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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 103G

Section 103G.2242

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103G.2242 WETLAND VALUE REPLACEMENT PLANS.
    Subdivision 1. Rules. (a) The board, in consultation with the commissioner, shall adopt rules
governing the approval of wetland value replacement plans under this section and public waters
work permits affecting public waters wetlands under section 103G.245. These rules must address
the criteria, procedure, timing, and location of acceptable replacement of wetland values; may
address the state establishment and administration of a wetland banking program for public
and private projects, which may include provisions allowing monetary payment to the wetland
banking program for alteration of wetlands on agricultural land; the administrative, monitoring,
and enforcement procedures to be used; and a procedure for the review and appeal of decisions
under this section. In the case of peatlands, the replacement plan rules must consider the impact
on carbon balance described in the report required by Laws 1990, chapter 587, and include the
planting of trees or shrubs.
(b) After the adoption of the rules, a replacement plan must be approved by a resolution of
the governing body of the local government unit, consistent with the provisions of the rules or a
comprehensive wetland protection and management plan approved under section 103G.2243.
(c) If the local government unit fails to apply the rules, or fails to implement a local
comprehensive wetland protection and management plan established under section 103G.2243,
the government unit is subject to penalty as determined by the board.
    Subd. 2. Evaluation. (a) Questions concerning the public value, location, size, or type
of a wetland shall be submitted to and determined by a Technical Evaluation Panel after an
on-site inspection. The Technical Evaluation Panel shall be composed of a technical professional
employee of the board, a technical professional employee of the local soil and water conservation
district or districts, a technical professional with expertise in water resources management
appointed by the local government unit, and a technical professional employee of the Department
of Natural Resources for projects affecting public waters or wetlands adjacent to public waters.
The panel shall use the "United States Army Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual"
(January 1987), including updates, supplementary guidance, and replacements, if any, "Wetlands
of the United States" (United States Fish and Wildlife Service Circular 39, 1971 edition), and
"Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States" (1979 edition). The
panel shall provide the wetland determination and recommendations on other technical matters to
the local government unit that must approve a replacement plan, wetland banking plan, exemption
determination, no-loss determination, or wetland boundary or type determination and may
recommend approval or denial of the plan. The authority must consider and include the decision
of the Technical Evaluation Panel in their approval or denial of a plan or determination.
(b) Persons conducting wetland or public waters boundary delineations or type
determinations are exempt from the requirements of chapter 326. By January 15, 2001, the board,
in consultation with the Minnesota Association of Professional Soil Scientists, the University
of Minnesota, and the Wetland Delineators' Association, shall submit a plan for a professional
wetland delineator certification program to the legislature.
    Subd. 2a. Wetland boundary or type determination. (a) A landowner may apply for
a wetland boundary or type determination from the local government unit. The landowner
applying for the determination is responsible for submitting proof necessary to make the
determination, including, but not limited to, wetland delineation field data, observation well data,
topographic mapping, survey mapping, and information regarding soils, vegetation, hydrology,
and groundwater both within and outside of the proposed wetland boundary.
(b) A local government unit that receives an application under paragraph (a) may seek the
advice of the Technical Evaluation Panel as described in subdivision 2, and, if necessary, expand
the Technical Evaluation Panel. The local government unit may delegate the decision authority
for wetland boundary or type determinations with the zoning administrator, or establish other
procedures it considers appropriate.
(c) The local government unit decision must be made in compliance with section 15.99.
Within ten calendar days of the decision, the local government unit decision must be mailed to
the landowner, members of the Technical Evaluation Panel, the watershed district or watershed
management organization, if one exists, and individual members of the public who request a copy.
(d) The local government unit decision is valid for three years unless the Technical
Evaluation Panel determines that natural or artificial changes to the hydrology, vegetation, or soils
of the area have been sufficient to alter the wetland boundary or type.
    Subd. 3. Replacement completion. Replacement of wetland values must be completed prior
to or concurrent with the actual draining or filling of a wetland, or an irrevocable bank letter
of credit or other security acceptable to the local government unit must be given to the local
government unit to guarantee the successful completion of the replacement.
    Subd. 4. Decision. Upon receiving and considering all required data, the local government
unit reviewing replacement plan applications, banking plan applications, and exemption or no-loss
determination requests must act on all replacement plan applications, banking plan applications,
and exemption or no-loss determination requests in compliance with section 15.99.
    Subd. 5. Processing fee. The local government unit and soil and water conservation district
may charge processing fees in amounts not greater than are necessary to cover the reasonable
costs of implementing the rules adopted under subdivision 1 and for technical and administrative
assistance to landowners in processing other applications for projects affecting wetlands.
    Subd. 6. Notice of application. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), within ten days
of receiving an application for approval of a replacement plan under this section, copies of the
complete application must be mailed to the members of the Technical Evaluation Panel, the
managers of the watershed district if one exists, and the commissioner of natural resources.
Individual members of the public who request a copy shall be provided information to identify the
applicant and the location and scope of the project.
(b) Within ten days of receiving an application for approval of a replacement plan under
this section for an activity affecting less than 10,000 square feet of wetland, a summary of the
application must be mailed to the members of the Technical Evaluation Panel, individual members
of the public who request a copy, and the commissioner of natural resources.
