This is a comprehensive program administered
through a variety of statutes.
Features and New Programs/Initiatives:
was the first state, and remains one of only two states, to
have assumed administration of the Section 404 Program under
the provisions of Section 404(g) of the Clean Water Act.
The program is administered by the Michigan Department
of Environmental Quality (DEQ) - formerly a part of the Department
of Natural Resources (DNR).
access to permit information. Since Michigan’s wetland regulatory program
was instituted 25 years ago, the State has sought ways to streamline
the regulatory process while providing effective protection of
wetland resources. Use
of current technology helps us to meet these goals.
The public is now provided access to an Internet version
of the DEQ Land and Water Management Division’s permit tracking
system, CIWPIS (the Coastal and Inland Water Permit Information
System) at www.michigan.gov/deq. Public notices are also available on-line,
providing the opportunity for immediate statewide review of each
notice as soon as it is issued.
The site also provides for electronic submittal of comments
on the public notice directly to the reviewer.
Wetland Conservation Plan
Wetland Conservation Strategy (the State Wetland Conservation
Plan) was completed in October, 1997.
It was prepared by the DEQ in cooperation with the Michigan
Wetland Advisory Committee, a group of 12 individuals representing
a wide range of stakeholder interests.
While the Plan is comprehensive, and covers a full range
of wetland issues and concerns, the primary focus is on wetland
restoration. The Advisory
committee adopted specific restoration goals, as outlined in
“No Net Loss/Net Gain Goal” below.
A significant number of the recommendations included
in the plan have been implemented.
|At the current
time, the Wetland Working Group, an informal interagency work
group including various state, federal, and non-governmental organizations
concerned with wetland restoration and management, provides a
forum to continue the work initiated by the Michigan Wetland Advisory
Committee during development of the State Wetland Conservation
Plan. This group generally meets quarterly to share information and to
coordinate program activities.
Net Loss/Net Gain Goal
State Wetland Conservation Plan outlines both short- and long-term
goals for the achievement of no net loss of wetlands.
Short-term objectives include the restoration of fifty
thousand acres of wetlands (one percent of historic losses)
by 2010. Long-term objectives, with no specific time frame, include the restoration
of 500,000 acres (ten percent of historic losses). Tracking of wetland gains under various restoration
programs was limited in the initial years following completion
of the Conservation Plan. However,
recent summaries indicate that an estimated 19,100 acres of
wetland have been restored in Michigan from 2000 - 2004 through
a variety of voluntary state, federal, and private partnership
In addition, Administrative rules
for the Wetland Protection Part of the Natural Resources and
Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) state that, "An applicant shall provide mitigation
to assure that, upon completion, there will be no net loss of
wetlands.” (See R 281.925
Regulatory Statutes and Administrative Rules
303 – Wetlands Protection - of the Natural Resources and Environmental
Protection Act [prior to codification, the Goemaere-Anderson Wetland
Protection Act, P.A. 203 of 1979]. Michigan’s wetland regulatory authority
is based primarily on a statewide wetland permit program defined
in the Wetlands Protection Part of the State’s environmental code. This law was originally passed in 1979 as the
Goemaere-Anderson Wetland Protection Act, and was later codified
in its current form. The Wetland Protection
Part provides broad regulation of Michigan’s wetlands as described
in the following sections of this summary, and was incorporated
by reference and made part of the Section 404 Program for the
State of Michigan at the time of program assumption.
A number of other state laws (Parts
of the NREPA) compliment the basic wetland permit program. These include programs which regulate dredge
and fill activities in inland lakes and streams and the Great
Lakes; the state’s floodplain regulatory authority; and water
pollution control regulations including state water quality standards.
