Taken from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s “Wetlands” web page, find below a summary of the threats and regulations that protect
What Are the Threats to Wetlands?
“The extent of wetland habitat was once controlled by natural processes. Marshes along the Great Lakes and drowned river mouth lakes vary in size, depending on rainfall trends and Great Lakes water levels. The natural filling of old glacial lakes with plant remains and sediment will create bog habitat. Eventually through continued succession, open water may be eliminated, replaced with a continuous sphagnum bog or a wet meadow. Floodplain swamps may shrink or increase with the normal changes in a river’s channel over time. Over the long term, such natural change is inevitable. Wetland areas in Michigan have been growing, shrinking and re forming according to natural cycles since the last Ice Age and before, and these cycles continue today.
“The last century has seen a greatly increased rate of wetland loss due to filling and drainage by man. Prior to World War 11, drainage to expand agricultural lands accounted for most of this loss. Recently, much wetland destruction has been caused by commercial, industrial, and residential expansion. The estimated 11 million acres of Michigan wetlands existing in pre settlement times has now been reduced to less than 3 million acres. Recent legislation has slowed the loss rate somewhat but threats to these habitats, particularly the smaller wetlands, continue in many areas.”
State and Federal legislation that regulates wetland use and alteration:
“Michigan’s Goemaere Anderson Wetland Protection Act, which is now Part 303, Wetlands Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended, is a State law that provides for the preservation and proper management of wetlands. It is administered by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). DEQ receives and reviews applications for permits for alterations, typically construction projects, in wetlands which fall under the jurisdiction of the legislation.
“Both of the following federal laws are administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In Michigan, the Section 404 federal authority associated with interior (inland) waters and wetlands was assumed in 1984 by the Goemaere Anderson Wetland Protection Act. Joint jurisdiction between MDNR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still exists in commercially navigable waters and wetlands contiguous to those waters.
“Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 is the section of a federal law which regulates construction in, over and under navigable waters. Regulatory jurisdiction extends landward to the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) including wetlands below the OHWM. Activities in these waters require a joint permit application, due to overlapping State and Federal authorities.
“Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1972 is the section of a Federal law which regulates the discharge of fill material into all “waters of the U.S.,” including wetlands.”
Further Michigan legislation that regulates wetland use and alteration:
“Part 17, Michigan Environmental Protection Act, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended, requires public and private organizations, as well as individuals, to prevent or minimize environmental degradation that is caused or is likely to be caused by certain activities. Its requirements are in addition to those provided by any other environmental law.
“Part 323, Shorelands Protection and Management, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended, designates certain wetlands adjacent to Great Lakes and connecting waterways as critical environmental areas, and requires application to the DEQ for permits for uses in these areas.
“Part 325, Great Lakes Submerged Lands, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended, regulates dredging, filling, and construction below the OHWM of the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair.
“Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended, regulates dredging, filling and construction, in, over, and below the OHWM of the state’s waters which typically includes adjacent shorelands and contiguous wetlands.
“The State of Michigan’s Floodplain Regulatory Authority, found in Part 31, Water Resources Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA), 1994 PA 451, as amended, requires that a permit be obtained prior to any alteration or occupation of the 100-year floodplain of a river, stream or drain. Wetlands are often found in floodplain areas due to the topography and inundation of water at certain times of the year.”
Source, State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment Website