Wisconsin Senate OKs wetland impact credit changes

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Senate has signed off on a bill that would require builders to purchase wetland mitigation credits within the watershed they're changing.

Right now the Department of Natural Resources must require restoration, enhancement, creation or preservation of other wetlands as a condition of an individual permit allowing dredging or filling wetlands.

Builders can satisfy those conditions by purchasing credits from a mitigation bank located anywhere in Wisconsin. Banks are essentially a stash of credits generated by other builders that created or preserved wetlands.

The bill would require builders buy credits from banks located in the impacted watershed. The DNR could allow purchases from other watersheds if it would better serve natural resource goals.

The Senate approved the measure on a voice vote on Tuesday. It goes next to the Assembly.