NRCS-Michigan Conservation Notes newsletter Sept/Oct 21

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USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Michigan Conservation Notes - September/October 2021

Aerial view of wetlands

In September, NRCS signed an agreement with a new wetland bank sponsor, Wetland Mitigation Bank II. Soon farmers with wetland compliance violations will be able to purchase credits from this new sponsor.

Wetland Mitigation Bank II is Michigan’s second agricultural wetland mitigation bank. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources created the first agricultural wetland mitigation bank in partnership with the Michigan Municipal Wetland Alliance in 2017.

When a producer converts a wetland to make a commodity crop production possible, they can lose eligibility for USDA programs. To regain eligibility for USDA programs, a producer must either restore the converted wetland or mitigate the violation by restoring a wetland at another location. A third option allows producers to purchase credits from a wetland mitigation bank if the converted wetland is within the bank service area. Bank service areas are typically defined by HUC-8 watersheds. Farmers who want to purchase wetland mitigation credits will first need to contact their local NRCS District Conservationist to initiate the approval of wetland bank credits to resolve wetland compliance violations.

Wetland Mitigation Bank II is restoring wetlands and seeking NRCS approval to sell credits in several southern Michigan watersheds: Black River (Port Huron), Cass River, and the Flat River/Lower Grand River. For more information regarding Wetland Mitigation Bank II, contact Bob Swick, Executive Director, at (989) 670-1349 or at

The Michigan DNR – Michigan Municipal Wetland Alliance recently announced the availability of approved sites in the Muskegon River Watershed, Lower Grand River Watershed, and the St. Joe River Watershed. Farmers who are out of compliance with USDA wetland conservation regulations may purchase wetland bank credits in these watersheds. The Michigan Municipal Wetland Alliance can be contacted through their website:


Notices and Announcements

Apply Now
  • The first fiscal year 2022 application cut-off date for conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives program in Michigan is Jan. 14, 2022. Applications for the current round of EQIP funding must be submitted by the deadline to be considered for funding. The deadline also applies to two Regional Conservation Partnership Program projects. Additional sign-ups may be held in fiscal year 2022 if funding is available.
  • Public comments are sought regarding a draft cultural resources mitigation plan for the removal of dams on the Grand River near Grand Rapids. The dam removal is part of the Lower Grand River Watershed Habitat Restoration​ Project, which receives funding through the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The public notice and additional information are posted on the NRCS Michigan website.

New Employees

NRCS Biologist Angela Dietrich

We welcome these new employees to NRCS - Michigan

Angela Dietrich - Biologist, Bay City

Last Position: Technical Assistant – Midland Conservation District
Home Town: Clio, Michigan
Education: B.S. in Environmental Science – Southern New Hampshire University
Family: My husband Jeff and I have a daughter, Brooke. Our family also has 2 dogs, 2 cats and 1 horse.
Hobbies and Interests: Spending time with family, Hunting, Sporting Clays, Horses, Car Shows, Antique Tractor Shows


Darcy Hansen - Soil Conservationist

Darcy Hansen - Soil Conservationist, Sandusky

Last Position: Agronomy Consultant with Star of the West Milling Company
Home Town: Minden City, Michigan
Education: Bachelor of Science with a major in Crop & Soil Sciences from Michigan State University
Hobbies and Interests: Farming, Volunteering, Making Ceramics


Jeremiah Hepner Biologist

Jeremiah Hepner, Biologist, East Lansing

Last Position: HELWC contractor, East Lansing
Home Town:
Troy, Michigan
B.S. in Natural Resource Management - Grand Valley State University
Wife Katie, son Theo, cat Zeke
Hobbies and Interests:
We enjoy rock climbing, hiking, camping, movies, and anything else we can do as a family


Misty McGinnis, Financial Resources Specialist

Misty McGinnis - Financial Resources Specialist, East Lansing

Last Position: Auditor with the Michigan Army National Guard, 20+ years with Army National Guard
Home Town: Stanton, Nebraska
Education: B.S. in Accounting from Grantham University
Family: Married 23 years to my husband, Danny; son, Dillan; dog, Chloe; cat, Cletus; and lots of saltwater fish.
Hobbies and Interests: Boating in the summer, and quilting in the off season


