A new wetland general permit that allows the city of Superior to continue a streamlined permitting process for development that has the potential to affect eligible wetlands is the subject of an environmental assessment and public comment period open through Dec. 17.
The proposed wetland general permit is triggered by the state’s 2012 wetland law changes, and essentially replaces the previous state authorization for projects in the Superior Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) with something very similar. Under the proposed general permit, development projects in SAMP areas can get their wetland permit decision more quickly if their project meets the standards and conditions set forth in the permit, which is designed to avoid or minimize harm to wetlands.
“The City of Superior has a unique landscape, and eighty-six percent of the undeveloped land within the city is wetlands. This SAMP wetland general permit will continue to allow reasonable economic development in the City of Superior, while protecting wetlands and providing consistency with the federal general permit,” says Heidi Kennedy, the DNR policy coordinator who led development of the general permit.
Since 1996, Superior has had a unique agreement with state and federal government regarding the review and permitting for projects that can impact wetlands. The agencies agreed to allow the City of Superior to conduct the review and permitting of the projects in the designated Superior Special Area Management Plan.
DNR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers review every project to ensure that the impacts to wetlands are avoided and minimized to the extent practicable, and both agencies oversee the compensatory wetland mitigation process administered by the City and its wetland mitigation banks, Kennedy says.
An environmental assessment has been prepared and is available for public review and comment. DNR does not anticipate the wetland general permit to cause significant adverse environmental effects and has made a preliminary determination that an environmental impact statement for the action to issue this statewide general permit is not necessary.
Press Release, November 18, 2013