31 – Water Resources Protection – of the Natural Resources and
Environmental Protection Act [prior to codification, the Water
Resources Commission Act, P.A. 245 of 1929]. The Water Resource Protection Part defines
“waters of the state”, and includes the State’s basic authority
to establish water quality standards and to regulate pollution. Michigan’s floodplain authority is also contained
in this Part and associated administrative rules. This Part was also incorporated by reference
as a component of the Section 404 Program for the State of Michigan
at the time of program assumption.
all statutes and administrative rules are posted on the DEQ website
Definition and/or Delineation; Comparability With
30301 of the Wetlands Protection Part defines wetland as follows:
“Wetland" means land characterized by the presence of water
at a frequency and duration sufficient to support and that under normal circumstances does
support wetland vegetation or aquatic life and is commonly referred
to as a bog, swamp, or marsh."
|Michigan’s definition has been found
by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be consistent
with the Section 404 definition of wetlands.
scope of jurisdiction under Michigan’s law is generally comparable
with federal law; however, as with most state statutes, the underlying
authority differs from federal law, being based on land management
authorities rather than the commerce clause.
Under Part 303, the Michigan DEQ regulates:
wetlands that are connected to an inland lake or pond, river or
stream, or one of the Great Lakes, regardless of size.
The connection may be any permanent or intermittent surface
wetlands that are within 500 feet of an inland lake, pond, river
or stream, or within 1000 feet of the Great Lakes, regardless
of size. These wetlands are assumed to have a groundwater
connection with the associated waterbodies.
greater than 5 acres in size that are not connected to other waterbodies
by surface or groundwater (although until county wetland inventories
are completed, these wetlands are regulated only in counties having
a population greater than 100,000).
wetland that is not otherwise regulated, if the DEQ has determined
that the wetland is “essential to the preservation of the natural
resources of the state” and has so notified the property owner.
DEQ staff use
the MDEQ Wetland Identification
Manual: A Technical Manual for Identifying Wetlands in Michigan,
(March, 2001). This manual
describes a delineation process that is sufficient for most projects
in Michigan, producing a delineation that is consistent with federal
methods. Wetland boundaries that are more difficult
to identify, including boundaries on disturbed sites, may require
additional evaluation and documentation, in which case procedures
outlined in the 1987 Corps of
Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual are applied. The more complex 1987 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
(Corps) methods may also be used by the applicant as a primary
method of determining wetland boundaries if desired.
The DNR developed a “Manual for Wetland Evaluation Techniques”
shortly after passage of the Goemaere-Anderson Wetland Protection
Act in 1979. The rapid
on-site methods outlined in this manual will be replaced by
an updated Rapid Assessment Method (RAM) currently under development.
The RAM will be informed in part by information collected
during the development of indices of biological integrity (IBI’s)
for Great Lakes coastal wetlands, inland forested depressional
wetlands, and inland herbaceous depressional wetlands.
Work on IBI’s has been conducted primarily by research
staff at Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University.
staff may also make use of the Floristic
Quality Assessment for the State of Michigan (2nd Edition),
developed by the DNR and revised
activities include placement of fill; dredging or removal of
soil or minerals; construction, operating, or maintaining any
use or development in a wetland; and draining surface water
from a wetland.
include recreational activities, specified agricultural activities
(see “Special Provision for Agriculture and Forestry” below),
construction of temporary forestry and mining roads; maintenance
or improvement of public roads within the right of way; maintenance,
repair, or operation of oil or gas pipelines and power lines;
operation or maintenance of dikes and levees; and construction
of iron and copper mining tailing basins and water storage areas.
are not unlimited; the landowner is generally required to minimize
impacts, and in some instances to comply with best management
practices. Exemption under one Part of the NREPA does
not exempt an activity from requirements of other Parts. For example, construction of a tailings basin
for iron or copper mining is exempt under Part 303 (Wetlands Protection),
but not Part 301 (Inland Lakes and Streams) or 315 (Dam Safety),
and a permit may be required under those Parts.
for Agriculture and Forestry
Exemptions for specified
farming and forestry activities. Part 303 exempts certain activities associated with farming, horticulture,
silviculture, lumbering, and ranching from permit requirements.
These exemptions in general parallel Section 404, and
are typically associated with the ongoing use of a wetland area
for planting, cultivation, and harvesting of various crops.
