Minnesota has an estimated 7.5 million total acres of peatlands with approximately 2,000 acres currently harvested for horticultural peat. Minnesota's horticultural peat industry provides significant economic benefit to the State, employing about 200 people and adding approximately $10 million anually to the rural economy. The NRRI Peat Group has been involved in the development of new, or expansion of existing horticultural peat harvesting operations since the mid-1980s. Recent examples include Berger’s Pine Island Bog development in Koochiching County and Premier’s Black Lake Bog expansion in Carlton County. Demand for the Peat Group’s assistance with environmental review and permitting for expansions and new operations is steadily increasing as environmental regulations become more stringent and complex. For more information, click here to view the Horticultural Peat Industry in Minnesota Powerpoint presentation.
Berger Horticultural Products, Ltd. of Quebec, Canada will harvest Sphagnum peat from the 840 acre Pine Island Bog located about 25 miles northwest of Big Falls in Koochiching County, Minnesota. This project is a cooperative effort between Berger Horticultural Products, Koochiching County, and UMD’s Natural Resources Research Institute. The development will impact only a fraction of Koochiching County’s one million-plus acres of peatlands and result in significant economic benefits for rural Koochiching County. At full production, the project will provide net benefits of $2 million annually including five full-time, year-round jobs and 40 full-time seasonal jobs. Lease fees and royalties to the State and County will average in excess of $100,000 per year. NRRI’s role was to facilitate the environmental review and permitting process by working with State and Federal permitting agencies on behalf of Berger and Koochiching County. A whole range of environmental issues was addressed in this process to insure that the project would have no significant detrimental effects on the area. These included water quality, rare plants and animals, and restoration of the site after harvesting ceases. Peat harvesting on the site is expected to begin in 2009.
Premier Horticulture, Inc. of Quebec, Canada has harvested Sphagnum peat from the Black Lake Bog located west of Cromwell, Minnesota since 1989. The NRRI Peat Group assisted Premier with the environmental review and permitting process to expand their 320-acre site by an additional 159 acres in 2005. NRRI continues to assist Premier with environmental review and permitting for another proposed 315-acre expansion at the Wright Bog located approximately two miles west of their current operation. Approximately 15 people are currently employed at the Black Lake Bog.
A number of new and emerging environmental issues are affecting Minnesota’s peat industry including water quality, in-kind restoration, temporal mitigation, financial assurance, and hydrologic monitoring. Even as these issues are addressed, the trend is towards increased peat mining regulations in the future. For more information...
For a complete list of puplications by NRRI Peat Group, click here.