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Wetland Symposium

The North Dakota Department of Transportation's Wetland Mitigation Process


PATSY J. CROOKE AND LEON F. ECKROTH

North Dakota Department of Transportation, 608 East Boulevard Avenue, Bismarck, ND 58501-0700

As mitigation for highway construction impacts, wetlands are replaced by the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) on a one-to-one, type-for-type basis. The Department began mitigating for wetland impacts in the late 1970's, about the time Executive Order 11990, the Protection of Wetlands, was issued. Approximately 324 ha of wetlands, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) easment and non-easement wetlands have been mitigated since that time. Mitigation features include ditch blocks, borrow areas where wetland creation occurs, or ditch grade expansions where excavations alongside or connected to natural basin wetlands are performed. Ditch blocks are no longer used as mitigation features since they are not as permanent as other types of mitigation.

Restoration of previously-drained wetlands has become the preferred method of wetland mitigation by NDDOT. Drained wetlands located on public lands, such as FWS or ND Game and Fish Department lands, are considered prime candidates for mitigation because they have permanent protection status and restoration costs are low.

The NDDOT mitigation process is used for project identification and to monitor wetlands after construction.


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