BLAINE, Minn. – (May 25, 2018) – Last week the Blaine City Council passed a resolution committing the city to continuing the existing wetland restoration plan at the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary. The plan will restore hundreds of acres within the large open space sanctuary to active wetlands.
“Currently the city is working on an additional 170 some acres of wetland restoration to creat additional wetland credits,” said Blaine water resources manager Rebecca Haug.
Whenever a development negatively impacts existing wetlands the developer needs to mitigate the damage. There are a couple of ways to complete the mitigation.
“They need to ethier replace the wetland onsite with the same type of wetland or they can purchase from what is called a wetland bank which is what the city is creating here,” said Haug.
With the creation of a wetland bank at the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary the city estimates that developers will buy up $7 million worth of wetland credits at current market conditions.
“The money would go to maintain city open spaces,” said Haug.
There are several different regulatory agencies that have oversight of the wetland restoration. There are many different qualifications that need to be met in order for the wetland bank to be authorized. As a part of the restoration plan that was put into place in 2012 the city has identified several non-native species that need to be removed from the area to allow the native seed bank to be restored. As a part of the restoration the city removed several trees last winter causing outcry from some in the adjacent neighborhood. But, with the action of the city council last week the tree removal will continue.
“The trees are not native to this area…in the winter time the additional trees will be cut and removed,” said Haug.
According to the city the tree removal has always been a part of the restoration plan. Through the process some residents has become supportive of the restoration while others continue to be opposed.
“[The] city will continue to work with them and keep open lines of communication and answer any questions that they have,” said Haug.
Complete restoration of the wetlands, which started last year, is expected to take about five years. Future plans also include an onsite nature center and additional trails to the south.