Has BWSR inspected your wetland bank site for easement compliance yet? If so, how did your project fare? Minnesota law requires BWSR to inspect wetlands deposited into the state wetland bank to ensure they conform to the approved bank plan and to determine if easement requirements are being met. If you haven’t been inspected lately there are some relatively simple steps you can take to make sure that your inspection is worry free.
Based on monitoring inspections to date there are a few actions that you, as an account holder, can take to help the monitoring process go smoothly. The most common compliance issues are:
- Lack of boundary posting and signs;
- Poorly vegetated community (large open areas or lack of a native plant community);
- Presence of noxious weeds (e.g. Canada thistle, leafy spurge, purple loosestrife);
- Presence of debris on the bank site (e.g. lawn waste, rock piles, junk piles, etc.);
- Haying or mowing within the easement area (both are prohibited);
- Maintained trails within the easement area (vehicle use is prohibited);
- Encroachment by cropping; and
- Woody plants becoming established on dams, dikes, and berms (woody plants can damage or weaken these structures and prevent necessary maintenance in the future).
By simply making sure the bank boundary is adequately posted with signs and noxious weeds are controlled you will significantly improve your odds of a good inspection. Contact your County’s weed inspector for guidance on identifying and controlling noxious weeds and contact your BWSR Wetland Specialist if you need wetland bank signs (available at no charge). Once the easement boundary is properly posted you can make sure there are no encroachments into the bank area and make sure no vehicles (including ATVs) are operating on the easement area, unless allowed by the approved bank plan and recorded easement. By taking these basic steps you can dramatically increase the likelihood of your bank site being compliant on your next inspection.