Register March 2014 No. 699
Chapter NR 44
MASTER PLANNING FOR DEPARTMENT PROPERTIES
Master plan development, adoption and public involvement.
Land management classification system.
Land management classifications.
Recreational use setting subclassifications.
NR 44.01 Purpose.
The purpose of this chapter is to:
Create a uniform planning process for the management and use of department managed properties.
Establish procedures for the development, revision, amendment, implementation and review of master plans for department managed properties.
Establish a land management classification system for use in master plans for department managed properties.
Establish the minimum content of master plans for department managed properties.
Ensure that opportunities for public involvement are available in the development of master plan recommendations to the board.
NR 44.01 History
Cr. Register, August, 1996, No. 488
, eff. 9-1-96.
NR 44.02 Applicability.
This chapter shall apply to department master plans and the master planning process.
NR 44.02 History
Cr. Register, August, 1996, No. 488
, eff. 9-1-96.
Biological diversity" means the variety and abundance of species, their genetic composition, and the communities, ecosystems, and landscapes in which they occur. It also refers to the variety of ecological structures, functions and processes at any of these levels.
“Board" means the natural resources board.
“Cultural resource" means any archeological, architectural or historical artifact, site or structure that reflects on the human-made environment.
“Community" means an assemblage of species living together in a particular area, time and habitat.
“Department" or “DNR" means the Wisconsin department of natural resources.
“Ecological capability" means the potential of an area to support or develop one or more communities, with the potential being dependent on the area's abiotic attributes, its flora and fauna, its ecological processes and disturbances within and upon the area.
“Facility development" means the construction of infra-structure, including buildings, roads and trails for resource management, public use or other purposes.
“Master plan" or “plan" means a department plan which describes the authorized land management, resource protection, facility development and management of recreational use on a department property, but does not include a study prepared for the purpose of considering the feasibility of land acquisition respecting a new or existing project.
“Native" means indigenous to the area or region.
“Passive management" means management where objectives are achieved without direct action.
“Property" or “properties" means areas of land approved by the governor for acquisition under s. 23.14
, Stats., or otherwise established by the board.
NR 44.03 Note
Note: Examples of properties include parks, state forests and recreation areas.
“Sustainable forestry" means the practice of managing dynamic forest ecosystems to provide ecological, economic, social and cultural benefits for present and future generations.
“Trail" means a way or path designated on department maps or by signs or both as open for public travel by foot, horseback, bicycle, snowmobile, ATV or highway/off-highway vehicles.
NR 44.03 History
Cr. Register, August, 1996, No. 488
, eff. 9-1-96.
NR 44.04 Master plan development, adoption and public involvement. NR 44.04(1)(a)(a)
“Affected or interested parties" means those persons or groups who are affected by a master plan or project, and may include persons with an interest in department management practices across a specific area or statewide.
“Master plan revision" or “plan revision" means a change in the goal or objectives for a property which typically may occur as a result of a 15-year review of the master plan under sub. (12)
“Master plan amendment" or “plan amendment" means a change in a management classification or subclassification of a property or management area within a property without a change in the goal and objectives for the property.
“Master plan variance" or “plan variance" means a change in management activity or use described in the master plan that is consistent with the area's land management classification and does not constitute a change in an objective for management or public use of the area as specified in the plan.
“Minor master plan amendment" or “minor plan amendment" means a change in a master plan through a minor expansion of the property boundary where the management activity, facility development and use on the added parcel is consistent with the master plan and the land management classification of an adjacent management area.
(2) Authorization to conduct a planning process.
Any planning process for the purpose of developing a master plan, a plan revision or a plan amendment shall be conducted in accordance with this chapter, unless otherwise directed by the board, and only after following a notification and approval process to proceed with the action established by the board.
(3) Plan approval.
A plan or plan amendment shall be approved by the board, except as provided under sub. (2)
. The board may adopt a proposal as submitted by the department or modify the proposal as deemed appropriate and reasonable.
(4) Plan variance and minor plan amendment initiation and approval. NR 44.04(4)(a)(a)
A plan variance may be initiated by the department and may be approved by the department following reasonable notification of persons affected by or interested in management of the property, including persons requesting notification, and after appropriate public involvement.
A minor master plan amendment may be used to assign a management and use prescription and classification to land acquired under a property boundary expansion not exceeding 160 acres, provided the prescription is consistent with the master plan's goal and objectives. A minor amendment may be initiated by the department and may be approved by the department after appropriate public involvement.
NR 44.04 Note
Note: A plan variance and minor plan amendment are approved by the department secretary or a division administrator.
(5) Other plan changes.
The department may make changes to a master plan without following the procedures in this section under the following circumstances:
To comply with non-discretionary changes in the plan required due to a law or regulation change. The department shall periodically, or otherwise as appropriate, inform affected or interested parties of nondiscretionary changes in a plan.
