Stay on Track: Three Tips from our Wetland Permitting Specialists

Our nation’s wetlands are an important natural resource.

They are home to a variety of plant and animal species. They remove phosphorous and other pollutants from stormwater runoff, recharge our groundwater supply and serve many other lesser-known but equally critical functions, like increasing our flood resiliency. It’s not a surprise that much work is done on the federal, state and local levels to protect these resources.

But all these intricate wetland regulations created to protect our wetlands can be difficult to understand and navigate. As a result, many of our clients encounter unexpected twists, turns and surprises on their infrastructure projects (related to inadequate or insufficient data) that prevent permits from being authorized.

The following are three wetland permitting tips to keep in mind on your next infrastructure project.

Whether providing environmental permitting to stabilize an urban stream bank or securing expedited permitting for an emergency bridge reconstruction, SEH permitting specialists can help.

#1: Look upstream and downstream

Are you aware of all the aquatic resources being impacted by your project? Do you know which aquatic resources are connected upstream and downstream? Your area of impact might be greater than you think, resulting in the need for more permits. Regulatory agencies update requirements on a regular basis — and small oversights can cause big delays — so be thorough and keep stakeholders informed of your progress.

#2: Be an early bird

This is critical. Regulatory agencies may increase permit review time when aquatic resources (lakes, wetlands or streams) are affected. While the actual time frame varies from state to state, even year to year, be safe and submit your application early — anywhere from eight months to a year — or you might stall your project or worse: lose your funding.

#3: Seek assistance

If ever there’s a time to ask for outside advice, it’s at the pre-design phase or before you are about to embark on a major project. The advantages of having a permitting expert guide your application through timely regulatory review and permitting far outweigh the costs of redesign and complex agency negotiations.


SEH regularly provides pre-application consultations to help our clients streamline the permitting and agency approvals process to keep your projects on track.

The SEH natural resources team is providing comprehensive wetland banking services for the Lake Superior Wetland Bank. These services include wetland restoration and construction plans, hydrologic monitoring and watershed analysis, flora and fauna surveys, and soils research. At more than 23,000 acres, this site is the largest wetland bank in Minnesota.

In addition to wetland science, the SEH natural resources team brings experience in botany, soil science, forestry, wildlife, fisheries, macroinvertebrate ecology, threatened and endangered species, reclamation science and restoration ecology.

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