Part 303 also provides exemptions for certain related
activities, such as construction and maintenance of farm or
stock ponds, drain maintenance necessary for agricultural production,
and construction and maintenance of farm and forest roads. These exemptions are very specific. Other related activities such as land clearing
and leveling, construction of dikes or cranberry beds, or construction
of barns, greenhouses, warehouses, or other structures, are
not exempt activities under the Wetlands
DEQ Land and Water Management
Division staff have primary responsibility for enforcement under
Michigan’s state administered Section 404 Program.
However, this does not preclude the federal agencies
from initiating enforcement actions under Section 404 at their
The Inland Lakes and Streams Part authorizes civil fines up
to $5,000.00 per day, and criminal penalties of up to $10,000.00. Under a civil action, the court may enforce compliance with the
Part, restrain violations of the Part, and order restoration. In 1993, the Inland Lakes and Streams Part
was amended to provide for the issuance of appearance tickets
for minor offenses which do not require restoration.
A person who commits a minor offense is guilty of a misdemeanor,
punishable by a fine of not more than $500.00.
Enforcement provisions of the Wetland Protection Part are similar,
except that a civil penalty of up to $10,000.00 per day is authorized. In addition, criminal penalties for a knowing
violation include fines of up to $25,000.00 per day, imprisonment
of not more than 1 year, or both.
A repeat violation is a felony, and is punishable by
a fine of not more than $50,000.00 per day, or imprisonment
of not more than 2 years, or both.
Tracking permit actions: DEQ Land and Water Management Division permit applications
are entered into a computerized tracking system, the Coastal
and Inland Waters Permit Information System (CIWPIS).
CIWPIS includes database files for resources of special
interest (e.g. known locations of threatened or endangered species,
conservation easements, sites of past violations, hazardous
waste sites, and similar categories) by town, range and section.
These special interests are identified at the time of
permit actions are tracked in the CIWPIS system. An on-line version of this tracking system
allows the permit applicant, or any member of the general public,
to search for permits or permit applications by geographic area,
or to check on the status of a pending application.
Public notices are also posted on-line, and comments may
be transmitted electronically directly to the permit reviewer.
| CIWPIS is
linked to additional databases supporting detailed records for
mitigation sites, and for wetland areas held under permanent conservation
Tracking compliance and enforcement
actions. The DEQ Land and Water Management Division
maintains a separate system for tracking compliance and enforcement
actions. All complaints
received by the DEQ (including
violations reported by staff) are entered into this system, and
tracked until resolved. This system assists field staff in monitoring
the status of enforcement actions, which may proceed over a period
of months. It also supports
coordination among the Land and Water Management Division and
law enforcement staff in the DEQ Office of Criminal Investigations
and the Law Enforcement Division of DNR.
Permit (PGP or SPGP) for 404
of Section 404 Powers
State of Michigan’s 404 Program was approved by the Regional
Administrator of EPA in accordance with the requirements of
Section 404(h) of the Clean Water Act in August of 1984.
With this approval, Michigan became the first state to
assume administration of the Section 404 Program. During the ensuing twenty years, the state-federal
partnership which developed has allowed Michigan to operate
a highly effective and efficient permit program.
|Michigan’s Section 404 Program is administered
by the Michigan DEQ (formerly part of the Michigan DNR). The state processes approximately 5,000 – 6,000 permit applications
per year through this program, funded in part by permit fees but
primarily by state general funds.
DEQ staff also have primary responsibility for compliance
and enforcement under the state 404 Program.
The Clean Water Act limits
state assumption of Section 404 authority in “traditionally
navigable waters.” The Detroit District Corps retains Section 404 jurisdiction in these waters,
which are listed in a 1983 Memorandum of Agreement between the DEQ and the Corps. Corps jurisdiction
includes the Great Lakes, connecting channels (such as the Detroit
River), and rivermouth areas upstream to the limits of the traditional
navigational channel or the Great Lakes ordinary high water
mark. Under the 1983
MOA, the DEQ and the Corps may
issue a Joint Public Notice for projects over which the Corps retains Section 404 jurisdiction; however separate state and
federal permits are required.
Joint Public Notices are prepared by the
Corps. Due to the time constraints associated with
state statutes, the DEQ frequently
proceeds with issuance of a separate public notice to assure
compliance with state statutory review periods.
