USDA invests $4.6M in wetland mitigation banks

Jan. 20, 2023
A wave of grant funding through the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program prioritized projects with significant wetland acreage and large numbers of agricultural producers with wetland determination requests.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded over $4.6 million in grant funding for the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program (WMBP), a grant program that supports the development of mitigation banks for the restoration, creation, or enhancement of wetlands to compensate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands at another location.

This year’s awards prioritized projects in states with significant wetland acreage as well as large numbers of producers with wetland determination requests.

“The Wetland Mitigation Banking Program supports critical wetland restoration and protection while also expanding options for [agricultural] producers,” says Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Terry Cosby. “Wetlands provide valuable ecosystem functions, such as sequestering carbon, providing habitat, and recharging groundwater. These projects allow us to collaborate with states, local governments, and other qualified partners to restore, create, and enhance wetland ecosystems.”

Awarded projects include:

  • $1 million for Wetland Mitigation LLC in Michigan.
  • $696,000 for Magnolia Land Partners LLC in Indiana.
  • $499,000 for Corblu Ecology Group LLC in Georgia.
  • $812,000 for Wisconsin Dept of Natural Resources in Wisconsin.
  • $998,000 for South Dakota Farm Bureau in South Dakota.
  • $684,000 for Iowa Agricultural Mitigation Inc. in Iowa. 

The WMBP helps agricultural producers comply with wetland conservation provisions and conserve ecologically important wetlands by allowing for off-site mitigation through the purchase of credits from wetland banks established and run by local partners.

NRCS awarded the first WMBP grants in 2016 and, to date, 31 wetland bank sites have been established through the program, totaling over 1,500 acres. Several more sites have been secured and are in various stages of the restoration process. States with awarded projects include Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Awardees can use their WMBP funding to support mitigation bank site identification, development of a mitigation banking instrument, site restoration, land surveys, permitting and title searches and market research. However, WMBP funding cannot be used to purchase land or a conservation easement.