Michigan ranks third in the nation in blueberry production, growing more than 20 different varieties of blueberries annually. Currently, almost 21,000 acres of the state are devoted entirely to blueberries, yielding over 92 million pounds in the last year alone. Most of Michigan’s commercial blueberry production is located in southwest Michigan, where sandy, moist soils and high water tables result in excellent blueberry soils.
Blueberry production may involve unavoidable wetland impacts, and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) permit applicants generally have three option to compensate for lost wetlands: (1) on-site mitigation, (2) off-site mitigation, and (3) mitigation banking. On-site mitigation is the restoration or creation of wetlands by the permit holder within the project limits of the impacted wetlands. Similarly, off-site mitigation is the restoration or creation of wetlands by the permit holder at another site within the same watershed or ecoregion. Mitigation banking, on the other hand, involves the purchase of credits to offset the permitted impact to wetlands from an established wetland mitigation bank within the same watershed or ecoregion. This third option is the preferred method of mitigation under federal and state statutes.
The MMWA has planned for an estimated 100 acre credits of mitigation for the expansion of the blueberry industry over the next 20 years. With grant funds from the MDEQ and assistance from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), the MMWA is establishing a wetland mitigation bank site in southwest Michigan for blueberry growers who need to buy wetland mitigation bank credits. The MMWA will serve as the bank sponsor and the MDNR will build and maintain the wetland mitigation bank, which means that blueberry growers can rest assured that their wetland mitigation requirements have been properly fulfilled.
Credit Availability Maps
The MMWA will be establishing a wetland mitigation bank site to service blueberry growers in the following watershed and ecoregion:
Find out how the MMWA can help you
If you are a blueberry grower planning to expand your production, please contact the MMWA to determine if any MDEQ wetland mitigation bank credits are available in your watershed or ecoregion.