Area Management Plans and Advanced Identification Plans
DEQ has not sponsored any projects specifically designed to
meet the requirements of 40 CFR §230.80 regarding the Advanced
Identification of Disposal Areas. However, the DEQ
fully recognizes the value of including wetland resources
in watershed planning, and is actively encouraging the development
of watershed based plans for wetland management at the local
of Local Governments
Wetland Protection Part (see “Regulatory Statutes and Administrative
Rules” above) specifically authorizes local wetland ordinances
(permit programs) and provides for coordination between state
and local permit programs. Such regulations must generally be consistent
with state law, except that smaller wetlands may be regulated
under local ordinances. At
least 37 communities have passed specific wetland protection
ordinances. In addition, an unknown number of local units
of governments provide zoning protection for wetlands at the
county, township, or municipal level.
DEQ Geological and Land Management Division houses approximately
155 staff in professional and clerical/technical positions.
Of these, 80 are considered to have responsibilities
related to the 404 Program. These
include field staff responsible for permit evaluation and enforcement;
technical support staff in the Lansing office, including biologists/ecologists
and engineers; computer support staff; clerical technical support
staff; and administrative staff.
staff are located in 10 offices across the state. Approximately
35 FTE’s are committed specifically to wetland permitting and
enforcement at the field level; additional field staff may provide
technical support in some cases (e.g. hydrologic engineers in
the floodplain program). Wetland permit applications are processed through a consolidated
permit program, which combines review of all impacts of a given
construction project on wetlands, lakes and streams, the Great
Lakes, and floodplains under various statutory authorities.
Water Quality Standards
and Water Quality Standards
Water Resources Protection Part of the NREPA defines “waters
of the state” as follows:
“Waters of the state” means groundwaters, lakes, rivers and streams
and all other watercourses and waters with the jurisdiction of
the state and also the Great Lakes bordering the state.” §324.3101(b)
While this definition does not explicitly list “wetlands”, wetland
resources are clearly included.
current state surface water quality standards do not specifically
list wetlands, but consider wetlands to be included in the general
category of “other surface bodies of water.”
The agency has recently proposed revision of Michigan’s
Surface Water Quality Standards to explicitly define wetlands
as waters of the state, and to address certain other wetland issues.
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
discharges to wetlands are regulated under the existing
|Section 401 certification. Permits issued by the DEQ under Michigan’s
404 Program are state, not federal, permits and as such Section
401 certification is not required.
However, a project which would result in a violation of
Michigan’s water quality standards would not meet the permit criteria
under state statutes. Under the Wetland Protection Part, a project
which violated water quality standards would not be considered
otherwise lawful, and therefore not in the public interest. In addition, the Section 404 (b)(1) Guidelines prohibit issuance
of a permit which would result in a violation of state water quality
standards (40 CFR §230.10), and the DEQ
is prohibited from issuing a Section 404 permit not in
compliance with the 404(b)(1) Guidelines.
| For applications under the jurisdiction
of Detroit District Corps for purposes of Section 10/Section 404, issuance
of a state permit is generally taken to represent Section 401
certification. When the
DEQ denies a permit in Section 10 waters, the Corps
typically stops processing the application.
The review of projects potentially involving the release
or discharge of toxic materials or the disposal of contaminated
dredge spoil or similar material is coordinated with other environmental
programs with the DEQ, and a separate 401 Certification may be
Authority for 401 Certification of other federally licensed projects
such as hydropower dams rests with the DEQ Water Bureau.
|See “Wetlands and Water Quality Standards”
above. Currently proposed
revisions of Michigan’s surface water quality standards would
define “Wetland” as follows:
“Wetland” means land characterized
by the presence of water at a frequency and duration sufficient
to support, and that under normal circumstances does support,
wetland vegetation or aquatic life, and is commonly referred
to as a bog, swamp, or marsh.”
and/or Numeric Criteria
At a minimum,
all surface waters of the state (including wetlands) are designated
for the following uses: agriculture;
navigation; industrial water supply; public water supply at the
point of water intake; warmwater fishery; other indigenous aquatic
life and wildlife; and partial body contact recreation.
