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Superior City Council raises price of wetland mitigation credits

The cost of mitigating wetlands is going up in Superior for projects permitted through the city's Special Area Management Plan (SAMP), and all other permitted projects.

The Superior City Council on Tuesday, May 7, approved increasing the cost for SAMP-related credits from $12,000 per credit to $15,000 per credit. All other permitted projects that use Superior's mitigation bank increase from $20,000 to $30,000.

It's the first price adjustment the city has made in five years and were increased to ensure the city is covering operational costs for the mitigation bank.

Despite the increase, the city's rates fall far below the cost of mitigation through the state, which charges anywhere from $59,000 per credit in the Lake Superior region up to $62,000 per credit depending on where the project is located.

Roughly 80% of the undeveloped land in the city is wetland, making permitting and mitigation a routine part of most development projects.

Through the city's SAMP, the city is authorized to issue permits for projects impacting wetlands, provided the impacts are mitigated, which is typically done by constructing new or restoring old wetlands in the Lake Superior watershed within Douglas County.

The mitigation banks are developed in advance of any wetland impacts incurred by development, which generates credits that can be used over time.

In early April, the Council awarded a bid to Northland Constructors to create a new wetland mitigation bank on Moonshine Road in the town of Amnicon. The cost of the project is $724,961.80, the low bid.

The project will re-establish wetlands on a 107-acre hayfield on Wentworth Road, near Moonshine Road. Construction is expected to begin when spring road restrictions are lifted and must be complete by mid-June.