Michigan Wetland Mitigation Credits

Wetland Mitigation FAQ

Wetland mitigation refers to the permanent creation and maintenance of a new wetland to replace the wetland impacted by a road infrastructure improvement project.

Most wetland disturbances caused by road projects must be replaced, or mitigated, with a wetland to maintain ecological balance, according to Michigan’s Natural Resources & Environmental Protection Act of 1994. Before starting a road project, local road agencies must identify the wetland impacted by the project and commit to a method of replacing the impacted wetland area with a similar quality resource.

The Michigan Wetland Banking Advisory Board (MiWB) program was created to distribute funds from the Wetland Mitigation Fund to local transportation agencies in Michigan. The program funds and assists in the creation of wetland bank sites, wetland pre-mitigation sites or wetland preservation sites.

The Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality and Transportation, the County Road Association (CRA) of Michigan and the Michigan Municipal League formed the Joint Agency Transportation Committee, which recognized that local agencies had no program to assist them with the costly wetland mitigation process. Some larger county road agencies can fund their own wetlands, but most local agencies had to delay projects to fund the mitigation or avoid mitigation costs altogether.

In 2016, Sen. Mike Green worked with CRA to secure legislation and a budget to create the MiWB program. The program is funded at $2 million per year off the top of the Michigan Transportation Fund to create and maintain wetland projects.

Buying wetland from a commercial wetland bank can be costly for road agencies – up to $100,000 per acre – which can take money away from the actual road project. The MiWB program provides a means for local road agencies to collaborate on a statewide basis to create wetland banks and pre-mitigation areas which allow road agencies to move forward with road projects while complying with environmental regulations.

  • Faster delivery of road projects. Identifying and purchasing wetland mitigation credits takes time. The MiWB program speeds up the process.
  • Less costly road projects. MiWB wetland credits typically have no cost to county road agencies due to the annual MTF appropriation to MiWB. The MiWB program develops large wetland areas which provide an economy of scale to benefit all local road agencies.
  • Green space maintained, improved. Some MiWB-purchased sites will be appropriate for public use.

Yes. The location and the wetland type are important qualities, and if the road project impacts one-third acre or more, the road agency must preserve or create a wetland in its watershed. If the project affects less than one-third acre, the agency can tap a mitigation site anywhere in Michigan.

Most road agencies do not have the expertise to maintain wetland mitigation sites. Road agencies are encouraged by MiWB to partner with a local land conservancy group willing to take on the wetland preservation and stewardship role.

MiWB has a seven-member board comprised of local agency representatives (county and municipal road agencies) and state resource representatives. The board is charged with oversight of the wetland fund, establishing bylaws and procedures, retaining a manager to process project applications, providing reporting and educating road agencies.

With the interests of county road agencies in mind, CRA has supported the creation of a wetland site mitigation program. It has been a key legislative priority.

CRA provides administrative support for the MiWB board, assisting with financial operations and public relations needs and facilitating program compliance.

The Kalkaska County Upper Manistee wetland mitigation site contains 40 acres of wetland mitigation bank credits. These credits will meet the needs for Michigan road projects in northwest Michigan for many years.

As of August 2021, just under four acres of wetland mitigation credits from the Perry site have been used on 36 road projects, and just over an acre of wetland mitigation credits from a site in Keweenaw County Michigan have been used on 19 road projects.

New sites are being developed all the time and MiWB is using other innovative techniques to acquire mitigation credits available to road agencies outside of site development.

In a partnership with the Michigan Municipal Wetland Alliance and Michigan Department of Natural Resources, MiWB has purchased 12 acres in Gratiot County, 10 acres from the Allegan State Game Area and is purchasing 12 acres from the Ionia Game Area. These sites are state owned land where wetland restoration has been done on old farms.

MiWB is also trading 11 acres from the Perry site to MDOT for 11 acres of credits in 7 different bank sites.

MiWB Advisory Members from CRA’s Districts

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