Typically, when the concern is one of protection of water
quality in wetlands, protection for fisheries, indigenous aquatic
life and wildlife are likely to be the most applicable of these
has not yet formally adopted a biological
assessment method. However,
the DEQ has begun development of methods based on indices of biological
integrity (IBI’s) in cooperation with Michigan State University,
Grand Valley State University, and the Michigan Natural Features
Inventory. A Rapid Assessment
Method informed by this research is under development.
|The Floristic Quality Assessment with Wetland Categories
for the State of Michigan, developed by the DNR, has also been used since 1996 in the assessment
of wetland sites for various regulatory and non-regulatory purposes.
See Rule 98 of the Surface Water Quality Standards
(R 323.1098). The antidegradation policy that applies to
other surface waters also applies to wetlands.
The basic provision of this standard is that,
“For all waters,
the level of water quality necessary to protect existing uses shall be
maintained and protected. Where
designated uses of the
water body are not attained, there shall be no lowering of the
water quality with respect to the pollutant or pollutants that
are causing the nonattainment.
Where, for individual pollutants, the quality of the waters
is better than the water quality standards prescribed by these
rules, that water shall be considered high
quality and that quality shall be maintained and protected unless
allowing lower water quality is necessary to accommodate important
economic or social development in the area in which the waters
are located. For high quality waters, no action result in
the lowering of water quality shall occur unless the provisions
of this rule have been complied with.”
is made in the water quality standards for construction activities
authorized under state and federal law (Section 404).
(Wetland Water Quality Staff)
No surface water quality
staff are specifically dedicated to the wetland program. However, water quality staff evaluate NPDES
discharges to wetlands, and may evaluate biological communities
in wetlands as a part of routine stream monitoring programs.
requirements are detailed in the Administrative Rules for the
Wetland Protection Part; see R.281.925 – Mitigation.
(Links to the statute and rules are located on the DEQ
wetland web page at www.michigan.gov/deq.)
may be considered only after the applicant has demonstrated avoidance
and minimization of impacts, and it has been determined that a
project is otherwise permittable.
A mitigation proposal shall assure that, “upon completion,
there will be no net loss of wetlands.” Mitigation requirements
and ratios are established by rule, and identified by staff as
a part of the permit decision.
Mitigation is generally required for all impacts to wetlands
but may be waived for projects impacting less than 1/3 acre if
no reasonable opportunity for mitigation exists, or for projects
having a basic purpose of creating or restoring wetlands.
Financial assurances are required to ensure completion
of any mitigation project that is not completed in advance of
associated impacts. Mitigation sites must be permanently protected through a conservation
easements or deed restriction.
may also be required under the Inland Lakes and Streams Part (see
Rule 3) to improve existing resources, or to create a new resource
to offset resource losses resulting from the proposed project.
Administrative rules defining the establishment
and use of mitigation banks were promulgated in 1997; see R
281.951, Wetland Mitigation Banking.
A link to these rules, the Wetland Mitigation Bank Registry,
and detailed information regarding wetland mitigation banking
requirements are posted on the DEQ wetland web page at www.michigan.gov/deqwetlands. Mitigation banks must be established and operated
under a mitigation banking agreement.
The service area for a bank is limited to the watershed
in which the bank is located, and, for replacement of habitat
that is not dependent upon watershed boundaries only, the ecoregion
(mapped sub-subsection) in which the bank is located.
Michigan’s banking rules do not generally provide for
use of credit in advance of initial construction of the bank
and establishment of hydrology. At that point, credits are released based on
a schedule of attainment of performance standards.
|Three mitigation banks are currently
listed in Michigan’s Wetland Mitigation Bank Registry.
A number of other mitigation bank sites are currently under
consideration or development.
Lieu Fee Program
Permitted wetland impacts and mitigation
requirements are recorded in the DEQ
Land and Water Management Division permit tracking system, CIPWIS
(the Coastal and Water Permit Information System).
