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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Conservation > Conservation Practices > Constructed Wetlands

Conservation Practices | Minnesota Conservation Funding Guide

Constructed Wetlands

A series of constructed wetlands surrounded by farmland. Photo courtesy of Southland Regional Council.
A series of constructed wetlands surrounded by farmland. Photo courtesy of Southland Regional Council.

Constructed wetlands, sometimes called treatment wetlands, are man-made systems engineered to approximate the water-cleansing process of natural wetlands. In agriculture, constructed wetlands are used to filter runoff from cropland, feedlots, aquaculture operations and agricultural processing facilities. Constructed wetlands can also help support wildlife habitat.

Similar & related practices

  • Constructed wetlands sound similar but are not the same as restored, enhanced and created wetlands; each has a distinct meaning. Whereas constructed wetlands treat agricultural runoff water on a site that may or may not have been a wetland historically: Wetland restoration reestablishes or repairs the hydrology, plants and soils of a former or degraded wetland.
  • Wetland enhancement develops an existing wetland (for example, adding structures to manage water levels for improved habitat.)
  • Wetland creation establishes a wetland on a historically non-wetland site that is capable of supporting wetland functions and values.
  • Constructed wetlands can be part of a conservation drainage system, serving as storage basins to filter nutrients in agricultural drainage water.
  • Constructed wetlands are often protected by grass filter strips or forested riparian buffers.
  • Long-term maintenance of constructed wetlands may involve invasive species control.
  • Constructed wetlands may be designed with special features to support various kinds of wildlife habitat.
  • Other related practices include ponds and sediment basins.

More information

Guidance from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Other resources


See contacts for specific programs that fund this practice in the side-by-side payment comparison or contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District