SER has performed replacement wetland monitoring for projects in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.
As part of the Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) monitoring requirements for Minnesota, our services routinely include three annual site visits and annual documentation of our findings during the compulsory five-year monitoring period. Other states have different monitoring requirements (e.g., Iowa requires one visit during a three-year monitoring period).
During our field visits, we record the monitoring data required by the Army Corps of Engineers or the local government unit (LGU) who deals with wetland issues in your area – usually the city, county, or watershed district.
This data includes wetland type classification (we follow methods described by Cowardin et al. 1979, and by Shaw and Fredine 1956, the two most common methods), hydrology measurements, and percent coverage of dominant wetland species. Color photographs from fixed photo reference points are also taken.
A detailed report is prepared annually, following the last site visit. This report summarizes data found during the site visit and compares current wetland conditions with the as-built specifications noted in your Replacement Plan Application. In addition, the report will discuss any problems we have found with the formation of wetland characteristics, corrective actions and management activities performed during the previous year and their effectiveness, and corrections planned for the upcoming year. These reports will adhere to the suggested guidelines for wetland monitoring reports as recommended by your LGU or the Army Corps of Engineers.
At the end of the mandatory monitoring period, a wetland delineation will be performed to determine the size of the mitigation areas that have adequately met federal wetland criteria. We recommend a measurement of the wetland area using our sub-meter accurate GPS system.
Results of this delineation will be addressed in the last annual report. We will work with you to make sure you have received the necessary documentation stating that you have met wetland creation requirements for your project.
On some occasions, your monitoring period may be extended by your LGU. However, almost all wetlands that SER have monitored have met wetland creation requirements at or before the end of the mandatory monitoring period.