Who do I ask about the multi-acre marsh on my property? How do I know, and/or where do I find out what I am permitted to do with it? I would like to prevent it's spread and improve it for wildlife, if that's possible or legal. I don't know much about marshland besides what you see, and I would like to know my options. Thank you for any information, even if it's to tell me that you can't help me. Thanks again!
Jackson County Michigan
What you can do in or around your marshland, or what I will technically call a "wetland," depends on a few things: How large is your wetland, and does your local township have a wetland protection ordinance? Local communities can regulate wetlands that are smaller than 5 acres if they so choose, and typically have a permitting process described in their ordinance. Also, will your wetland fall under Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regulations? The DEQ regulates wetlands over 5 acres in size or wetlands that are connected to a waterbody among other criteria. This means that a permit would need to be pulled from your local township and/or DEQ if you change the shape of or begin moving dirt within or around the wetland area.
I recommend that you call your local township office or county drain commissioner's office to begin a conversation about your wetland improvement ideas. They will be able to provide specific local information to you and can direct you to the information you need. If you find out that a wetland permit is required, the first step in the process is to usually 'delineate' your wetland by hiring a local engineer to 'delineate' the wetland boundary lines on a map. The engineer will analyze the soils and vegetation in the area to ascertain where the wetland boundaries are located. After a 'delineation' is done, you will know the size and shape of your wetland. This is a critical step in planning for any wetland improvements.
Meanwhile, here is a link to help you gain more background knowledge:
Thank you for your inquiry.