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Compensatory mitigation

Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust

The Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust (WWCT) is a wetland mitigation in-lieu fee (ILF) program sponsored and administered by the Wisconsin DNR. Through the sale of WWCT credits, the WWCT can satisfy a permittee’s or exemption request-project proponent’s legal responsibility to purchase wetland mitigation credits specified by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and DNR wetland authorizations. The WWCT Program utilizes the funds generated from credit sales to implement wetland restoration projects to help offset the wetland impacts resulting from permitted projects. Visit WWCT Grants for information on applying for funding for wetland restoration projects.

What is an in–lieu fee program?

An ILF program involves the restoration, establishment, enhancement and/or preservation of aquatic resources through funds paid to a government or non-profit natural resources management entity to satisfy compensatory mitigation requirements of permits. An ILF program sells credits to permittees and project proponents whose legal obligation to provide compensatory mitigation is then transferred to the sponsor of the ILF program (in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin DNR). The WWCT ILF Program provides an additional option for satisfying compensatory mitigation obligations. In some cases, the WWCT Program could provide wetland mitigation credits in areas where no other mitigation credits are currently available.

ILF programs are regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the 2008 Federal Rule (33 CFR part 332) [exit DNR], as well as a legal agreement termed the Program Instrument [PDF] that describes how the program will function.

Where is the program offered?

The WWCT Program is available throughout the entire state of Wisconsin. The state is broken into 12 separate Service Areas based on watersheds consistent with those utilized for mitigation banking and permittee responsible mitigation.

Service areas

How do I purchase credits?

A permittee may satisfy their wetland mitigation permit requirement by purchasing either Advanced or Released Credits from the WWCT Program. Advanced Credits are defined as those credits associated with an approved ILF program that are available for sale prior to the completion and approval of a mitigation project. Released Credits are defined as those credits that are generated and subsequently released from a Corps-approved completed mitigation project. The number of Advanced Credits available to the sponsor at any given time to sell in a given Service Area is equal to the number of Advanced Credits specified in the Instrument, minus any that have already been provided but not yet fulfilled. Therefore, the WWCT Program will most likely be offering Advanced Credits the majority of the time. Permittees interested in purchasing credits should follow the process detailed under the Individual Permit (IP) Wetland Mitigation Process [PDF].

The quantity of available advanced credits is assigned individually to each Service Area as detailed in the following table.

Available advanced credits:

(last updated on June 6, 2018)

Please email the Wetland in–lieu fee coordinator below for an updated credit availability ledger if required as part of an individual permit application.
Service area Authorized advanced credits Advanced credits sold/invoiced Released credits fulfilled Available advanced credits
Upper Miss–Black Root 50 33.12 0 16.88
NW Lake Mich 100 40.79 0 59.21
SW Lake Mich 60 39.65 0 20.35
Fox 55 50.40 0 4.60
Upper IL* 100 59.84 0 40.16
Lower WI 40 28.12 0 11.88
Upper Miss–Maq. Plum 30 0 0 30
Rock 90 8.95 0 81.05
St. Croix 30 3.64 0 26.36
Upper WI 100 20.2 0 79.8
Chippewa 50 11.29 0 38.71
Lake Superior 75 25.15 0 49.85

* Of the 100 credits available in this service area, up to 70 of those credits are earmarked to mitigate wetland impacts within an Electronics and Information Technology Manufacturing Zone, as designated in Chapter 238.396 (1m) Wis. Stats.

Credit fee schedule

The credit fee charged is determined by the sponsor and a fee schedule will be maintained for each Service Area for 2017 as detailed in Table 10 of the WWCT Annual Report [PDF]. The credit fee takes into account the expected costs associated with administration of the program, project selection, design, planning, engineering, acquisition, implementation, contingency, monitoring and long term management of WWCT projects. The sponsor reserves the right to alter the credit fee annually going forward as well as have different credit fees in each service area to account for variable costs such as land values.

WWCT wetland mitigation projects

To compensate for the wetland impacts that require purchase of mitigation credits, the WWCT Program utilizes revenue generated through the sale of those credits to fund wetland restoration projects within the Service Area of the permitted impacts. Visit WWCT Grants for information about applying for a grant for a wetland restoration project, or contact the ILF Program Coordinator.

The WWCT operates two sub-programs to find restoration projects: its “standard” program and the newly-promulgated WWCT State Lands Grant Program. The 2017 Wisconsin Act 183 requires the creation of this new, separate grant program for wetland compensatory mitigation by 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations on lands owned or eased by the Department. The application process will be the same for both sub-programs; applicants applying for the WWCT State Lands Grant Program must show proof of their 501(c)(3) status and that the project area is owned or eased by the Department. Details of the new WWCT State Lands Grant Program will be provided here in late 2018. Please contact the In-lieu Fee Coordinator for more information.

Helpful resources

Contact information
For further information regarding the wetland in-lieu fee program, contact:
Josh Brown
In-lieu Fee Coordinator
Last revised: Wednesday June 27 2018