NRRI  >  Wetland Banking Fens Research Facility

Last Update Thu Sep 4 07:40:00 CDT 2014

Wetland Banking Fens Research Facility

Objective Progress / Results

To restore most of the effectively drained fields at the Fens Research Facility (Fens) to a variety of wetland types so new wetland credits can be deposited into a state wetland bank for future withdrawal as wetland mitigation credits.In January 2014, BWSR approved all 454.1 acres of new wetland credit contracted through three Joint Powers Agreements between NRRI/UM and BWSR. This concluded the establishment and monitoring of the banks, and it triggered the final payment for the agreements. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has approved 334.1 acres of these NWC, and NRRI is continuing the application process for release of the remaining 120.0 acres. The Corps and NRRI have signed Mitigation Banking Instruments (MBI) for perpetual care of the 334.1 Corps approved acres. An MBI is in final stages of preparation and review for the remaining 120.0 acres. A 22.12 acre wetland bank (Bank V) at the Fens, developed solely by NRRI/UMD, has been approved by BWSR, and approval is being sought also by the Corps. Bank V will have 14.26 acres of BWSR and Corps approved new wetland credits, and 7.952 acres of BWSR-only approved credits. Also, routing maintenance was done on the facility and equipment as the field season ended.


For about 100 years, the Fens has been used for agriculture, horticulture, fuel peat production, and peatland research. The peat soils have been intensively drained. With recent demand for wetland mitigation credits, the Fens became a candidate for peatland restoration. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) approached NRRI about establishing numerous wetland banks at the Fens. After lengthy review, five banks are in the process of being established. A variety of wetland types are being established. New wetland credits (NWC) are being deposited into BWSR wetland banks. NWC are used for wetland replacement mitigation following loss of wetlands as a result of road construction in Northeast Minnesota.

Previous Activity / Results

In 2002 and 2005, the University of Minnesota (UM) entered into agreements with BWSR and Mn/DOT to restore 333.2 acres of drained peatlands for NWC at the Fens. Under the 2002 and 2005 agreements, land was cleared, vegetation was killed, and the soil was rototilled. Subsequently, ditches were filled, the land leveled and donor material (plant fragments) from nearby bogs was gathered and spread at the Fens. Water wells and vegetation plots were monitored, and herbicide was sprayed on invasive species in August and September of each year since bank establishment. In 2008, UM entered into another agreement with BWSR to restore 145.4 acres of drained peatlands for NWC at the Fens. In 2009, construction and establishment of monitoring sites followed the same process as that for the 2002 and 2005 agreements.

Start Date 05/01/2001
End Date 12/31/2015

Principal Investigator

Thomas Malterer PI

Steven Hauck PI