In Minnesota, it is estimated that 11 million acres of wetland areas have been lost in the last 100 years. There are approximately 9 million acres remaining. The Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) was passed in 1991. The ultimate goal of the Act is no more net loss of wetlands. In order to attain this goal, draining, filling, and excavation is prohibited unless:
- The drain, fill or excavation activity is exempt.
- Wetlands are replaced by restoring or creating wetland areas of at least equal public value.
Benefits of Wetlands
- Provides flood control by storing excess water during rain events and Spring melting.
- Increases water quality by filtering sediments and nutrients before they enter lakes, rivers and streams.
- Provides habitat for fish, birds, amphibians and other wildlife.
- Provides erosion control by slowing the flow of water between upland areas and waterways.
- Provided groundwater recharge by detaining water and allowing it to percolate to the water table.
- Provides habitat for rare, endangered and threatened plants and animals.
How to Determine if Area is a Wetland
Three conditions must be present to define areas as a wetland:
Hydric Soil--Soils that show characteristics of development under wet conditions.
Hydrology--Water present within top 12" of the surface for 5% of growing season under normal rainfall years.
Hydrophytic Vegetation--Vegetation that is adapted to living in wet conditions. Examples: Pitcher plants, lady slippers, jack-in-the pulpit, sedges, tamarack and black spruce.
Information & Application
Agencies with Jurisdiction in Minnesota
Water Resource Combined Project Application Form
2014 Annual Report