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Webb, Frederick J., Jr. (ed.) / Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference on Wetlands Restoration and Creation : May 10-11, 1990

Prokes, John A.
Status and trends of wetland mitigation practices in southeastern Michigan: an agenda for the 1990's,   pp. 127-143 PDF (6.5 MB)

Page 128

follow-up enforcement activity to ensure that the mitigation was completed
in accordance to the permit conditions.
In Michigan, the concept of a no net loss goal is really not new. It
has been informally applied for several years by the Michigan Department
of Natural Resources (MDNR) under the jurisdiction of the Goemaere-
Anderson Wetland Protection Act (Public Act {P.A.} 203) promulgated in
1980. Because of a relatively depressed economy in Michigan in the early
1980's, however, Act 203 was not regularly used until the mid 1980's.
During the mid to late 1980's with the rejuvenation of the economy,
southeastern  Michigan   in  particular   experienced  rapid   growth  and
development, especially into outlying rural communities as urban areas
began  to expand.    As a result of this development      activity,  lands
containing wetlands regulated by Act 203 were encroached upon and wetlands
consequently impacted. To off-set potential wetland losses (achieve no
net loss) from development in southeastern Michigan, some permits issued
by the MDNR contained provisions for mitigation (compensation for wetland
losses in the form of wetland creation, restoration, or enhancement).
Prior to 1988, because Michigan lacked its own formal mitigation policy,
the MDNR informally used the mitigation policy guidelines published by the
Fish and Wildlife Service in the Federal Register on January 31, 1981.
The lack of a statewide formal policy meant that mitigation requirements
to permittees was at the discretion of the district offices and dictated
on a case-by-case basis.   This usually led to widely varying mitigation
It was not until 1988 that Michigan developed, as part of Act-203,
its own formal rule for mitigation which specifically included a provision
for no net loss. Although this amendment to Act 203 formalized mitigation
and no net loss, because formal standards or guidelines describing how to
effectively implement mitigation to ensure no net loss did not exist,
permit provisions for mitigation (i.e., creation design, monitoring,
management) still lacked consistency. And since the MDNR lacks the time
and staff to provide adequate enforcement, it is not known whether
mitigation projects authorized since 1984 are effective in achieving no
net loss.    Despite the uncertainty of mitigation      success,  the MDNR
continues to issue permits with mitigation provisions and has set as a
goal a net gain of 500,000 acres of wetland in Michigan by the year 2000.
What is needed for wetland protection in the 1990's is a uniform,
predictable, and enforceable mitigation strategy to be applied statewide.
However, before this can be done, the success and failures of past
mitigation projects needs to be examined so as to define weak points.
Although increasingly recognized as valuable, wetlands in Michigan
continue to be impacted through development activities.   If a net gain or
at least a no net loss of wetland habitat is to be a goal in Michigan,
where only approximately three of an original element million acres of
wetland remain, then an evaluation of no net loss since implementation of
mitigation as compensation will need to be conducted. To address this

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