This system provides for simple accounting of acreage gains
and losses. In addition, this system is linked to a more
detailed database established to record and track detailed information
during the long term development of specific mitigation sites,
as well as to a separate database designed to record and track
conservation easements associated with mitigation sites.
DEQ Land and Water Management Division
field staff who are responsible for permit review are also responsible
for review and approval of mitigation plans, and oversight of
mitigation areas. One
staff specialist in the Lansing office handles most mitigation
banking issues, assisted on occasion by other technical staff.
Monitoring and Assessment
|Statewide National Wetland Inventory (NWI) coverage is available, based on photography flown between
1977 and 1983. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently attempted an
updating of some portions of the state based on photography from
1992 – 2000. Given the
different mapping procedures followed during the recent procedure,
an evaluation of trends between these two time periods proved
|Statewide mapping of wetland areas based on 1978 aerial photography
is also available through the Michigan Resource Information System
(MIRIS). However, these maps were developed as part
of a statewide land cover/use inventory carried out for planning
purposes, and the mapped land use categories are not totally consistent
with the definition of wetland areas; e.g. a “lowland hardwood
forest” category may include non-wetland portions of a floodplain.
DEQ is producing more detailed preliminary county wetland inventory
maps in a GIS format by synthesizing available data, including
NWI maps, USDA soil
surveys, and MIRIS. Preliminary
maps for 26 counties are now available on the DEQ wetland webpage
at www.michigan.gov/deqwetlands. Completion of county inventories for the remainder
of Michigan is anticipated by the end of 2006.
The Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Consortium
(headed by the Great Lakes Commission in Ann Arbor) is currently
completing a GIS based inventory of Great Lakes coastal wetlands
in cooperation with the Great Lakes states and provinces. This inventory will be available through the
Commission website at www.glc.org/wetlands.
Classification and Assessment
not classified for regulatory purposes by the DEQ. The Cowardin
system is used for descriptive purposes.
Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) includes wetlands in its classification
of natural community types. A
description of each ecological community type, and its state and
global rank based on relative rarity, are provided on the MNFI
web page at www.msue.msu.edu/mnfi.
Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Consortium has also developed a
specific classification system for its basin-wide inventory
and tracking system. This inventory is expected to be available
on-line in the near future at www.glc.org/wetlands.
The DEQ is currently developing a comprehensive
state wetland monitoring and assessment strategy, to be completed
by March 31, 2005. This
strategy will coordinate monitoring and assessment efforts at
various scales and by various program areas within DEQ. Currently, DEQ Land and Water Management staff
evaluate wetlands under regulatory program authorities, and
also provide technical assistance in watershed level evaluations
of wetland resources during the development of nonpoint source
management plans. Water Bureau staff include the evaluation of biological communities
in wetlands in some routine stream survey work.
Wetland Gain and Loss Tracking System
|Permitted wetland impacts and mitigation
requirements are recorded in the DEQ
Land and Water Management Division permit tracking system, CIPWIS
(the Coastal and Water Permit Information System).
In accordance with EPA’s Section 404 State Program Regulations,
Michigan reports annually to EPA on actions taken under its 404
Program. This report includes an assessment of wetland impacts
on a statewide scale, including the number and nature of individual
and general permits issued, modified, and denied; the number of
violations identified and enforcement actions taken; and the cumulative
impact of the state’s permit program on the integrity of state
regulated waters. Although not specifically required by Federal regulations, Michigan
also provides an annual summary of wetland acreage impacted through
the state 404 program and mitigation undertaken to offset these
and Assessment Staff.)
two to four technical staff in the DEQ Land and Water Management
Division Lansing office spend significant time on mapping and
assessment tasks, and other technical staff may work on associated
issues. DEQ Water Bureau staff may monitor biological communities in wetlands.
DNR, and Agriculture have been active partners with federal agencies
and non-governmental organizations in wetland restoration/incentive
programs. Through 2004, the State of Michigan has contributed
approximately $10 million in state
funding to wetland protection through the Conservation Reserve
Enhancement Program (CREP), and the state’s Clean Michigan Initiative.
