The South Dakota Natural Resources Conservation Service continues to be proactive in lessening the enormous backlog of wetland determinations lying in wait in South Dakota.
According to South Dakota’s acting State Conservationist, Paul Flynn, “Producers who indicate to USDA that they will ONLY be conducting maintenance activities will be informed they can proceed without delay and without any additional evaluation or investigation by NRCS.”
While the standard AD-1026 paperwork will still need to be filled out, this alteration will relieve around 1300 current wetland determinations, which represent around 25% of the total determination backlog load.
Flynn explains “This is not a change in policy; it is a clarification of policy that has been in place since 2006. This clarification means two significant things for producers,” Flynn says, “First, producers are being given the ‘go ahead’ to determine on their own when the activity they are planning is maintenance, or not. Secondly, producers have the responsibility for ensuring that the activity they are going to do is actually maintenance.”
Flynn encourages producers with wetlands to read the maintenance fact sheet to become familiar with the rules and responsibilities. “If there are folks out there who are still uncertain if their drainage maintenance activities on an existing system meet the requirements defined as maintenance, they should contact their local NRCS office.”
You can find the NRCS Wetland Conservation Compliance Maintenance Exemption Fact Sheet on our website at: http://www.sdcorn.org/documents/publications/DOC043012.pdf