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Wisconsin Agricultural Mitigation Bank


Agricultural wetland mitigation banking is the restoration of wetlands to mitigate unavoidable impacts to wetlands as a result of farming activities. The Wisconsin Agricultural Mitigation Bank (WAMB) allows farmers an easy way to offset their farming impacts to wetlands and stay in compliance with Food Security Act programs. The WAMB supports the development and establishment of mitigation sites in Wisconsin to make credits available for purchase by farmers to mitigate for their wetland impacts. The DNR administers the WAMB for the USDA NRCS Wetland Mitigation Banking Program.

Conservation compliance provisions for wetlands, known as Swampbuster, aim to remove certain incentives to produce agricultural commodities on converted wetlands. Farmers seeking benefits through most USDA programs must meet conservation compliance by completing form AD-1026, affirming they will not drain, dredge, or fill wetlands in order to grow commodity crops. In situations where wetland avoidance or on-site mitigation is challenging, the NRCS allows for the purchase of credits from a mitigation bank to offset those impacts.

Eligible Wetland Impacts from Agricultural Activities

In Wisconsin, there are three major laws governing wetland protections, the federal Food Security Act of 1985, the federal Clean Water Act, and s. 281.36, Wis. Stats. The WAMB operates under NRCS authority and is only intended to be used to mitigate for wetland impacts authorized under the Food Security Act of 1985. Farmers should work with the DNR and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure their wetland impacts do not require state wetland mitigation under s. 281.36, Wis. Stats., or federal wetland mitigation under the Clean Water Act before electing to purchase credits from the WAMB. To mitigate for eligible wetland impacts, farmers may choose to purchase credits from an established WAMB mitigation site.

Available Credits and Request for Credit Purchase

Farmers may request to purchase credits from the WAMB when credits are available. Credits must be purchased in the WAMB service area (Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, or Mississippi River) where the wetland impacts occur. Please review the full credit sale process below before submitting a credit purchase request. See map below to locate WAMB service areas and available credits. Credit prices are established by the Credit Holder, with no involvement from NRCS or DNR.

  • Request for Credit Purchase Form (coming soon)

*Note - Credits will likely not be available until 2024 when the first mitigation projects are completed.

WAMB service areas
Service Area Credits Available

Typical Process for Purchasing Credits

  1. A farmer participant desires to use WAMB to purchase credits to offset wetland impacts resulting from an agricultural activity that impacts a wetland.
  2. Farmer contacts the DNR and USACE to ensure the impacts do not require other federal or state wetland permits (i.e., only NRCS authorization is required).
  3. Farmer contacts NRCS about the need for a certified wetland determination. NRCS will share compliance options, including purchase of credits from the WAMB.
  4. If farmer chooses to purchase mitigation credits, NRCS performs a functional assessment to determine credit requirements. NRCS provides farmer with DNR contact information.
  5. Farmer completes the WAMB credit application and includes their certified wetland determination and functional assessment.
  6. DNR reviews credit application and, if accepted, provides a list of eligible Credit Holders. If an application is not accepted, DNR will inform the participant and NRCS.
  7. Participant contacts an eligible credit holder to inquire about the potential sale. If an acceptable sale price can be determined, the credit holder sends an invoice to the participant for payment.
  8. When payment is complete, the Credit Holder issues a credit affidavit to farmer, NRCS, and DNR.
  9. Credit affidavit submittal to NRCS completes the mitigation requirements and farmer liability.

Submit an Agricultural Mitigation Site Application

The WAMB currently has funding available to implement two agricultural wetland mitigation projects and is accepting mitigation site applications to identify these two sites. Applications will be reviewed monthly until two mitigation projects have been selected. DNR anticipates selecting projects in spring of 2024, with anticipated construction in fall 2024.

Before applying

All prospective applicants are encouraged to discuss their project with WAMB staff before submitting an application. Please review the WAMB factsheet for partners and the WAMB Overview documents for further information on contracts, design, and implementation of a WAMB funded project.

Please contact Nathan Dhuey, WAMB Program Coordinator.


WAMB Mitigation Site Application Form

Applications will only be accepted using the 'Submit by email…' button and the corresponding instructions described on page 1 of the WAMB Mitigation Site Application.

Before starting an application, please contact Nathan Dhuey, WAMB Program Coordinator, for more information.

If you are having problems opening the application form, please visit PDF help.

Proposal Review

Proposals are reviewed on a monthly basis. The WAMB will take up to 30 days from the first of each month to review applications. Selected proposals are generally subject to NRCS review and approval prior to the creation of an MOU for the project. Below is the scoring criteria used for applications. An application must score a minimum of 70/100 to be eligible for selection.

WAMB Mitigation Site Application Scoring Criteria Maximum Score
Project Description: The proposal demonstrates the ability to result in a successful and sustainable net gain and preservation of wetland functional values and area consistent with WAMB project timelines. 30
Funding Source: Project is expected to be fully funded through grant dollars or additional non-restrictive funds are available to complete project. Described costs are cost-efficient and appropriate. 5
Ecological Suitability: Physical and biological characteristics of the site lends itself to a high likelihood of project success. Hydric soils and/or a high proportion of the site is mapped potentially restorable wetlands. Invasive species aren't present or adequately addressed 20
Hydrology: hydrology present on-site is adequate for supporting wetlands once restored. Artificial drainage features can be disabled without negatively impacting neighboring properties. 20
Ownership and Long Term Management: Project land is free of any easements or restrictions that will limit restoration. The project has identified an entity responsible for long term management and general strategy is sufficient. Restoration will require minimum maintenance of structures to sustain objectives. 10
Site Protection: Landowners are willing to protect the site in perpetuity through a conservation easement, which will be held by the DNR.  5
Credit Holder: Proposal has identified a credit holder for the site and has adequately addressed that credit holder's qualifications for selling credits.