Especially due to the drought, farmers are encouraged to check with state wetland officials at the Department of Natural Resources first before expanding cropland into areas that have not been cropped in the past or have not been cropped for many years.
Such steps can help farmers avoid accidentally encroaching on protected wetlands and avoid trouble and restoration costs down the road, state wetland officials say.
"With the high price of corn and other agricultural commodities, many farmers are thinking about expanding their cropland," says Cami Peterson, wetland policy coordinator for the DNR. "Because the drought makes it even more difficult to recognize some wetlands, we encourage farmers to call us first to make sure they are not accidentally encroaching into wetlands protected by state and federal law. Making that call can help save folks trouble and cost down the line."
Wetlands are often found in wooded areas, pastures and hayfields but may appear drier in the fall, particularly in this year's extreme drought. Maps showing the likely presence of wetlands and a DNR video showing clues that a wetland may be present are available on DNR's Locating Wetlands web pages.
A list of DNR wetland specialists and how to contact them is available here.
Activities such as filling, ditching, subsurface tiling, land leveling, clearing woody vegetation or diverting run-off water from a wetland may be regulated under state and federal wetland regulations. Conducting these activities improperly or without necessary permits may result in the property owner paying to restore wetlands, a potentially costly endeavor.Source: DNR