(c) For the purpose of this subdivision, "application" includes a revised application for
replacement plan approval and an application for a revision to an approved replacement plan if:
(1) the wetland area to be drained or filled under the revised replacement plan is at least ten
percent larger than the area to be drained or filled under the original replacement plan; or
(2) the wetland area to be drained or filled under the revised replacement is located more
than 500 feet from the area to be drained or filled under the original replacement plan.
    Subd. 7. Notice of decision. Within ten days of the approval or denial of a replacement
plan under this section, a summary of the approval or denial must be mailed to members of the
Technical Evaluation Panel, the applicant, individual members of the public who request a copy,
the managers of the watershed district, if one exists, and the commissioner of natural resources.
    Subd. 8. Public comment period. Except for activities impacting less than 10,000 square
feet of wetland, before approval or denial of a replacement plan under this section, comments
may be made by the public to the local government unit for a period of 15 days or more, as
determined by the local government unit.
    Subd. 9. Appeal. (a) Appeal of a replacement plan, exemption, wetland banking, wetland
boundary or type determination, or no-loss decision may be obtained by mailing a petition and
payment of a filing fee of $200, which shall be retained by the board to defray administrative
costs, to the board within 30 days after the postmarked date of the mailing specified in subdivision
7. If appeal is not sought within 30 days, the decision becomes final. The local government unit
may require the petitioner to post a letter of credit, cashier's check, or cash in an amount not to
exceed $500. If the petition for hearing is accepted, the amount posted must be returned to the
petitioner. Appeal may be made by:
(1) the wetland owner;
(2) any of those to whom notice is required to be mailed under subdivision 7; or
(3) 100 residents of the county in which a majority of the wetland is located.
(b) Within 30 days after receiving a petition, the board shall decide whether to grant the
petition and hear the appeal. The board shall grant the petition unless the board finds that:
(1) the appeal is meritless, trivial, or brought solely for the purposes of delay;
(2) the petitioner has not exhausted all local administrative remedies;
(3) expanded technical review is needed;
(4) the local government unit's record is not adequate; or
(5) the petitioner has not posted a letter of credit, cashier's check, or cash if required by
the local government unit.
(c) In determining whether to grant the appeal, the board shall also consider the size of the
wetland, other factors in controversy, any patterns of similar acts by the local government unit or
petitioner, and the consequences of the delay resulting from the appeal.
(d) All appeals must be heard by the committee for dispute resolution of the board, and a
decision made within 60 days of filing the local government unit's record and the written briefs
submitted for the appeal. The decision must be served by mail on the parties to the appeal, and is
not subject to the provisions of chapter 14. A decision whether to grant a petition for appeal and a
decision on the merits of an appeal must be considered the decision of an agency in a contested
case for purposes of judicial review under sections 14.63 to 14.69.
    Subd. 10. Local requirements. The rules adopted under subdivision 1 shall allow for
local government units to use their own notice and public comment procedures so long as the
requirements of this section are satisfied.
    Subd. 11.[Expired.]
    Subd. 12. Replacement credits. (a) No public or private wetland restoration, enhancement,
or construction may be allowed for replacement unless specifically designated for replacement
and paid for by the individual or organization performing the wetland restoration, enhancement,
or construction, and is completed prior to any draining or filling of the wetland.
(b) Paragraph (a) does not apply to a wetland whose owner has paid back with interest the
individual or organization restoring, enhancing, or constructing the wetland.
(c) Notwithstanding section 103G.222, subdivision 1, paragraph (h), the following actions,
and others established in rule, that are consistent with criteria in rules adopted by the board
in conjunction with the commissioners of natural resources and agriculture, are eligible for
replacement credit as determined by the local government unit, including enrollment in a
statewide wetlands bank:
(1) reestablishment of permanent native, noninvasive vegetative cover on a wetland on
agricultural land that was planted with annually seeded crops, was in a crop rotation seeding of
pasture grasses or legumes, or was in a land retirement program during the past ten years;
(2) buffer areas of permanent native, noninvasive vegetative cover established or preserved
on upland adjacent to replacement wetlands;
(3) wetlands restored for conservation purposes under terminated easements or contracts; and
(4) water quality treatment ponds constructed to pretreat storm water runoff prior to
discharge to wetlands, public waters, or other water bodies, provided that the water quality
treatment ponds must be associated with an ongoing or proposed project that will impact a
wetland and replacement credit for the treatment ponds is based on the replacement of wetland
functions and on an approved stormwater management plan for the local government.
(d) Notwithstanding section 103G.222, subdivision 1, paragraphs (e) and (f), the board may
establish by rule different replacement ratios for restoration projects with exceptional natural
resource value.
    Subd. 13.[Repealed, 1996 c 462 s 44]
    Subd. 14. Fees established. Fees must be assessed for managing wetland bank accounts
and transactions as follows:
(1) account maintenance annual fee: one percent of the value of credits not to exceed $500;
(2) account establishment, deposit, or transfer: 6.5 percent of the value of credits not to
exceed $1,000 per establishment, deposit, or transfer; and
(3) withdrawal fee: 6.5 percent of the value of credits withdrawn.
    Subd. 15. Fees paid to board. All fees established in subdivision 14 must be paid to the
Board of Water and Soil Resources and credited to the general fund to be used for the purpose of
administration of the wetland bank.
History: 1991 c 354 art 6 s 11; 1993 c 175 s 4,5; 1994 c 627 s 5-9; 1996 c 462 s 26-32;
1998 c 312 s 4; 2000 c 382 s 9-14; 2001 c 7 s 25; 2001 c 146 s 6,7; 2003 c 128 art 1 s 114,115