The South Dakota Technical Committee subcommittee on wetland mitigation banking met on May 18 to review the framework being developed for the state’s wetland mitigation banks. The framework is a result of a $75,000 Conservation Initiative Grant awarded to the South Dakota Farm Bureau (SDFB) by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

“The goal of the committee is to develop a framework that is economically and environmentally acceptable to the committee, as well as workable within NRCS rules and guidelines,” said Wayne Smith, SDFB Executive Director.

The committee asked several important questions during the discussion, including:
-- Can the framework contain timelines for the banks and NRCS?
-- Can credits be given to enhancements to current farmed wetlands?
-- With possible credits for CRP in expiring CRP acres with wetlands?
-- How do we plan for an appeals process for a bank if the bank is found to be in default?
-- Are there privacy issues with personal information?
-- How should the current interim rules for the Farm Bill be addressed in the framework?

The mitigation bank framework is expected to be in place by August 31. SDFB is playing an instrumental role in establishing the framework for statewide mitigation banking 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.

“The current draft of the framework is open for comment until June 12,” Smith said. “At that time, the comments will be considered with appropriate changes made to the framework. After the changes are made, the document will be available for comment again. The final comments will be considered and the document presented to NRCS for implementation.”

To share your comments and suggestions on the wetland mitigation bank, contact:  David Patrick, Eco Asset Management LLC consultant (dpatrick@eco.asset.com); Jerry Jasmer, NRCS State Resource Conservationist (Gerald.jasmer@sd.usda.gov); or Wayne Smith, South Dakota Farm Bureau (wsmith@sdfbf.org).