Last May Governor Dayton issued an executive order instructing the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to evaluate Minnesota’s wetland laws.
Any changes stemming from this evaluation have the potential to affect your wetland bank and how you do business, for better or for worse. There are some concerns, as you will read below and in our next two upcoming posts. As this is the last month BWSR will be accepting input, we thought we’d highlight what we believe are some of the more important “Discussion Issues” for your review and input here, especially since wetland bankers weren’t included as a stakeholder group.
Issue #5 on the BWSR Stakeholder Discussion Issues:
“Costs and Benefits of Wetland Mitigation Targeted to Specific Watershed.”
Background: Generally speaking, buyers of wetland credits are required to purchase credits for wetland impact mitigation from banks in their watershed or Band Service Area (BSA). Under consideration is whether this model should continue.
On the Table: A discussion item within Issue #5 is the possibility of allowing buyers to more easily leave their BSA’s to purchase credits, or to potentially reduce the higher replacement ratios required when they do. We are against this as many bankers established banks in strategic BSA’s, counties and watersheds based on what they considered a potential market need in that area. This possible rule change could mean that rather than competing with banks only in your BSA, you are now competing with banks across the state.
Another area of concern here is language on the document suggesting BWSR may consider subsidizing some credits and not others, or regulate account holder’s pricing by establishing “a flat fee for credits in the wetland banking program”. The Wetland Credit Agency would be adamantly opposed to any government regulation on how you price your credits, for obvious reasons. What you charge for your credits is your business. Additionally, subsidizing credits could be of major concern resulting in an unfair market advantage based upon what credits the government deems having higher public value.
Now is the time to speak up to help ensure wetland banking remains a healthy and viable business in Minnesota. Because wetland bankers in Minnesota lack a single cohesive voice we urge you to contact BWSR directly, or give us your input by leaving a reply below. If we get enough feedback from you, we will draft a letter to BWSR summarizing your comments.
To review the Governor’s order and BWSR’s discussion issues click on this link:
To contact BWSR you can call or e-mail David Weirens:
David Weirens, Land and Water Section Manager
Comments are open below. We’d love to hear from account holders and consultants for their perspectives.