Exempt Wet Areas Incidental to Human Activity

The statute currently exempts “a wetland that is incidentally created” by a few specific mining and construction activities.[*] This exemption should be generalized to include other human construction and activities whose primary purpose is not the creation of a wetland.[41]

Exempting wetlands incidental to human activity is appropriate for a state like Michigan, which already has numerous wetlands and freshwater resources. Nor would Michigan be alone in doing so. The state of Washington, for instance, has the following provision in its wetland law:

Wetlands do not include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from nonwetland sites, including, but not limited to, irrigation and drainage ditches, grass-lined swales, canals, detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, and landscape amenities, or those wetlands … unintentionally created as a result of the construction of a road, street, or highway.[42]

[*] The state wetland statute also allows many agricultural, infrastructural and outdoor activities to occur on a regulated wetland without a permit. (See MCL 324.30305(1)-(3).)