South Dakota Farm Bureau meets to talk development of wetland mitigation bank
The South Dakota Farm Bureau (SDFB) recently met with the South Dakota Technical Committee subcommittee on wetland mitigation to discuss plans for the first-ever agricultural wetland mitigation banking system in South Dakota.
Several industry groups joined SDFB at the meeting including: South Dakota Soybean Association, South Dakota Corn Growers Association, Izaak Walton League, Ducks Unlimited, Beadle County Conservation District, EcoAsset, and South Dakota Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).
The meeting focused on plans to use the $75,000 Conservation Innovation Grant the SDFB received from the NRCS to develop the wetland mitigation banking system. The SDFB has contracted with EcoAssets on this project and presented the proposed plans at the meeting.
“We presented a draft including the program structure of the proposed bank,” said Wayne Smith, SDFB executive director and farmer from rural Moody County. “This included details on the process of mitigation, bank site requirements, the transaction process, bank service areas, and the technical details about the wetland exchange requirements including monitoring and long-term management.”
EcoAssets fielded questions from NRCS, the Izaak Walton League, Ducks Unlimited and other interested parties.
“Mitigation is an important part of protecting the wetland resources,” said Smith. “This will give farmers and ranchers an opportunity to replace a degraded wetland in a continuously cropped field with a well-functioning wetlands that will be protected.”
The wetland mitigation bank system is expected to be in place by August 31, 2015. The SDFB, along with industry partners South Dakota Corn Growers Association, South Dakota Soybean Association, and the Beady County Conservation District, will play an instrumental role in establishing the framework for the mitigation banks and is working diligently with industry leaders to make sure the new system will create better functioning wetlands and a user-friendly system for farmers.
“This is a great opportunity for agriculture, conservation and wildlife groups, as well as South Dakota NRCS to work together to protect the environment while allowing the best land to produce food to feed a growing population,” said Smith.
For more information on this project, check out http://www.sdfbf.org.
–S.D. Farm Bureau