Wetlands Conservation Act (WCA)
Wetlands Conservation Act was passed into law in 1991 (and amended in
1993, 1994, 1996 and 2000), with the purpose of:
- Achieving no net loss in the
quantity, quality and biological diversity of Minnesota’s existing
- Increasing the quantity,
quality and biological diversity of Minnesota’s wetlands by
restoring or enhancing diminished or drained wetland;
- Avoiding direct or indirect
impacts from activities that destroy or diminish the quantity,
quality, and biological diversity of wetlands; and
- Replacing wetland values where
avoidance of activities is not feasible and prudent.
Conservation Act achieves the purpose by requiring persons proposing to
impact a wetland by draining, excavating, or filling to first attempt to
avoid the impact; second, attempt to minimize the impact; and, finally,
replace any impacted area with another wetland of equal function and
value. This sequence of events is summarized as … AVOID, MINIMIZE or
units administer the Wetlands Conservation Act with oversight provided
by the Board of Soil & Water Resources.
Natural Resources Conservation Officers and other peace officers provide
enforcement of the act.
Functions – What do Wetlands Do?
Water quality - filtering of pollutants to surface and groundwater,
utilization of nutrients
that would otherwise pollute public waters, trapping of sediments,
shoreline protection, and utilization of the wetland as a recharge area
Flood and storm water retention;
Public recreation and education - hunting, fishing, wildlife
viewing, and natural areas;
Commercial uses - wild rice and cranberry growing and
Fish, wildlife, and native plant habitat;
Low flow augmentation; and
Other public uses.
information see the
Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) web site.