Wetland Conservation Act

Wetlands are transitional areas between terrestrial (upland) and aquatic areas where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water. Wetlands are typically saturated for part or all of the growing season, and support primarily vegetation that is adapted to saturated soil conditions.

Wetland Legislation

In 1991 the Minnesota Legislature approved the Wetland Conservation Act. The purpose of this legislation is to maintain and protect Minnesota’s wetlands and the benefits they provide, and to reach the legislature’s goal of no-net-loss of wetlands. This act is administered statewide by the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), enforced by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and administered locally by Mille Lacs County.

Interested in more information on how the Wetland Conservation Act regulates specific projects such as ponds, utilities, or agricultural drainage? Visit the WCA Program Guidance and Information page for project-specific information.

Citizen Requirements

Persons interested in filling, draining, excavating, disturbing, or who are otherwise are unsure of wetland boundaries, should contact the Environmental Resources Manager to discuss their project and permitting requirements prior to beginning construction.

Producers enrolled in the "farm program" with the U.S. Department of Agriculture may also have to follow applicable provisions of "Swampbuster" in accordance with the 1985 Food Security Act. While this is similar to the Wetland Conservation Act, it is important to note that there are some important differences, and regardless of whether or not an approval has been given under Swampbuster the requirements of the Wetland Conservation Act still apply. For more information on the interaction between these two programs please visit the BWSR Website.

Regardless of permit requirements, landowners must complete and submit a Landowner Statement and Contractor Responsibility Form (PDF) to the local government unit (Mille Lacs County) before hiring a contractor to perform any work in a wetland.