Online database helps property owners manage wetlands

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The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is now offering an online database designed to help farmers and ranchers in the state remain compliant with the Wetlands Conservation Act.

The Wetland Credits Database is intended to bring landowners who have extra wetland credits together with those who need them in order to make improvements to their property. Landowners can earn wetlands credits by creating new habitats to offset the loss of ecosystems, according to Ecosystem Marketplace. Farmers and other property owners can use the online database to obtain wetlands credits from others who have completed eligible projects. The principle behind the regulation and credit program is to avoid a net loss of habitat.

Online database helps connect landowners

The federal law was passed by Congress in 1989 as a way to preserve wildlife habitats for migratory birds and includes a voluntary incentive program through which landowners can restore or replace wetlands. Under the law, property owners cannot drain, fill in or otherwise alter a qualifying swamp, marsh or other habitat without offsetting the loss by creating a new wetland area.

“The Wetlands Credits Database brings together farmers to help them mitigate issues on their property,” North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “Farmers can obtain credits to modify their wetlands, and those selling credits can derive income from non-productive land.”

The state will not help broker deals between two parties who reach each other through the custom online database. Once the farmers and ranchers have made contact with each other through the online database, they will have the chance to work out an agreement between themselves and with the guidance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.