for their review and permit approval. 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.

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 (also referred to as the 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, the currency of mitigation banking, 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. Please contact the Environmental Office with questions concerning this accounting system.

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