Below is PCALR’s comment submitted to the Wisconsin DNR regarding the proposed statewide waterway general permit (GP) for dredging of lakes and streams in Wisconsin. Once in place, individual riparian property owners can apply to dredge up to 25 cubic yards from inland lakes and streams, or up to 100 cubic yards from Lake Superior or Lake Michigan, over a five-year period.
To all concerned:
Polk County Association of Lakes and Rivers (PCALR) is unalterably opposed to the statewide waterway General Permit for small scale dredging of lakes and streams by riparian owners in Wisconsin.
At first glance, it appears that all the proper restrictions and requirements are in place to protect our lakes and streams from the harmful effects of dredging, while allowing property owners to improve “recreation and navigation” by dredging to a water depth up to 5 feet in front of their property, removing up to 25 cubic yards (100 for the Great Lakes) in total over a 5-year period.
- With the permit, dredging can be done repeatedly, in multiple locations along the riparian property over a 5 year period and without DNR oversight, other than notification to DNR and posting of the permit, allowing repeated assaults on the lakebed;
- Fish habitat appears to be protected with restrictions during a narrow window for spawning times, but because dredging affects the entire aquatic food web, and especially since aquatic plants are allowed to be removed with this permit without event oversight, destruction of fish habitat is inevitable;
- The threat of introducing invasive species looms large. DNR decontamination BMPs are recommended but there are no requirements for such in the permit and this oversight, along with selection of a contractor or equipment, is left up to the property owner who is likely without expertise in the matters AIS prevention and regulation;
- Other concerns include wildlife habitat destruction, suspension of nutrients held in sediments, lack of equipment and contractor licensing requirements, spills of fuel and hydraulic fluids into the water, and potential conflicts between neighbors;
- DNR holds no liability for damages to the waterbody as a result of the actions allowed with this general permit leaving our lake organizations to correct the potentially catastrophic acts of individual property owners, e.g. introduction of an invasive species, algae blooms, loss of habitat;
- Above all, this general permit puts alterations to the lake, stream or riverbed in the hands of property owners serving their own interests while affecting water quality for everyone. Wisconsin’s Public Trust Doctrine states the waters of Wisconsin and the substrate beneath them belong to all people. Individual riparian property owner rights stop at the ordinary high water mark.
PCALR lake organization members have had experience with the current Individual Permit for dredging and have found the process accessible, responsible and effective in protection of our lakes. We find the proposed General Permit contrary to our mission to promote and preserve the natural, recreational, aesthetic and ecological qualities of our lakes, rivers and streams.
Polk County Association of Lakes and Rivers (PCALR)
Wisconsin Lakes Policy Report/Action Alert of February 14th:
DNR Holds First of Two Hearing on Proposed Dredging General Permit today in Madison
Second hearing on Thursday in Green Bay
Written comments accepted until March 3
Considerable concern has been raised among lakefront property owners regarding the negative impact of the ease of obtaining authorization to dredge near the shore under a proposed general permit being considered by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). General permits do not require the same level of scrutiny or notice as individual permits. Dredging is currently allowed in the areas this general permit covers, but only by obtaining an individual permit. Wisconsin Lakes’ position is that the individual permit process is not so onerous to need to be abandoned, especially given the potential harm that dredging can cause a lake when done poorly.
The permit would allow up to 25 cubic yards to be dredged from an inland lake over a five year period (100 cubic yards from the Great Lakes), but any amount dredged raises a concern.
Complete story here ->
The following is provided by the UW-Extension Center for Land Use: The Wisconsin Legislature has made major changes to shoreland zoning in 2015-16. These changes are described in three short video presentations: Part1 Video – Introduction to shoreland zoning and … Continue reading →
From Wisconsin Lakes Lake Policy Report March 9, 2016: The 2015-16 legislative session is nearly, but not quite, over. The Assembly adjourned at the end of February, though it could reconvene to consider legislation if its leadership deems it necessary. … Continue reading →
Action Alert from Wisconsin Lakes below: SIGN ONTO LETTER TO GET DREDGING OUT OF AB600 BEFORE WEDNESDAY’S HEARING. PLUS, A NEW BILL WOULD ALLOW ANNUAL DREDGING WITHOUT A PERMIT AB600/SB459 WATER BILL UPDATE – PUBLIC HEARING Senate Natural Resources & … Continue reading →
Excerpts below are from Wisconsin Lakes January 16th Lakes Policy Report. SB477/AB603: Public Hearing Shoreland zoning bill gets public hearing in Senate SB477, the Senate companion to a AB603 is scheduled for a public hearing on Tuesday, January 19 at 10am. The bill, introduced … Continue reading →
From Wisconsin Lakes December 23rd Lakes Policy Report Early January public hearings highlight two bad bills for our waters AB603 further erodes shoreland zoning protections, while AB600 makes wholesale changes to cherished Wisconsin water laws The new year starts out with … Continue reading →
Wisconsin Lakes Action Alert December 3, 2015 STOP THE DAMAGE BEFORE IT HAPPENS! Two new bills would unravel many of Wisconsin’s water protections Sen. Frank Lasee and Rep. Adam Jarchow teamed up to author two bills they are referring to … Continue reading →
The report below is excerpted from the Wisconsin Lakes “The Lakes Lake Policy Report” November 24, 2015 UPDATE Fall legislative session ends with no action on shoreland zoning or groundwater. The Wisconsin Legislature closed its fall 2015 session in early … Continue reading →
The information below was provided at last night’s PCALR meeting. As a result of Wisconsin Budget Act 55 that rescinded county rights to exceed State shoreland ordinances: A group of lake organizations led by attorney John Richter organized as … Continue reading →