Wetland restoration as part of a wetland mitigation bank helps state meet wetland credit deficit for transportation projects
The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) manages wetland mitigation for road authority projects. However, in 2008, they were running a mitigation deficit of around 300 acres. To reduce that deficit, the state requested bids on a per-acre cost from private property owners. The goal? To develop and provide state wetland banks to support road projects.
Our team completed countywide searches for potential wetland banks using the National Wetland Inventory, aerial photographs, and other datasets to create an overlaid map exhibit. This identified the top 60 potential sites, and after a mass mailing, we had 20 property owners showing interest.
The Forsman Wetland Bank was one of four sites chosen by BWSR for funding. The project involved wet meadow, shallow marsh, and deep marsh restoration—repairing water bypass impacts that were initially created to allow farming. The project diverted flows back to the historic wetland areas, including a unique approach to restore a sloping wetland system with a slow-release sheet flow system, dissipating the energy and allowing flows across a broad area. On top of the wetland restoration, we also converted farmed upland area to prairie land for an upland buffer credit.
Our job was wetland delineation, hydrologic analysis, design development, construction plans and specifications, wetland bank application, and a vegetation improvement plan. Now? We’re completing ongoing seeding, vegetative maintenance, and monitoring. With this—and other banks—Minnesota’s road authorities can move forward with their transportation infrastructure projects.
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