As part of the full implementation of the Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) in 1994, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) began to track the Act’s effects on wetland gains and losses in the state, as well as the effects of other state, federal, and local programs. Each year, significant developments impact wetland monitoring and new trends emerge. The numbers collected from 1999 and 2000 support an ongoing trend of WCA serving as a deterrent to projects impacting wetlands. For these two years, about 41 percent of initial landowner inquiries about draining or filling wetlands resulted in project revision to avoid wetlands. Several local WCA managers report informally that potential drain/fill projects are avoided even before a landowner walks in the door. The growing awareness of WCA regulations is causing landowners to consider avoiding existing wetlands even before they finish planning a project. This continues to be one of the Act’s most important successes. Although the number of acres drained or filled each year for WCA-regulated projects varies between about one and three hundred acres, required mitigation always replaces the impacts with more acres than have been lost. Replacement is required via approved plans when wetland draining or filling is unavoidable. Some replacement is performed on-site; otherwise, credits may be purchased from the State Wetland Bank. The Minnesota State Wetland Bank maintains accounts for private credit transactions. Because replacement is mandated at a 2:1 ratio in much of the state, wetland impacts replaced through the bank result in a net gain of wetland acres. In addition to quantity, BWSR works with other state agencies and local entities to improve the quality of the protected resource: upland areas buffer the banked sites from contiguous activity on the land; native, non-invasive plantings help to ensure a stable plant community that can support local wildlife; a renewed emphasis on restrictions and covenants documents ensures the appropriate construction, vegetation, and use of banked wetlands. Currently, BWSR is exploring ways to ensure the long-term viability of bank sites, especially of those that rely on a constructed feature such as a dike or berm, for continued functioning. Tracking WCA and other natural resource program numbers is done largely via the Local Government Annual Reporting System (LARS). Implemented widely in 1998, LARS streamlined statewide data collection, although reporting of local efforts in some categories remains subjective and, in others, incomplete. These inefficiencies, together with a desire to utilize advances in digital technology, prompted BWSR to form a Blue Ribbon Electronic Commerce Committee of local authorities and BWSR staff and specialists. This committee recommended, and BWSR has begun, developing a new system to take special advantage of web availability and GIS technology. BWSR plans to inaugurate this system with the 2003 reporting year. The Road Replacement Program has been popular with local road authorities whose wetland replacement burden for repair or upgrading of existing roads was shifted to BWSR by WCA amendments in 1996. Environmental interests also support the program as it results in higher quality wetland replacement sites. The program requires about $2.35 million in funding per year to meet replacement needs. Although the economies of scale and other efficiencies are clear, continued funding has been uncertain because it requires annual renewal. The legislature approved $2 million during the 2001 special session to fund the program through the end of fiscal year 2002. Wetland replacement for the roads program required about 733 acres for mid-1996 through 1998, 180 for 1999, and 162 for 2000 (an average of about 160 acres per year). BWSR and other state agencies make ongoing efforts to ease compliance with wetland regulations, both at the state level and between the state and federal governments. In particular, BWSR has made progress implementing recommendations outlined in the Minnesota Wetlands Conservation Plan1, as well as the Wetland Mitigation Banking Study completed in 1998. One such accomplishment is the completion of the Native Vegetation guide (see Part VI.C.). Another is a single, joint local/state/federal application form for wetland-related projects of all kinds. Banking and Road Replacement forms are available on the web, as is the list of available banking credits and information about other aspects of the WCA program: www.bwsr.state.mn.us. Another key development was the introduction in January 2000 of a new letter of permission (LOP) process for wetland permitting by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, replacing the old nationwide permitting process. The LOP uses many of the standards contained in WCA, meaning that a project permitted through WCA will generally also be permitted through the Army Corps of Engineers.