Starting this weekend, farmers in central and northern Iowa will be able to buy into what’s called a wetlands mitigation bank. It enables farmers to drain waterlogged parts of their property to develop for farming in exchange for their paying for wetlands to be restored elsewhere in Iowa.Aaron Putze is spokesman for the Iowa Farm Bureau, which is buying the land to restore in Franklin County, near Hampton. The 70-acres was once known as Coulter Marsh. It’ll cost the Farm Bureau 210-thousand dollars to buy and restore the land as a wetland. Farmers can pool their wetlands and buy credits in the mitigation area and Putze says it will -not- always be an acre-to-acre trade-off.Besides filtering nutrients and pesticides from the water, wetlands provide habitats for frogs, turtles, ducks and other birds and offer winter cover for deer. The credits in the mitigation bank are being sold for between 17-hundred and two thousand dollars. The mitigation bank is the first of its kind in Iowa and is the first in the U-S to offer -less- than an acre credit for one acre of land.The bank “opens” December 1st. Farmers have to have land they want to develop in one of the following 18 counties to take part: Emmet, Kossuth, Winnebago, Worth, Palo Alto, Hancock, Cerro Gordo, Humboldt, Wright, Franklin, Webster, Hamilton, Hardin, Boone, Story, Marshall, Polk and Jasper. Call the Farm Bureau for details at (515) 225-5414.
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