These funds have been used to support voluntary wetland
conservation practices by private landowners – primarily wetland
restoration and enhancement - and to obtain permanent conservation
easements over wetlands restored under state/federal conservation
programs. In addition,
the state has contributed staff time through all three agencies
to provide technical assistance for landowners interested in wetland
Michigan’s State Wetland Conservation Plan outlines
both short- and long-term goals for the achievement of no net
loss of wetlands. Short-term
objectives include the restoration of fifty thousand acres of
wetlands (one percent of historic losses) by 2010. Long-term objectives, with no specific time frame, include the restoration
of 500,000 acres (ten percent of historic losses).
|Program specific. The DEQ participates on state technical committees
to help define priorities for certain federally funded programs.
|An interagency wetland work group attempted for a number
of years to develop a common tracking system for wetland restoration
projects. The group initially
agreed to compile basic information regarding the acreage and
type of wetlands being restored (or enhanced, etc.), location,
partners involved in the effort, etc.
This effort has been unsuccessful, however, since not all
participating federal agencies are willing to contribute primary
data. At this point, only
statewide acreage summaries have been submitted for use by all
agencies. Recent summaries indicate that an estimated 19,100 acres of
wetland have been restored in Michigan from 2000 - 2004 through
a variety of voluntary state, federal, and private partnership
(Wetland Restoration Program Staff.)
|One staff position in the
DEQ Land and Water Management Division is devoted to wetland restoration
and watershed management projects.
Natural Resources Trust Fund is supported by annual revenues from
development of state-owned mineral resources (largely oil and
gas) and provides funds for purchase of lands for outdoor recreation
or protection of natural resources and open space by the state
or by local units of government. In 2003, $19 million was available from the
fund for land acquisition. The
current list of approved acquisitions includes numerous wetland
parcels, including Great Lakes coastal wetlands, inland wetlands,
and restorable wetlands. This program is administered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
DEQ has produced various materials aimed at promoting stewardship
among local governments and landowners.
These publications, produced in partnership with federal
agencies, local organizations, and private groups, include Preserving
Michigan’s Wetlands: Options for Local Governments, Living
with Michigan Wetlands: A Landowner’s Guide, and Filling
the Gaps: Environmental Protection Options for Local Governments.
The agency also provides several publications for K-12
wetland education, along with information for the general public,
on their web page.
to Great Lakes coastal wetlands and targeted at landowners impacted
by low Great Lakes water levels have been produced in cooperation
with Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council and Michigan Sea Grant,
with funding from various sources.
Pamphlets and brochures have been provided to property
owners through direct mailings. In addition, Sea Grant has developed a train
the trainer program for Sea Grant agents to provide better information
regarding coastal wetland ecology and stewardship to local government
officials and private property owners.
landowners may obtain local and federal tax benefits by enrolling
wetland acreage in the Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program,
administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA). Information is available on the MDA web page under farmland preservation at www.michigan.gov/mda.
The Wetland Protection Part includes
specific provisions for assistance to landowners under what is
known as the “Wetland Assessment Program.”
Under this fee-based program, property owners may request
wetland information for a specific parcel available through existing
GIS map layers; may obtain an on-site determination of the location
of wetland resources; or may obtain DEQ confirmation of a private
Nonregulatory Incentives for Private Landowners
staff are currently working with interested legislators to develop
possible tax incentives to encourage the voluntary preservation
of other high quality wetlands under a permanent conservation
easement. Amendment of Part 303 is required to fully
realize the benefits of a program of this nature.
Training and Education
2004, DEQ increased its focus on outreach activities during
the 25th Anniversary of Michigan’s Wetland Protection
Act. Earth Day activities and a statewide wetland conference for Michigan
citizens were included in the year’s events. Additional training for local government officials, and a national
wetland conference focused on Great Lakes coastal wetlands are
planned in the near future.
DEQ encourages additional outreach activities through the
Michigan Wetlands Action Coalition, a network of non-governmental
organizations concerned with wetland issues.
|The DEQ and its interagency wetland
restoration partners have encouraged active consideration of wetland
resources during watershed land use planning and implementation
projects funded under various nonpoint sources programs, offering
technical assistance, GIS based wetland data, and other information.
