Dane County Embarks on Creating One of Wisconsin’s First Agricultural Wetland Mitigation Banks
June 21, 2023
Ariana Vruwink, 608-267-8823
The Dane County Land and Water Resources Department has been working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on developing Wisconsin’s first Agricultural Wetland Mitigation Bank, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.
Approximately 31 acres of land located in the Cherokee Marsh Wildlife Area, south of Hwy 19 and east of River Road in the Town of Westport, will be restored to wetlands and surrounding prairie. These wetlands will be part of USDA-NRCS’s Wetland Mitigation Banking Program to help agricultural producers maintain compliance with USDA programs. The DNR, who received a grant from the NRCS to create and implement the Wisconsin Agricultural Mitigation Bank, is currently seeking qualified consultants to help in the design, construction, and maintenance of this project. Construction of the project is planned for the fall of 2023.
“Wetlands play a vital role in our community’s effort to combat the impacts of climate change. Heavy, unpredictable rainstorms can lead to flooding and cause runoff into nearby lakes and streams. Preserving and restoring wetlands helps keep the water where it lands, reduces the impacts of runoff, and mitigates flooding,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “We’re also excited to partner with the DNR and NRCS on this project to help preserve the environment and give farmers another tool in their toolbox to keep their operations successful into the future.”
Wetland mitigation banking is when wetlands are restored, created, preserved or enhanced in one location to offset the unavoidable impacts to wetlands someplace else within a similar geographic area. Producers can buy credits from wetland mitigation banks to compensate for the impacts of lost wetlands on properties they own and manage. This allows them to maintain conservation compliance and eligibility for USDA programs.
Wetlands are highly productive and important ecosystems that provide many benefits, including reduced stormwater runoff, flood protection, pollutant removal, and aquatic and wildlife habitat. Whenever possible, Dane County strives to restore and protect these critical resources. This project will provide the benefit of both restoring wetland ecosystems while supporting our agricultural community.
To learn more please visit our project website at https://lwrd.countyofdane.com/CurrentProjects/Detail/Agricultural-Wetland-Mitigation-Bank
About Dane County Land & Water Resources Department
The Dane County Land & Water Resources Department works to protect and enhance Dane County’s natural, cultural, and historic resources. It provides the county’s residents with a broad array of accessible, high quality resource-based recreational services and facilities, and supports residents, communities, local governments and other agencies and organizations in their resource management and protection activities.