The developer ‘bank’ on wetlands for the Kenosha County site


PLEASANT PRAIRIE – When developer SR Mills looks at over 400 acres of land in the southeast corner of Kenosha County, he sees a place with great potential. Potential to look a lot like it was when Wisconsin became a state.

“We’re going to go back and do some native grassland plantations and bring it back to what it looked like in the 1850s,” Mills said.

Mills’ company, Bear Real Estate, wants to turn this piece of farmland into a wetland.

This was what it was before farmers drained these fields to plant crops, and it’s just perfect for giving back to nature.
“This site is absolutely pristine. There is a stream running through the center, there are old oak trees. We just didn’t think it made any sense to run roads there, ”he said.

Preserving this place is also a clever commercial approach for the mills.

These fields will soon become a “wetland bank”.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, a wetland bank is “restored, enhanced or created wetlands whose purpose is to provide credit to offset inevitable impacts on existing wetlands.” A bank may be located on land that has historically supported wetlands or currently holds degraded wetlands. “

Something other developers can come to terms with when their work disrupts existing wetlands in Wisconsin.

This is something Mills had to do himself.

“We were on the other side, we had to buy banks, and what didn’t feel right to us, those banks were in northern Wisconsin,” Mills said. “Which does little good in Southeastern Wisconsin where the impact really is.”

State law requires a developer to create a new wetland whenever they disturb an existing wetland during construction.

There simply weren’t any great options in this part of the state.

Presented with the need for a wetland bank and owning the perfect land for a wetland, Mills said the decision was only natural.

“It is certainly not something that is strictly monetary. It’s something that we think is good for the region and there aren’t a lot of places that work really, really well at being a wetland bank, ”he said.

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