Loren Benz Wetland

Minnesota | Water

Overview

ISG worked with the Faribault County Drainage Authority and a private landowner to develop a wetland restoration that was beneficial to the public ditch, water quality of the watershed, and had monetary compensation for the landowner.


Opportunity

A multi-purpose water management solution was required when aging drainage tile and ditches failed and caused routine and excessive flooding on local farmland.

Solution

Upon site investigation, ISG found that repairs to the drainage tile and ditch were not possible due to subsided soil and exposed tile. The damage was causing recurrent flooding and needed to be addressed. Working with the landowner and the Faribault County Drainage Authority, ISG proposed wetland banking as the solution. This allowed for water storage on the landscape as well as restored habitat and monetary compensation, in the form of wetland banking credits, for the landowner.

The wetland restoration included disabling the existing tile, installing a water control outlet structure, completing a large-scale planting with native seed mixes unique to the wetland’s diverse ecosystem, and installing an upland buffer with native prairie vegetation. The combination of hydrology and vegetation restoration allowed the site to return to pre-European settlement conditions. As a result of restoring the landscape, water quality and storage increased by storing and filtering excess water from the upstream watershed, habitat was established for local wildlife and pollinators, and the landowner benefited from selling the wetland credits.

The restoration covered 154-acres and resulted in 92-acres of wetland (shallow marsh, deep marsh, and wet meadow), 62-acres of upland vegetation, and peak flow reductions of 60-93%. A portion of the wetland credits were released when the restoration was complete, and the remaining are scheduled to be released during the five-year monitoring phase. Even though it is still in the monitoring phase, wetland credits have already been sold, and more are expected to be released in the years to come.


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