Michigan Wetlands. Department of Environmental Quality

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1 Department of Environmental Quality

2 Wetlands are a significant component of Michigan s landscape, covering roughly 5.5 million acres, or 15 percent of the land area of the state. This represents about half of the wetland resources that existed prior to European Settlement.

3 A high percentage of Michigan residents responding to a recent survey recognized the multiple benefits provided by wetlands. Percent of Michigan residents who view various wetland services as very important or extremely important: Wildlife habitat 87% Fish habitat 78% Flood control 75% Wildflower habitat 73% Water filtration 73% - Michael D. Kaplowitz and John Kerr, Michigan residents perceptions of wetlands and mitigation. Wetlands, Vol. 23, No. 2 June 2003

4 In 1979, Michigan s Legislature clearly recognized the functions and values of wetlands in legislative findings incorporated into the Goemaere-Anderson Wetland Protection Act, now Part 303, Wetlands Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.

5 The legislature finds that: A loss of a wetland may deprive the people of the state of some or all of the following benefits to be derived from the wetland: Flood and storm control Wildlife habitat Protection of subsurface water resources and recharging ground water supplies Pollution treatment Erosion control Nursery grounds and sanctuaries for fish

6 Types of Wetlands

7 Emergent marshes. These areas are frequently or continuously flooded, and often occur at the fringes of lakes or rivers. Marshes are among the most productive ecosystems on earth - rivaling tropical rainforests.

8 Great Lakes coastal marshes are a special type of emergent wetland. These extremely productive, and rare systems are critical to North America s migratory waterfowl populations. Estimated expenditures in Michigan for migratory bird hunting in 2001 totaled $30,892, of 36 species of Great Lakes fish depend upon coastal marshes for reproductive success.

9 Deciduous swamps. Swamplands are forested wetlands, and may be flooded for a only a portion of the year. In southern Michigan, deciduous swamps are the most common type of wetland.

10 Deciduous Swamps/Forested Wetlands

11 Bogs and fens. Often located in pockets within coniferous swamps, or along the shores of lakes or streams, bogs and fens are both peatlands.

12 Frequently found in floodplains, swamplands provide a natural buffer against changing water levels on an annual basis. Pictures of floodplain wetland taken two Michigan weeks Wetlands apart

13 Irreplaceable Wetlands Bogs such as these developed over several thousand years.

14 Wetlands provide a haven for some of Michigan s rarest plants and animals. Eastern Box Turtle Mitchell Satyr Photo by Larry West Small White Lady s Slipper

15 At least 41 state listed, threatened, and endangered species of animals depend upon wetlands at some point in their life cycle. Photo by James H. Harding Photo by Mary Rabe Karner Blue Eastern Fox Snake Photo by Don Baccus Short-eared Owl An additional 10 listed species prefer wetland habitat, although they may survive in upland.

16 It is estimated that 49% of the state s rare plant species are dependent upon wetlands. English Sundew Tall Beak-rush Seedbox

17 Highly specialized plants including the carnivorous pitcher plant and sundew are found in bog environments where the chemistry of the soils limits the availability of plant nutrients.

18 In addition, the conservation and restoration of wetlands may reduce future flooding

19 Headwater wetlands These wetlands maintain the flow and quality of headwater trout streams and other waters, gradually discharging cool, clear water throughout the summer months.

20 When wetlands are lost, our waters, and our watersheds, and our wildlife suffer: With the loss of flood storage, damage to agricultural and urban lands increases. With the loss of summer recharge from wetlands, stream flow declines and water tables drop. As the wetland buffers between uplands and our open waters are lost, shoreline erosion and pollution of those waters increases.

21 And, of Course, Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat

22 Wetland Permitting

23 A wetland permit is required from the DEQ to: Place fill material in a wetland Dredge soil or minerals from a wetland Construct, operate or maintain a use or development in a wetland Drain surface water from a wetland

24 Widening the Road Impacts to wetlands outside the existing road footprint/ditch requires a permit

25 In general, a permit applicant must follow these regulatory principles: 1. Avoidance Do feasible and prudent alternatives exist? Different location, configuration, size, or method. 2. Minimization Minimize impacts to wetland. Different location, configuration, size, or method. 3. Mitigation Replace unavoidably lost wetland resources with created or restored wetlands Ensure no net loss of wetland functions and values.

