Innovative Approach to Problem Solving – 2019 Winner

By Jeffrey Schmidt

Sheboygan County
Amsterdam Dunes Preservation Area and Wetland Mitigation Bank

To gain state and federal approval for certain projects that cannot avoid impacting wetlands, the project sponsor must purchase credits from a wetland mitigation bank to offset the environmental loss. Recently, Sheboygan County was faced with having to spend $150,000 to purchase credits resulting from a road improvement project, and the only credits available were over 400 miles away in a different county. Instead, the county decided to purchase its own 328-acre wetland mitigation bank and preservation area along the shore of Lake Michigan in an area known as Amsterdam Dunes. The investment already has been recouped through grants and other sources and additional funding for habitat improvement and enhancements is anticipated once state and federal approval is secured to create a mitigation bank that will allow the county to sell its own wetland mitigation credits.

Honorable Mention
Library Services Model and Blender Cafe Program
Beloit Public Library

The substantial number of outstanding nominations also prompted the Forum to award an Honorable Mention in the “Innovative Approach to Problem Solving” category to the City of Beloit Public Library for its cost-savings reorganization and Blender Learning Café partnership.