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  #1  
Old 05/29/12, 01:55 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 295
Wetlands: What can you do with them without a permit?

Hey All,

I have a few acres of swamp bay that rarely has any standing water on it. I'd like to grow blueberries on it if I can do so legally.

I have not had a wetlands study conducted. Nevertheless, since it contains hydrophytic vegetation (Bald Cypress) and the soil is hydric (Surrency), I'm pretty sure it would be determined to be wetlands. (When hydrophytic vegetation is present and the soil is hydric, the remaining determining factor, hydrology, is assumed to be present as well and voila, you're the proud owner of wetlands.)

I know you can't dredge or fill wetlands without a permit. I'm good there: I don't want to do that. But does anyone know whether you can replace the vegetation without a permit? That is, clear what's there currently and plant something else without a permit.

Unfortunately, the Army Corp won't tell me anything until I have a wetlands study conducted. A wetlands study will cost $1,000 to tell me what I essentially already know.

If I need a permit to stay on the right side of the law, I assume the Army Corp doesn't hand them out for free. Does anyone have an idea of what permits cost?

Thanks,

Doug

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  #2  
Old 05/29/12, 02:06 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Ohio
Posts: 4,208

What wetland? What army? What study? I don't see any wetlands, but then again it is not raining.

Who is paying the taxes? That is the person you should consult with.

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  #3  
Old 05/29/12, 02:22 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
Posts: 7,179

This depends on your state.

Here in my state, you can farm the ground, so long as you don't fill or drain it without permits.

Wetlands studies come from the NRCS, and are 'free', but they love to put your land under their thumb.

Farmers - grain farmers - tend to get abused by the system pretty badly.

If you are in a town or a 5 acre owner, you probably get off scott free.

Anyhow in my state.

--->Paul

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  #4  
Old 05/29/12, 03:01 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Western North Carolina
Posts: 3,100

I don't know about the study or the laws but once we knew a land owner who wanted to plant on some wet land area. What he did was to go around the whole neighborhood and get all the bags of grass clippings and leaves. Then, at night he dumped them on the edge on his property where he wanted to plant something.

I do not know if he gained any planting area and sounds like you have a much larger section. Good luck with it.

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  #5  
Old 05/29/12, 03:15 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: In a state of confusion - IN
Posts: 244

Problem here is that any one you ask or anything you do is going to call attention to the fact that you're thinking about doing something that someone is going to not like. That being said, in our state, there is a Soil and Water Conservation Department which could help you. Or is there a County Agricultural Agent nearby?

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  #6  
Old 05/29/12, 03:19 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 3,231

Forget all the above - blueberries don't like wet soil and will not make it in that spot. Pick something else to grow there. No wet feet.... oh and it might help to know where you are....

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  #7  
Old 05/29/12, 03:48 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 662

dheat,

I might be able to answer some of your questions. You can pm me if you want.

KMA1

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  #8  
Old 05/29/12, 04:38 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 295

KMA1,

will do.

Thank you

*****

luvrulz,

wetlands aren't necessarily wet. The area I'm interested in using rarely has standing water.

As far as I understand it, highbush blueberries are hydrophytic. If I can do this legally, I'll convert a small area and see how they do. That said, I'm open to planting something else. What other hydrophytic cash crops are there?

Thank you

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sugarspinner,

property is in So. GA. I've asked a few agencies and they all refer me to the Army Corp.

Thank you

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edcopp,

did you mean who is collecting the taxes?

Thank you

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  #9  
Old 05/29/12, 06:47 PM
ET1 SS's Avatar
zone 5 - riverfrontage
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Forests of maine
Posts: 5,633

If it is 'wetland' then it is on the dot-GOV website

Wetlands Mapper

Check it for yourself. To make sure.

NEVER EVER speak with any government official about this. Their only power is to make it harder for you.

Once they proclaim a piece of land 'wetland' it is wetland forever. Bad move.

I suggest that you find a willow tree. Prune it heavy, and chop all the prunings into 2 foot lengths. Then walk along the border of where you think it may be 'damp', and jab a willow pruning into the ground. Totally encircle the damp-ness area.

Then go out and do it again a year later. Each time moving in toward the center of the damp area.

Those willows will suck-up and evaporate all that water for you.

Purely 'natural'.

In ten years the whole thing could be dry.

I once lived at a place where the back corner was swampy. Willows took it over and dried it out. Made a trip back years later, they had bull-dozed the willows and the water came back.

Once it is dry, then you will need to either fill it in, or else keep the willows in place.

But if you let the government decide, then your stuck with it being 'wetland'.

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  #10  
Old 05/29/12, 06:50 PM
ET1 SS's Avatar
zone 5 - riverfrontage
 
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Location: Forests of maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dheat View Post
... highbush blueberries are hydrophytic. If I can do this legally, I'll convert a small area and see how they do. That said, I'm open to planting something else. What other hydrophytic cash crops are there?

Thank you
Cranberries.

I have swamp land, I am terracing the embankment to put in cranberries, leading down into that swamp.

I also have an area of dampness, where I have been planting willows.
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  #11  
Old 05/29/12, 08:15 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 295

ET1 SS,

Thanks for the link to the wetlands mapper. If it's accurate, the area of interest is indeed wetlands.

The area isn't necessarily wet. So, I'm not trying to get rid of water. If I were, Regardless, the willows would probably do the wick trick (see what I did there?), but it would still be considered wetlands because willows are hydrophytic.

I'll look into cranberries.

Thanks for your input,

Doug

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  #12  
Old 05/29/12, 08:48 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Michigan
Posts: 699

Please be careful with what you do and find out about potential fines. Around here we had to get the soil survey prior to building and they said there are wetlands here ............huh?
Never saw any standing water except for one small area after a heavy rain. We were told that we can't plant anything there or build anything ...........nothing beyond 175 ft from the road.
The thing is if they catch you then you could have the expense of returning it to the natural state in addition to a hefty fine.
What did the locals say.........wait a year then gradually start developing - yeah but they are not the ones to come up with the $ for the fines!
The county building department should be able to tell you who to call or even your County Extension agent.

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  #13  
Old 05/29/12, 10:26 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Kentucky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET1 SS View Post
Cranberries.

I have swamp land, I am terracing the embankment to put in cranberries, leading down into that swamp.

I also have an area of dampness, where I have been planting willows.
And there are plenty different types of cranberries - check for in your zone.

I have highbush blueberries and they don't survive in areas with moist soil. I would check your soil and find out what would grow there the easiest. Have you done a soil test? Your extension office will be albe to help with the soil test.

Did you check that wetland mapper site? If the gov hasn't deemed it a wetland, you can pretty much do what you want, can't you???
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  #14  
Old 05/29/12, 10:29 PM
ET1 SS's Avatar
zone 5 - riverfrontage
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Forests of maine
Posts: 5,633

On my land I have some swamp with a creek that goes into the river, one wetland encompasses all of that. Then I also have 2 other separate 'wetlands' that do not drain. One of them extends out across the property line and across a neighbor's land. These areas of land are pretty much worthless.

That neighbor once dug a trench to drain it. They did applications with the state, studies, surveys, etc. After they had spent a year in paperwork and lots of money, a different agency stopped it and fined them.

I am not making any applications to the government.

I am not digging any trenches.

I am not filling it in.

But if flora can grow there, that will eventually make it less worthless, I am up for it.

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  #15  
Old 05/30/12, 06:55 AM
BetsyK in Mich's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Michigan
Posts: 816

Blueberries like dampness but they do not like wet feet. One way I've heard of to plant them in a damp area is to plant them in a raised mound, enough moisture but not wet feet. Also important, they like acidity and you will need a soil test to determine that, can add pine needles mulch to get the acid.

As far as wetlands determination, you can check with your Conservation District or Natural Resources Conservation District. If it has been determined as a wetlands they will know. Here you will not get into trouble unless you install tiling to drain the ground for crop use. The USDA farm bill addresses this for the ag community, not sure about general use.

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  #16  
Old 05/30/12, 08:17 AM
Brenda Groth
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,802

most people suggest that you don't let the authorities know what you are doing, if you are planting food for your family esp, as they will have a way of intervening..and making you buy from the big guys..they own the world you know

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