“Wetlands" means lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water. Historically wetlands were drained and filled for “development” throughout the nation.
In an effort to protect those wetlands remaining in the state, Minnesota passed the Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act. Benton County is mandated to administer this state law at the county level. The law regulates, often prohibiting, the draining, filling or excavation of wetlands, these rules are in addition regulations of other agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers, Farm Service Agency, etc. Permits are required for wetland activities in Benton County.
Wetland applications made to Benton County under the Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act are reviewed by a technical evaluation panel. The Technical Evaluation Panel or TEP is a statutorily designated committee of wetland professionals from various state and local agencies. The individual members comment on proposed wetland projects resulting in a recommendation to Benton County. Benton County has designated, by resolution, the Planning & Zoning Department as the party responsible for Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act decisions.