When correcting typographical errors or making corrections to maps, including the delineation of areas where management prescriptions apply, provided the changes are due to improved on-the-ground information relating to the application of the management prescriptions and are consistent with the intent of the plan.
(6) Requests for a plan amendment, revision or variance. NR 44.04(6)(a)(a)
In addition to the review requirement in sub. (12)
, a plan amendment or revision may be proposed at any time by the department or any person, and an amendment or revision request shall be filed in writing with the secretary of the department. The secretary shall inform the board of requests as filed under this section, and the department shall notify the person or persons making the request of the board's decision.
A variance to the master plan may be proposed at any time by the department or any person, and a request for a variance shall be filed in writing with the person designated in accordance with sub. (9) (a) 6.
(7) Public and other government involvement. NR 44.04(7)(a)(a)
The public shall be provided opportunities to participate throughout the planning process for a property.
As appropriate to the circumstances of each planning process, and in addition to the general public involvement process described in this subsection, the department shall consult with federal, state, county, town and local units of government, local agencies and Indian tribes.
During a planning process for properties lying within the ceded territory recognized by Lac Courte Oreilles v. Voigt, 700 F.2d, 341 (7th Cir. 1983), the department shall consult on a government to government basis with Indian tribes retaining off-reservation hunting, fishing and gathering rights in that territory. The department shall establish the procedures for the tribal consultation process based upon a dialogue with and the agreement of the tribes. This consultation requirement shall apply to the development, review, revision, amendment or variance of a master plan.
Public involvement in the planning process may include meetings, hearings, workshops, open houses, surveys, questionnaires, letters, submitted proposals, personal contacts, study committees, advisory groups and other methods or activities tailored to the needs of the individual master planning effort.
Public involvement in the planning process may be for the following purposes:
Submitting suggestions to the department regarding future management and use of a property;
Identifying and evaluating proposed property goals and objectives; and
Prior to the initiation of public involvement, except for public surveys or other preliminary issue identification activities, and prior to the formulation of a plan, including management goals and objectives, a plan revision or a plan amendment, the department shall prepare a public involvement plan conforming with this paragraph and make it available to affected or interested parties for comment. The department may revise the public involvement plan at any time with appropriate notice to affected or interested parties. At a minimum, a public involvement plan shall include the following:
A description of the process the department intends to use to obtain and assure reasonable public involvement at appropriate points throughout the planning effort; and
A description of the process the department intends to use to identify affected or interested parties and notify them about the planning process. Affected or interested parties may include federal, state or local agencies; other government officials and regional planning commissions; Indian tribes; timber, tourism or any other affected business entities; citizen groups, clubs, committees or individuals who have a demonstrated interest; nearby landowners; and users of the property.
The department shall designate a department employee to be the primary public contact person for each planning process. Concerns or inquiries by any person about the process may be submitted to the contact person who shall have the responsibility to review and respond on behalf of the department.
When initiating the public involvement process, the department shall distribute a news release to appropriate news media in the vicinity of the property or statewide if the property has statewide significance. At a minimum, the news release shall include the following information:
A notice of intent to develop, revise or amend a master plan and to prepare an environmental analysis document required by s. 1.11
, Stats., or ch. NR 150
The scope and objectives of the planning effort and its potential significance to affected or interested parties; and
The process by which affected or interested parties may receive information about the planning effort and opportunities to participate in the master planning process.
The department shall maintain a list of persons requesting notification of master plan development, revision, amendment and variance proposals and shall notify them consistent with their request.
Following a decision by the board to enter a planning process for a plan, plan revision or plan amendment, after appropriate data gathering and analysis and preparation of a public involvement plan in accordance with sub. (7) (f)
and prior to the formulation of a plan, plan revision, plan amendment or the management goals and objectives for a property, the department shall initiate planning with a public involvement process in accordance with sub. (7) (h)
The department procedures described in s. NR 150.30 (1) (f)
shall be followed, as appropriate, to identify pertinent issues to be evaluated in the planning process for a plan, plan revision or plan amendment and when preparing any environmental analysis required by ch. NR 150
When developing a master plan, plan revision or plan amendment the department shall develop and analyze land management, recreational use and facility development alternatives within the context of:
The property's designation, such as state park or state wildlife area;
NR 44.04 Note
For example, a state forest master plan must be consistent with the provisions in s. 28.04
, Stats., which establish the purposes and benefits of state forests.
The best available information regarding the purposes and benefits of the property that the department acquires through inventories, evaluations, monitoring and research; and
A regional analysis addressing the economic, ecological and social conditions, opportunities and constraints associated with the property on a local and regional scale. The following shall apply to a regional analysis: