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Middle South Platte River

Middle South Platte River Wetland Mitigation Bank

80.55 acres restored, 62.64 mitigation credits

Wetland Banker:

Middle South Platte River Wetlands, LLC

Developed by:

Land and Water Resources, Inc. (LAWR)

Land Owner:

Land and Water Resources, Inc.


Fully Built & Credits Released

LAWR teamed up with Rainbaa Farm to create the MSPRW, LLC, which developed, permitted, build, monitored, and maintained an 87 acre site containing wetland mitigation bank and upland prairie in Frederick, Weld County, Colorado. It was the first private wetland bank in the Omaha District of the Corps. LAWR was responsible for permitting, development, financing, construction, operation, and sales. Rainbaa

Farm provided the land, managed the site, and conducts sales.

The site, prior to permitting, was farm ground and pasture adjacent to the Lower Boulder Ditch. The bank utilizes the most senior water rights in Colorado to the passively irrigate the bank. With the slope that existed on the site, we broke field tiles and incorporated several low-level berms to trap the water. Behind each berm, we have emergent, wet prairie and mesic prairie areas. Colorado has been experiencing severe droughts, but our wetlands are thriving. Management activities at the site included water management, aggressive hand removal and herbiciding of invasive species, mowing and burning.

This project required approval from the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the State Engineer, State of Colorado. Of the agencies, two agencies in particular had major impacts on the project, the US EPA and the State Engineer. The US Environmental Protection Agency was primarily concerned with the extent of the service area and the timing of the release of credits. LAWR worked out an agreement whereby the bank could market 30% of the credits once the project was approved, interim releases of credits once the project had met hydrology and intermediate vegetation standards, and 100% of the credits once the bank fully met all performance standards. The State Engineer, State of Colorado, was primarily concerned with water rights issues. No mitigation area in Colorado can be constructed without obtaining the proper water rights.

The MSPRWB was able to create and market 62.64 acres of wetland mitigation credit to offset wetland impacts. The landowner has transferred the land and associated water rights to the Town of Frederick, which obtained an 87-acre natural area at no cost to the taxpayers.

With the superior water rights, we have been able develop an outstanding wetland and prairie complex. Over 100 native plant species have been identified at the site. More than 95 different species of birds have been documented at the site. This bank was featured as a field trip for the Terrene Institutes conference in Denver in 2000, was featured in a 2004 issue of the conservation magazine “Partners,” and is a favorite observation spot for local birders. The ingenuity of the design and the rapid success of the vegetation impressed all of the visitors. This bank received final sign-off from the regulatory agencies early in March, 2003, after only three full growing seasons.