Orlizzie Negron Pererz Soil Conservationist

Orlizzie Negron Pererz - Soil Conservationist, Petoskey

Last Position: Area Agronomist
Home Town: Quebradillas, Puerto Rico
Education: BSA in Animal Science- University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez Campus.
Family: Husband Angel Domenech; two girls, Alessandra & Adrianna. One pet, a dog named Donatello.
Hobbies and Interests: Travel, Family, Netflix.


Ashley Scholten - Biologist

Ashley Scholten - Biologist, East Lansing

Last Position: Team Lead for the HELWC contractors at USDA NRCS East Lansing
Home Town: Laingsburg, Michigan
Education: B.S. in Biology from Central Michigan University
Family: boyfriend and two cats
Hobbies and Interests: kayaking, camping, and baking


Lana Valentine - Office Assistant, Grand Rapids

Last Position: Loan Officer/Administrative Assistant
Home Town: Ypsilanti
Education: Bachelor of Arts in General Business
Family: a daughter (more like a twin) many nieces, nephews and extended family
Hobbies and Interests: meeting people, reading, traveling, going for walks, volunteering – tax preparation, Meals on Wheels, Hope Clinic

Additional New NRCS-Michigan Staff Members

Jessica Carleton - Civil Engineer, Flint
Haley Dukes - Soil Conservationist, Flint
Tricia McDonald - Soil Conservationist, Ithaca
Paul Nelson - Soil Conservationist, Ionia
Morgan Warda - Biologist/NRS, Flint
Kami Williams - Soil Conservationist, Paw Paw

Earth Team Archeologists

An Earth Team volunteer operates a ground penetrating radar unit at a historical site in Cass County.

Earth Team volunteers under the supervision of NRCS State Archeologist Duane Quates had the opportunity to study a historic homestead in Cass County. The group used a ground penetrating radar unit to look for features of earlier structures on the grounds of the Newton House near Marcellus.

Newton House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is located on a 400-acre parcel of land donated to Michigan State University for forest research. Several MSU students enrolled in the NRCS Earth Team program took part in the survey looking for features including a log cabin that is believed to have preceded the 1860s era Newton House.

MSU Associate Professor of Anthropology Stacey Camp also took part in the survey. The activity was a great opportunity for the undergraduate archeology students to do field work, Camp said. The students did not have the opportunity to do any field work through MSU during the Covid shutdown.

The afternoon’s work yielded results, said Quates. Using the ground penetrating radar unit they were able to locate features of the earlier log cabin as well as privy, he said. MSU students enrolled in the Earth Team program also have participated in cultural resources field work at the Rose Lake Plant Materials Center in East Lansing. The experience has given them the opportunity to gain valuable field experience as well as learn about the role of cultural resources in conservation planning.


Conservation Calendar

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5 - Michigan Grassfest, 3 - 6:30 p.m., Reed City Depot - Reed City, register at or call 231/465-8012

9 - Farmer Toolkit: Map of Beginning Farmer Programs Demo, noon to 1 p.m., online event, for more information go to

9 - Tuning into Soil Biology, 8 to 9:30 a.m., online webinar, for more information and to register go to

17 - 2021 MiCorps Annual Volunteer Monitoring Conference, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., online event, for more information go to


7 - Cass County Conservation District Annual Meeting & Election, 3pm-6:30pm, Cass County COA Lowe Center - Cassopolis, call 2169-445-8641 x 5 for more information or an absentee ballot if needed

7-9 - Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market Expo, Devos Place - Grand Rapids, for more information go to

20 - Integrated Crop and Pest Management Update 2021, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., MSU Livestock Pavilion - East Lansing, for more information go to

Conservation Notes 

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State Office

3001 Coolidge Road, Suite 250

East Lansing, Michigan 48823


NRCS field office directory