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 Minnesota? The Protected Waters and Wetlands Permit Act establishes Minnesota's policy for wetland regulation. The act authorizes the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, working in conjunction with the Board of Water and Soil Resources and the Commissioner of Agriculture, to adopt rules establishing a permit program to regulate the drainage and discharge of dredge and fill material into state waters. The Department of Natural Resources evaluates a project's impact on water quality under §401 of the Clean Water Act.
Mitigation Measures. Applicants can mitigate the adverse impact of their activities through the state's wetland value replacement program. The local government body with jurisdiction over the project must approve the applicant's replacement plan.
Wetlands. Wetlands are defined as "lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water." Wetlands are predominated by hydric soil, are frequently inundated or saturated by enough surface or ground water to sustain hydrophytic vegetation, and normally support hydrophytic vegetation.
Wetland Categories. Wetlands are divided into eight types, distinguished by different vegetation and water levels. Certain agricultural activities are exempt from the Act's regulations.162 Minnesota also distinguishes public water wetlands from regular wetlands. Public water wetlands are all type 3, 4, and 5 wetlands defined in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services' Circular No. 39.
Regulated Wetland Activities. The drainage of public waters wetlands is prohibited unless a permit authorizing the drainage is issued and the lands destroyed will be replaced by wetlands with an equal or greater public value.
Exempt Wetland Activities. Agricultural activities are exempt from the act's permit requirement. Many such activities are excluded because they are conducted pursuant to a federal act or program that permits residents to utilize land. Similar exemptions are given to persons that obtain federal approval for their activities. When statutory conditions are met, Minnesota will exempt activities performed for wetland restoration, incidental wetlands, drainage, utilities, forestry, approved developments, and wildlife habitats.
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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