South Dakota Corn continues to monitor the state’s NRCS wetland determination process and its backlog as we look for ways to help farmers minimize their wait times.
As of August 14th, the current South Dakota NRCS wetland determination backlog was around 3,300. That number shows short-term progress as it is down from 3,600 in July and down from 3,500 as of August 1. Since October 1, 2012, NRCS has received 2,200 determination requests and has completed 2,100.
At the latest State Technical Committee meeting held on August 14th in Huron, NRCS State Conservationist Jeff Zimprich said the agency expects to complete as many wetland determinations as there were requested in their fiscal year, which ends September 30th. A positive trend in what has been a growing concern for so many farmers over the past several years.
How does the NRCS plan to further reduce the backlog? Re-organizing staff, leveling the backlog throughout the state and developing better working relationships with wetland determination consultants.
South Dakota NRCS has two new hires who will solely work with wetland consultants. Consultants play a big role in reducing the backlog and have completed the data for more than 500 determinations. The average turnaround time for determination work done by consultants is 23 days, which should become even shorter with the new hires.
Another measure to help with the backlog is a joint effort between South Dakota NRCS along with four other states to use a remote sensing lab data to help complete off-site work, speeding up the determination process. Zimprich noted that the satellite data has been of good quality and has improved process efficiency.
To view a list of wetland determination consultants available for hire, click here: