Mary Podoll, NRCS state conservationist in North Dakota, says that farmers have a lot of the same initial questions about tiling and surface drainage. The following are some of the most common questions and her answers:
Q: What is the process to get a certified wetland determination?
A: To begin the process, stop at your USDA Service Center and sign an AD-1026 form at FSA indicating which fields you plan on tiling. FSA will forward the request to NRCS for processing. If you do not plan on installing tile at this time but wish to have a certified wetland determination completed by NRCS, you can sign the NRCS-CPA-038 form at the NRCS office. NRCS will then begin the certification process by reviewing off-site tools such as aerial photography, soil survey, Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetland Inventory maps, etc. NRCS will complete the wetland determination. You will be provided a hard copy of the map showing wetland locations. NRCS can also provide an electronic version of the map to assist the tile installer with tile set back distance. Tile set back distances will only be provided by NRCS after NRCS has received a design from the tile installer or the producer.
Q: Do I need to protect the wetland, or can I mitigate the wetlands impacted by tile installation?
A: You have the option to avoid wetland impacts by installing solid tile adjacent to the wetlands based on the set back distance or mitigating the wetlands. If mitigation is chosen, wetlands will be mitigated at a minimum of acre for acre.
If I select the mitigation option will NRCS develop the mitigation plan? No, unfortunately NRCS does not have the staff to assist in the development of a mitigation plan. You will either need to develop your own plan or hire a consultant to develop the plan for you.
Q: Can I purchase mitigation credits from a mitigation bank?
A: Yes, however, at this time, NRCS is not aware of any mitigation banks available in North Dakota to purchase credits.
Q: Can I purchase credits from a mitigation bank in another state?
A: Yes, however, the bank will need to be in the same watershed as the wetland impacted. The mitigation credit purchase must be approved by the NRCS State Conservationist.
Source: NRCS-North Dakota