BWSR has been granted $5.1 million for the purchase of road bank credits and easements as of the latest 2012 Legislative session. Targeted credit areas include Bank Service Areas 4, 7, 9, and 10, and includes the MSP metropolitan area. Projects not in the target area will not be considered.
Before you get too excited about the prospects of selling off a sizable number of credits to the state, strings attached to the funding allocated requires BWSR to only work with new projects rather than purchasing credits from existing accounts, meaning most of you who are reading this will not be allowed to sell your existing credits to BWSR. Then again, those of you who are in the process of establishing new wetland banks in the targeted bank service areas, but have not yet made a credit deposit, should consider contacting BWSR to provide a bid on what will be a significant number of credits.
If you are wondering why BWSR cannot use the bonding funds to acquire existing credits from your wetland banks, you are not alone. We believe this to be a serious flaw in the wetland banking system. According to the state rules for how bonding dollars are spent, road replacement funding cannot be spent on projects where the state already holds an interest in the property (e.g. an easement). Because the State of Minnesota holds an easement on deposited wetland bank accounts, they cannot spend road money to buy credits from existing accounts. The last bonding bill in 2012 attempted to address this restriction and allow road funds to be used to purchase credits from existing accounts, but BWSR apparently still cannot, or will not, purchase existing credits. Reversing these rules could revitalize the banking system.
We’d like to see this changed, and with your support, maybe we can. Please post your comments below.