Wetland Conservation Act (WCA)
The MN Board of Water & Soil Resources set administrative rules, provide training to LGUs, participate on technical evaluation panels, hear appeals from local government determinations, and assures proper implementation by LGUs.
What is Wetland Conservation Act (WCA)?
In 1991, the Minnesota Legislature responded to concerns over the state’s wetland management processes by passing the Wetland Conservation Act (WCA). Considered to be one of the most comprehensive wetland laws in the country, the Wetland Conservation Act ensures that we maintain and protect Minnesota’s wetlands and the benefits they provide.
Kandiyohi County is mandated to administer this state law at the county level. The law regulates, often prohibiting, the draining, filling or excavation of wetlands, these rules are in addition regulations of other agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers, Farm Service Agency, etc.
Wetland applications made to Kandiyohi County under the Minnesota WCA are reviewed by a technical evaluation panel or TEP. The TEP is a statutorily designated committee of wetland professionals from various state and local agencies. The individual members comment on proposed wetland projects resulting in a recommendation to Kandiyohi County.
How Does WCA Work?
The Wetland Conservation Act requires anyone proposing to drain, fill, or excavate a wetland to first, try to avoid disturbing the wetland; second, to try to minimize any impact on the wetland; and finally, to replace any lost wetland acres, functions, and values. Certain wetland activities are exempt from the act, allowing projects with minimal impact or projects located on land where certain pre-established land uses are present to proceed without regulation.
Do I Need a Permit?
Most projects will require a permit when working in or near wetlands. Contact Kandiyohi County prior to beginning your project.
What is a Cease-and-Desist Order?
If you decide to move ahead with your project without the proper permits, a DNR Wetland Enforcement Officer (WEO), Conservation Officer (CO) may issue a “cease and desist order” which is an order to stop work activity on the project in question until a determination can be made on whether a violation has occurred.
If it’s determined that a violation has occurred, a restoration order will be issued, and you will be required to restore the wetland back to the pre-altered condition.
Violating a cease-and-desist order is a misdemeanor and could result in criminal prosecution. It is the responsibility of both the landowner and the contractor hired by the landowner to be sure that the work being done is allowed under the WCA and that all necessary permits have been obtained.