Saint Paul, Oct 5, 2020 –The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Program announced it is awarding $400,000 in Minnesota through the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program. This program helps conservation partners develop or establish mitigation banks to help agricultural producers maintain eligibility for USDA programs. “Healthy wetlands help filter our water, sequester carbon, curb soil loss, and provide habitat for wildlife,” said Minnesota State Conservationist Troy Daniell.
The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is the recipient of the award. BWSR plans to expand operations at its existing Agricultural Wetland Bank. BWSR’s banking program is supported by state law and BWSR funding matches NRCS funding in this conservation partnership. An informative website guides producers through the credit transaction process. BWSR plans to add 250 to 375 acres of bank sites to its existing umbrella wetland bank. Wetland mitigation banks create credits through the restoration, creation, or enhancement of wetlands to compensate for impacts on wetlands at other locations.
Farmers and ranchers seeking benefits through most USDA programs must comply with wetland conservation provisions by affirming they will not impact wetlands on their lands. In situations where avoidance or on-site mitigation is challenging, the Farm Bill allows producers to mitigate their conversion activities off-site through the purchase of mitigation banking credits.
This competitive grant program helps states, local governments, and other qualified partners develop wetland mitigation banks to assist agricultural producers with meeting the wetland conservation compliance requirements and remain eligible for USDA programs.
Nationally, USDA NRCS awarded $5 million for eight wetland mitigation banking projects across the country.