September 1, 2016
South Dakota and North Dakota are getting money to create wetland mitigation banks. The banks will make it easier to mitigate wetlands. You’ll be able to buy credits from the banks if you want to mitigate a wetland on your farm but don’t have a place on your farm to build a new one. You’ll also be able to restore wetlands on your farm and get paid for them through the mitigation bank.
Last week, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Jason Weller announced that USDA is investing more than $7 million to fund agricultural wetland mitigation banks in 10 Midwest and Northern Great Plains states.
In South Dakota, the South Dakota Farm Bureau, South Dakota Corn Growers Association, South Dakota Soybean Association, USDA-NRCS and Dakota Wetland Partners have been collaborating for several years to develop the South Dakota Wetland Exchange. They were waiting for this funding to be announced to launch the exchange.
In North Dakota, the wetland exchange isn’t as far along. Dakota Wetland Exchange plans to meet with the North Dakota Farm Bureau and other farm organizations to set up something like what has been created in South Dakota.
"Historically there have been very few wetland mitigation banks or credits available to specifically address the needs of agriculture," said Scott VanderWal, SDFB president, in a statement announcing the funding. "It was important to the collaborating organizations to make sure South Dakota farmers and ranchers had options to maintain compliance with the law and keep their operations profitable."
The land in the South Dakota wetland mitigation banks will be protected by easements held by SDFB. The long-term management of the mitigated wetlands will be provided by the Beadle County Conservation District and other conservation district partners. Dakota Wetland Partners will be the managers of the South Dakota Wetland Exchange.
"Wetland mitigation banking is an opportunity for producers to utilize their land for its highest value and, at the same time, create high-quality wetlands,” said Brian Top, Dakota Wetland Partners LLC.
South Dakota farm group leaders have expressed strong support for the wetland exchange.
“We are excited about the possibilities wetland mitigation banking offers South Dakota producers to become more efficient while remaining committed to sustainable farming practices and environmental stewardship," said Jerry Schmitz, SDSA president, in a statement released by the organization.
To learn more about wetland mitigation banking and the South Dakota Wetland Exchange, contact Dakota Wetland Partners at [email protected] or 605-809-7251.
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