A Brief History of the Wetland Conservation Act

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					     A Brief History of the
    Wetland Conservation Act

• 1990 – Wetland
  Heritage Act
• 1991 – No Net Loss
  Executive Order
• 1991 – Wetland
  Conservation Act
Laws of Minn. 1991, Chapter 354
• Policy
The Legislature finds that . . . it is
in the public interest to:
Achieve no net loss in the quantity,
quality and biological diversity of
Minnesota’s existing wetlands”
(Minn.Statutes. 103A.201)”
Laws of Minn. 1991, Chapter 354
• Policy
• Permanent Wetland Preserves
• Wetland Preservation Areas
• Peatland protection
• Section 404 assumption
• Regulation of wetland
  activities
• Interim program
    – Jan. 1, 1992 – June 30, 1993
       Original WCA Provisions
• No draining, filling or burning during
  Interim Program unless replaced
• 24 Exemptions (plus 3 additional during
  Interim Program)
    – No “Deminimis” exemption
•   2:1 replacement statewide except ag. land
•   1989 Federal Delineation Manual
•   No appeals during Interim Program
•   BWSR to adopt permanent rules by July
    1993 – Wetland Heritage Advisory Comm.
1993 Legislative Revisions (Chap. 175)
  • Replacement ratio in >80% areas changed
    to 1:1
  • Deminimis exemption established – 400 ft2
  • WHAC to report on issues of concern by
    Jan. 15, 1994
  • Changes incorporated into WCA Rules by
    order of ALJ
                   1995
• Legislation introduced – fails to pass
• 8 counties rescind adoption of the program
1996 Legislative Revisions (Chap. 462)
 • Transportation
   – Limits on replacement location
   – BWSR req’d. to replace impacts from work on
     existing roads
 • Exemptions
   –   Reorganized (25 to 10)
   –   Ag. and drainage exemptions expanded
   –   Deminimis expanded up to 10,000 ft2 (deductible)
   –   Wildlife habitat
1996 Legislative Revisions (cont’d)
 • Compliance with Chapter 15.99
 • Appeal procedures – petition process
 • New replacement credit options
 • 1987 Federal Manual
 • Wetland banking study
   required
 • Emergency rulemaking
   authority
                    1998
• Legislative revisions (Chap. 312)
  – Comment period for replacement plans revised
  – Wetland consolidation report required
• Emergency rules converted to permanent
  rules without change
2000 Legislative Revisions (Chap. 382)
  • Revisions to PWI authorized
  • Waiver authority
  • Excavation in Types 3,4,5 wetlands regulated
  • Consistent replacement standards for PWWs
    and WCA wetlands
  • Deminimis exemption no longer deductible
  • Delineations exempted from soil science license
    requirements; plan for certification program
  • Exempt rulemaking authority
2001 Legislative Revisions (Chap. 146)
  • Appeal period extended
  • Details on wetland replacement methods
    removed from statute
  • Replacement credit for “Exceptional
    Natural Resource Values”
  • Restoration orders can be recorded on deeds
                    2002
• Legislative amendment (Chap. 220)
  – Annual wetlands report no longer required
• Permanent rules adopted
2003 Legislative Revisions (Chap. 128)
  • SWCDs can serve as LGUs without
    delegation
  • Replacement area for metro transportation
    projects expanded
  • Banking fees instituted
2004 Legislative Revisions (Chap. 228)
• Revisor directed to amend rules per 2003
  statute amendments
• DNR required to publish list of calcareous
  fens
          WCA Court Cases
• McLeod Co. vs. MnDNR
  – CDO on ditch cleaning project was not a
    “regulatory taking”
• Drum vs. BWSR
  – Affirmed WCA regulation of all non-PWI
    wetlands
• Kells (BWSR) vs. City of Rochester
  – BWSR employees may appeal
  – Applications must describe a specific project
             WCA Court Cases
• Hentges vs. BWSR
   – WCA rule on Fed. Approval exemption did not exceed
     statutory authority
   – Eligible 3rd parties may participate in appeals
• Breza vs. City of Minnetrista
   – “Approval” of exemption due to Chap. 15.99 only
     allows fill to extent allowed by statute
• State of Minn. vs. Ruther
   – Jail sentence
   – $6,000 fine
   – $123,310 restitution