Note: Most states have enacted laws and regulations to protect wetlands. In many cases, these rules are established to define the state's role in the "§404 permit/§401 certification process." This process involves the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and your state environmental agency. To learn more about the wetlands permitting process go to the CICA Wetlands Regulations/Permit page.
How Are Wetlands Activities Regulated by Michigan? In 1984, Michigan received authorization from the federal government (one of only two states to do so) to administer Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act in most areas of the state. A state administered 404 program must be consistent with the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act and associated regulations set forth in the Section 404(b)(1) guidelines. Whereas in other states, where an applicant must apply to the U.S. Corps of Engineers and a state agency for wetland permits, applicants in Michigan generally submit only one wetland permit application to the DEQ. State and federal authorities overlap in coastal and certain other waters according to Section 10 of the federal Rivers and Harbors Act. Activities in these waters require a joint permit application which minimizes time and effort for applicants. In accordance with the Clean Water Act, Section 404(g), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers retains federal jurisdiction over traditionally navigable waters including the Great Lakes, connecting channels, other waters connected to the Great Lakes where navigational conditions are maintained, and wetlands directly adjacent to these waters.
Mitigation Measures. Mitigation is considered only for unavoidable adverse impacts of a proposed activity. Mitigation occurs on-site when practical. Mitigation banks may also be used when they meet the regulatory requirements set by the DEQ. For mitigation banking, see: http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3313_3687-10426--,00.html.
Wetlands. Wetlands are identified by the "presence of water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal conditions does support, wetland vegetation and aquatic life, and is commonly referred to as a bog, swamp, or marsh."
Regulated Wetland Activities. A permit is required for the deposit or placement of fill material in a wetland; the dredge or removal of soil from a wetland; the construction, operation, use, or development in a wetland; and the drainage of surface water from a wetland. General permits are issued when the department determines that the activities are similar in nature, cause only minimal adverse impact when performed separately, and have a minimal cumulative impact on the environment.
Exempt Wetland Activities. Permits are not needed for fishing, trapping, hunting, swimming, boating, hiking, the grazing of animals, several agricultural activities, certain serviceable structures, maintenance of certain agricultural drains, construction of farm or forest roads, drainage necessary for the harvesting of agricultural products, maintenance of serviceable dikes and levees, and construction of copper and iron tailing basins. Other exemptions are granted to incidental wetlands and land drained for farming.
Water Environment Federation. The WEF Web site provides access to a wetlands related technical discussion area, as well as publications and other information on wetlands.
Wetlands Regulation Center. The Wetlands Regulation Center Web site contains information on laws, policies and regulations concerning activities regulated under Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act.
Association of State Wetland Managers. The Association of State Wetland Managers Web site provides information on wetlands news and events, including new regulations/legislation, upcoming conferences and events, publications, and more.
Society of Wetland Scientists. The Society of Wetland Scientists Web site provides access to on-line scientific wetlands journals and a wetlands discussion forum, as well as information on upcoming wetlands conferences and events.
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