South Dakota Statewide Wetland Finding
Executive Order 11990 requires that, "Each agency, to the extent permitted by law, shall avoid undertaking or providing assistance for new construction located in wetlands unless the head of the agency finds (1) that there is no practicable alternative to such construction, and (2) that the proposed action includes all practicable measures to minimize harm to wetlands which may result from such use.
The State of South Dakota, particularly the prairie pothole region of the State, is literally dotted with small wetland areas. As a result, much of our existing highway system is located adjacent to, or through wetland areas.
At the same time, a large portion of the Federal-aid highway program in South Dakota is devoted towards the reconstruction of highways along their existing location and for bridge replacements with minor amounts of approach work necessary for the construction of the new bridges. Many of these types of projects require the use of small amounts of wetlands. Alternatives to these projects which will avoid the use of wetlands by construction on new alignments cannot be constructed to present day design standards, are prohibitively expensive, and/or result in extensive damage to the environment in upland areas, when compared to the proposal which requires the use of wetlands.
All of these types of projects are coordinated with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P), the United States Fish Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the South Dakota Department of Water and Natural Resources (DWNR).
Present design practices of the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) utilize design features to create wetlands within the existing right-of-way. Coordination with the USFWS and GF&P is also utilized to identify mitigation measures to minimize harm to wetlands, which will result in "no net loss of wetlands".
Therefore, in accordance with Section 2(a) of Executive Order 11990, the following findings have been determined:
- There is no practicable alternative to such construction, and,
- The proposed project includes all practicable measures to minimize harm to the wetlands which may result from such use, for all Federal-aid highway projects which meet all of the following conditions:
- The project is either a bridge replacement project or a highway reconstruction project.
- The site requires the use of less than one acre of wetland.
- The project has been coordinated with the GF&P, USFWS and DWNR, and they have not expressed significant concerns over the proposed wetland mitigation.
- All wetlands lost and attributable to the project will be replaced with equivalent wetland acreage to ensure "no net J.pss of wetlands".
South Dakota Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration