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Please see http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov for the production version.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill makes changes to wetland mitigation requirements and requirements
for mitigation banks.
Wetland mitigation program. Under current law, DNR must issue wetland
general permits for discharges of dredged or fill material into certain wetlands and
may require a person to apply for and obtain a wetland individual permit if DNR
determines that conditions specific to the site require additional restrictions on the
discharge in order to provide reasonable assurance that no significant adverse
impacts to wetland functional values will occur. Under current law, before DNR may
issue a wetland individual permit, it must require the restoration, enhancement,
creation, or preservation of other wetlands to compensate for adverse impacts to a
wetland resulting from the discharge, also known as mitigation.
Under current law there are three methods by which wetland mitigation may
be accomplished: 1) purchasing credits from a mitigation bank located in this state;
2) participating in the in lieu fee subprogram; or 3) completing mitigation within the
same watershed or within one-half mile of the site of the discharge.
This bill changes all of these options by limiting credit purchases to only a
mitigation bank located in the same compensation search area as the wetland

impacted by the discharge, if available, and limiting any mitigation completed under
the in lieu fee subprogram or by the permittee to the same compensation search area
as the wetland impacted by the discharge. Under the bill, a compensation search
area is an area that includes the geographic management unit of a wetland impacted
by a discharge, the county of the impacted wetland, and a 20-mile radius from the
impacted wetland. Under the bill, a geographic management unit is one of the 22
statewide management units established by DNR based on the major river basins
of the state.
Mitigation banks. One method under current law by which wetland
mitigation may be accomplished is by purchasing credits from a mitigation bank
located in this state. Under current law, a mitigation bank is a system of accounting
for wetland loss and compensation that includes one or more sites where wetlands
are restored, enhanced, created, or preserved to provide credits to be subsequently
applied or purchased in order to compensate for adverse impacts to other wetlands.
Under current law DNR must approve the establishment of a mitigation bank.
This bill requires DNR to establish by rule financial assurance requirements
for the construction of mitigation projects by mitigation banks. The bill also
establishes the means by which a mitigation bank that has not yet completed
construction of a mitigation project and has not been approved by DNR (developing
mitigation bank) may sell its estimated credits, or the credits that the mitigation
bank estimates it will have once the mitigation project is complete. Under the bill,
a developing mitigation bank may sell these credits if it is in compliance with DNR's
financial assurance requirements and if it follows a specific schedule for release of
the credits that is established in the bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB956,1 1Section 1. 281.36 (1) (ae) of the statutes is created to read:
AB956,2,42 281.36 (1) (ae) “Compensation search area” means an area that includes the
3geographic management unit of a wetland impacted by a discharge, the county of the
4impacted wetland, and a 20-mile radius from the impacted wetland.
AB956,2 5Section 2. 281.36 (1) (be) of the statutes is created to read:
AB956,2,86 281.36 (1) (be) “Geographic management unit" means one of the 22 statewide
7management units established by the department based on the major river basins
8of the state.
AB956,3 9Section 3. 281.36 (3r) (a) 1. of the statutes is amended to read:
AB956,3,3
1281.36 (3r) (a) 1. Purchasing credits from a mitigation bank located in the same
2compensation search area as the wetland impacted by the discharge or, if not
3available, located anywhere
this state.
AB956,4 4Section 4. 281.36 (3r) (a) 3. of the statutes is amended to read:
AB956,3,75 281.36 (3r) (a) 3. Completing mitigation within the same watershed or within
6one-half mile of the site of the discharge
compensation search area as the wetland
7impacted by the discharge
.
AB956,5 8Section 5. 281.36 (3r) (e) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB956,3,229 281.36 (3r) (e) As part of the mitigation program established under par. (a), the
10department may establish an in lieu fee subprogram, under which payments are
11made to the department or another entity for the purposes of restoring, enhancing,
12creating, or preserving wetlands or other water resource features. The subprogram
13must be approved by the U.S. army corps of engineers. The department shall
14establish requirements for calculating the in lieu fee payments. The department
15shall require that all mitigation under the in lieu fee program be completed within
16the same compensation search area as the wetland impacted by the discharge.
Under
17the in lieu fee subprogram, the wetlands that benefit from the subprogram shall be
18open to the public for hunting, fishing, trapping, cross-country skiing, or hiking or
19any combination thereof, but the department may establish reasonable restrictions
20on the use of the land by the public in order to protect public safety or to protect a
21unique plant or animal community. The subprogram shall be consistent with federal
22regulations.
AB956,6 23Section 6. 281.36 (3t) (g) of the statutes is created to read:
AB956,3,2524 281.36 (3t) (g) Financial assurance requirements for the construction of
25mitigation projects by mitigation banks.
AB956,7
1Section 7. 281.36 (3w) of the statutes is created to read:
AB956,4,22 281.36 (3w) Release of credits. (a) In this subsection:
AB956,4,63 1. “Developing mitigation bank” means a mitigation bank that has not
4completed its mitigation project and that has not yet been established under an
5agreement between the bank's sponsor and the department or otherwise approved
6by the department.
AB956,4,87 2. “Estimated credits” means the total number of credits that a developing
8mitigation bank estimates it will have once its mitigation project is constructed.
AB956,4,129 (b) A developing mitigation bank may sell its estimated credits if the mitigation
10bank has met the financial assurance requirements established by the department
11under sub. (3t) (g) and if the mitigation bank releases the credits in accordance with
12the following schedule:
AB956,4,1513 1. No more than 20 percent of the estimated credits after the department
14approves and executes the mitigation bank document establishing the specifications
15for the mitigation bank.
AB956,4,1816 2. No more than 65 percent of the estimated credits after the applicant or bank
17sponsor is issued a letter of compliance that construction and all corrective actions
18are complete.
AB956,4,2119 3. No more than 85 percent of the estimated credits after the department
20approves a monitoring report, but not earlier than 2 years after construction of the
21mitigation project.
AB956,4,2422 4. 100 percent of the estimated credits after the department approves the final
23monitoring report and determines that all performance standards applicable to the
24mitigation bank are met.
AB956,4,2525 (End)
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