26 Avoidance The NO impact option Planning the project to avoid any and all wetland impacts. This requires good baseline information during the initial planning phases of the project

27 DEQ Wetland Map Viewer

28 Facilitating DEQ Review Correctly identify the location of the wetlands Provide an assessment of the functions and values of the wetlands, including impact areas Provide a detailed review of the steps that were taken to avoid and minimize the impacts to the wetlands Provide an appropriate mitigation proposal

29 No Two Projects are the Same River vs. Stream

30 Marsh vs. Bog

31 Swamp vs. Swamp Some forested wetlands can be hard to recognize

32 Wetland Mitigation

33 In general, a permit applicant must follow these regulatory principles: 1. Avoidance Do feasible and prudent alternatives exist? Different location, configuration, size, or method. 2. Minimization Minimize impacts to wetland. Different location, configuration, size, or method. 3. Mitigation Replace unavoidably lost wetland resources with created or restored wetlands Ensure no net loss of wetland functions and values.

34 Once the DEQ determines that an impact is acceptable, then, and only then, can mitigation be discussed.

35 Ratios for in-kind mitigation required by the administrative rules: 5:1 ratio for impacts to rare or imperiled wetland types. 2:1 ratio for impacts to forested wetlands, coastal wetlands (not covered above), and wetlands that border upon inland lakes. 1.5:1 ratio for impacts to all other wetland types. 10:1 ratio when mitigation is preservation. The ratios are doubled for after-the-fact permits. Ratios are increased for out-of-kind Mitigation.

36 Mitigation- Continued < 0.1 acre None Required 0.1-1/3 acre per wetland complex and less than 1 acre per project (1:1 Ratio, any kind any where, for projects that meet the minor project category) > 1/3 acre Standard Ratios MDOT mitigates all impacts

37 The administrative rules require that mitigation should be on-site or in the same watershed.

38 Restoration The restoration of previously existing wetlands is preferred over the creation of new wetlands where none previously existed. Areas with drained hydric soils offer the best opportunity for wetland restoration

39 Restoration In these areas, hydrology re-establishment can be relatively easy by breaking tiles, filling in drains, and/or re-establishing the wetlands watershed Seed Source may still exist, but supplemental seeding is recommended and may be required Habitat Structures will be required in most instances Areas with drained hydric soils offer the best opportunity for wetland restoration

40 Wetland Creation Traditional wetland creation project: Difficult to establish appropriate hydrology (groundwater levels) No existing seed source or hydric soil Expensive (lots of excavation)

41 Mitigation Follow-up Prior to releasing the financial assurance bond/letter of credit, applicant must provide evidence that the following criteria has been met: Compliance with Permit Conditions Acceptable Monitoring Reports Submitted Met Goals Outlined in Performance Standards

42 Mitigation banking Acquisition of wetland mitigation bank credits may be approved as mitigation by the DEQ. Mitigation banking: establishes mitigation in advance of loss. consolidates small mitigation projects. can reduce uncertainty regarding mitigation availability. can encourage integration of mitigation and watershed planning. Transportation Agencies can establish their own mitigation banks.

43 Preservation of Existing Wetlands May be considered as mitigation only if the wetlands: perform exceptional physical or biological functions or are an ecological type that is rare or endangered, are under a demonstrable threat of loss or substantial degradation not under the control of the applicant and that are not otherwise restricted by state law, and permanent protection of the wetlands is provided.

44 Preservation of Existing Wetlands Although rarely used, opportunities do exist to preserve wetlands, particularly with Rare and Imperiled Wetlands Habitats Troll Bog, Luce County

45 Prairie Fen

46 Lakeplain Prairie

47 Coastal Plain Marsh

48 Long-term Management and Protection May be Required

49 Michigan Natural Features Inventory Information relating to Michigan s special plants, animals, and communities Good resource for information on how to recognize these special features

50 32 Years after passage of the Wetlands Protection Act, better scientific understanding of wetlands is supporting more efficient and effective management of Michigan s wetland resources.

51 Questions?

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