Wetland Permitting

So, what do I need to do if I am working in or near a wetland area?

If the project area is determined to include a wetland, you must fill out a project notification form for altering a wetland.

If the project area is determined to include a wetland, you must fill out a project notification form for altering a wetland.

  • Determine if the land you want to alter is a wetland. Remember, an area can be wetland even if it doesn't hold standing water. The WCD may be able to help with the identification, or you may need to contact a private consultant.
  • Contact the WCD Wetland Specialist at (651) 330-8220 x.20. As the "clearing-house" for wetland information, the WCD can either give you the wetland information you need, or direct you to the correct office for finding the information.
  • If the project area is determined to include a wetland, you must fill out a project notification form for altering a wetland. The WCD can provide you with a copy of a general form and help you determine where the application must be sent for local, state, and federal permitting.

It is important that you begin your planning process early. Proper planning and review takes time. Design with nature; consider where the wetlands are, and weigh the environmental impact and financial cost of disturbing them.

Who might be involved in permitting a wetland alteration?

Remember: Actions authorized under one agency's rules do not guarantee approval under the other laws.

Washington Conservation District

Most wetland alteration applications will be submitted to the WCD for review and comments. The extent of the review will depend on the type of alteration being proposed, but in general, the WCD focuses on applications being in conformance with the Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act (WCA). Our involvement supports the designated local government units who administer and implement the WCA. More information on the WCA can be found at www.bwsr.state.mn.us or contact the WCD Wetland Specialist at (651) 330-8220 with specific questions.

Local Government Units, Watershed Districts, and Washington County

Many local communities and watershed districts have ordinances and require permits for earthwork in or around wetlands or other water bodies. Besides the permitting authority for WCA, many communities and watershed districts have separate review processes for any project concerning water resources. This is in addition to the general grading permit required from the County or municipality for any earthwork. The standards or requirements vary among the communities.

Corps of Engineers

In early 2000, the Corps of Engineers changed their permit program in Minnesota to align more closely with the state law (WCA). While both agencies will need to review wetland permit applications, this should result in simplification since the requirements and standards between the programs are similar.

Information on Corps of Engineers permit program can be found at www.mvp.usace.army.mil.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

If the area you are thinking of altering is part of, or adjacent to, a waterbody on the DNR's Protected Waters Inventory, the application will need to be sent to that agency. They will determine whether a DNR permit is needed, and often provide comments to the other permitting agencies.

Information on DNR permits for Protected Waters and Wetlands can be found at www.dnr.state.mn.us.