Overall, the state has contributed approximately $10 million
in state funds toward wetland restoration efforts, primarily in
priority watersheds with approved watershed plans.
The DEQ’s Coastal Management Program also supports watershed
planning activities in the coastal zone, with a primary focus
on land use and habitat management, as a component of the state’s
Coastal Wetland and Nonpoint Source Strategy. Advanced planning
for the protection of wetland resources has also been carried
out in a number of watersheds across the state using federal demonstration
greatest challenge to a comprehensive program for the management
of wetlands in Michigan may be the sheer scope of wetland resources
in the state. There are an estimated 5.5 million acres of
wetlands in Michigan, covering roughly 16 percent of the land
area of the state, with a high percentage in private ownership. The diversity of wetland resources in Michigan is considerable,
ranging from relatively pristine conifer swamps and peatlands
in the Upper Peninsula, to Great Lakes coastal marshes that
have national/international significance for waterfowl production
and fish habitat, to rare remnants of lakeplain wet prairie
in the southern corners of the state -- to name only a few examples.
|The challenge of evaluating, monitoring,
and protecting this vast collection of aquatic resources from
a range of impacts including water quality degradation, use for
agriculture and forestry, and potential outright loss due to impacts
proposed under Section 404 is, simply put, enormous. Well integrated partnerships among a range of agencies and organizations
with interests in the protection of wetland resources are necessary
to address this challenge.
regarding regulatory issues is formalized in Memoranda of Agreement
between the DEQ and EPA, the DEQ and Detroit District Corps,
and a special agreement regarding determination of jurisdiction
on agricultural lands signed by the EPA, Corps, DEQ, and USDA
Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Michigan’s Coastal Management Unit is housed in part
within DEQ and Land and Water Management Division, providing
for routine and in-depth coordination with the Coastal Zone
Program. One full time
staff position in the DEQ is designated as the Section 404 Program
Coordinator. The State has also entered into formal agreements
with various sister agencies at the state level, including the
Departments of Natural Resources and Transportation. Coordination with local units of government that
administers wetland ordinances is required and defined by the
Wetland Protection Part.
On a more informal basis,
an interagency “Wetland Working Group”, including federal, state,
local, and non-governmental organizations actively involved
in wetland restoration and stewardship programs, meets regularly
to share information and coordinate non-regulatory wetland programs.
404 Program Coordinator
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Land and Water Management Division
P.O. Box 30458
Lansing, MI 48909
Wetlands and Submerged Lands Unit
Department of Environmental Quality
and Water Management Division
Coastal Management Program
Department of Environmental Quality
Environmental Science and Services Division
Guidebooks, Brochures, Websites, Other Educational
materials are available on the DEQ Wetland web page at www.michigan.gov/deqwetlands
Michigan Environmental Action Council. 1981. A Guide to Michigan's Watercourse and Wetland Protection Laws. Troy,
of the Mitt Watershed Council.
Michigan’s Wetlands: Options for Local Governments. Conway MI
Cwikiel. 1998. Living With Wetlands: A Landowner’s Guide. (Third Printing). Michigan
DEQ, U.S. EPA, and Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council.
|A Landscape of Homes & Wetlands. 1998. Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, Petoskey, MI.
Department of Natural Resources.
2001. Floristic Quality Assessment with Wetland Categories and Examples of Computer
Applications for the State of Michigan. 2nd Edition. MDNR
Wildlife Division, Lansing, MI.
|MDEQ 2001. Wetland
Mitigation Banking Handbook.
Land and Water Management Division, Lansing, MI.
2003. Michigan Wetlands,
Yours to Protect. (Third edition). Tip of the Mitt Watershed
Council, Petoskey, MI.
Katherine A. and Mark A. Wyckoff, FAICP,
2003. Filling the Gaps: Environmental Protection Options for Local Governments.
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Lansing MI.
|Dennis A. Albert, 2003. Between
Land and Lake: Michigan’s Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands. Michigan State University Extension – Michigan
Natural Features Inventory, East Lansing MI