Wetland Mitigation Compliance in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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The Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) is generally responsible for the implementation of federal Clean Water Act wetland regulations. It therefore plays an important role in the protection of wetlands within the United States. Unfortunately, past evaluators of ACE's implementation of these regulations found low rates of regulatory compliance. However, the fact that two states have taken responsibility for the implementation of these regulations within their boundaries provided the opportunity to assess whether one of these states might be doing a better job of enforcement. This paper reports on compliance with some of these regulations within one Michigan region. We evaluated permittee compliance with paperwork filing requirements related to wetland mitigation projects. Sixty-seven percent of county road commission permittees were out of compliance with at least one filing requirement. Forty percent of private and non-county government permittees were out of compliance. Our results therefore suggest that serious problems exist with Michigan's implementation of wetland regulations. They do not suggest that compliance in this state is significantly better than in states under ACE administration. We believe that increased agency monitoring and enforcement would improve compliance.

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Environmental Management