Water board, DOT discuss mitigation procedures
By Daniel Arens
Even with their two major projects currently on hold, the Mercer County Water Board is still moving forward in pursuit of restoring wetland acres that can be used for project mitigation.
This mitigation plan involves an agreement between the water board and the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT). A mitigation bank can be managed by the NDDOT, and the acres of restored wetland in that bank can be used to compensate acres that are drained or diverted for projects elsewhere.
The NDDOT uses these acres to mitigate some of the impact that road projects around the state have on existing wetlands. However, the department can only use acres to mitigate projects in the same resource service area (RSA) of the state as the area where the project itself is.
The Southwest Slope RSA, in which Mercer County is located, is the only RSA where the NDDOT does not currently have a bank established. An agreement between the NDDOT and the county water board would establish the first bank in the area.