The interpretation and enforcement of the Wetlands Protection Act by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has resulted in saving valuable wetlands, but has also placed a disproportionate burden on some landowners.
We support the changes made to the Wetlands Protection Act under PA 98 of 2013 to retain federally delegated authority of the Clean Water Act Section 404 Program. The new law provides many reforms that will impact agriculture, including:
We support the regulation of a wetland if it meets the same criteria as based on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 1987 Delineation Manual and Regional Supplements.
The DEQ has completed the wetland inventory throughout the state. Michigan Farm Bureau is concerned the inventory includes wetlands that do not meet the new wetland delineation standards. The inventory should not be used for regulatory purposes.
We recommend the following:
DEQ should recognize the section of the Wetlands Protection Act that finds wetlands to be valuable as an agricultural resource for the production of food and fiber, including certain crops which may only be grown on sites developed from wetlands.