Under current law, some activities are exempt from these permitting
requirements, some activities require that the person be issued an individual permit
for the activity, and some activities are authorized under statewide general permits.
If a general permit covers an activity, the person proposing to conduct the activity
must notify DNR that the person wishes to proceed with the activity. If DNR does
not request additional information or notify the person that an individual permit will
be required within 30 days after receipt of the notification, the person may proceed
with the activity.
This bill does the following with respect to general permits and individual
permits to conduct activities in navigable waters:
1. Requires DNR to issue a general permit that authorizes a riparian owner to
remove 30 cubic yards of material from the bed of an inland lake adjacent to the
riparian owner's property and 100 cubic yards of material from the bed of outlying
waters adjacent to the riparian owner's property once each calendar year.
2. Prohibits DNR from requiring a person to collect a sediment sample as part
of an application for an individual permit or prior to proceeding under a general
permit, unless DNR has specific information that indicates the potential that
contaminants may be present in the material proposed to be dredged.
3. Exempts from the permit requirements certain shoreline maintenance
activities that are conducted in certain shoreline areas.
4. Exempts from the permit requirements the dredging of an artificial water
body that does not connect with a navigable waterway.
5. Establishes that a permit is required to construct or enlarge an artificial
water body that is within 500 feet of the OHWM of an existing navigable waterway
but that does not or will not connect with the existing navigable waterway.
6. Limits the types of areas that DNR may identify as possessing significant
scientific value, which under current law are considered areas of special natural
resource interest (ASNRI), and requires the Joint Committee for Review of
Administrative Rules to approve this identification. Under current law, a riparian
owner is exempt from the permit requirement for depositing material or placing a
structure on the bed of certain navigable waters if the structure or material is located
in an area other than an ASNRI, does not interfere with riparian rights of other
riparian owners, and is a certain type of structure or material.
7. Provides that, in issuing general permits for the replacement or repair of
existing riprap or the replacement of seawalls, DNR may not impose conditions that
prohibit the replacement or repair of riprap or the replacement of seawalls located
in areas designated as ASNRI.
Structures in navigable waters
Under this bill, a DNR decision that a riparian owner does not fall under an
exemption to the prohibition against placing a pier or wharf on the bed of a navigable
water may only be challenged through a declaratory judgment proceeding in the
circuit court for the county in which the riparian property is located and is not subject
to a contested case hearing or judicial review under the statutory administrative
review procedures. Under current law, a DNR decision against the riparian owner
is subject to a new trial.
Under this bill, an owner of riparian land abutting a navigable water who owns
a boat docking facility that is lawfully placed in that water is not prohibited from
entering into an agreement with another owner of riparian land abutting the same
navigable water for the shared use of that boat docking facility.
This bill changes the definition of a boathouse to specify that a boathouse is a
structure used for one or more years for the storage of watercraft and associated
materials regardless of its current use. The bill also makes various changes to the
regulation of boathouses, including:
1. Allows a boathouse located beyond the OHWM of a navigable waterway to
be expanded, and provides that the expansion does not require a permit, if the
boathouse is listed in the national register of historic places in Wisconsin or the state
register of historic places, the boathouse is not expanded beyond its listed historical
boundaries, and the expansion does not involve the placement of any new structure
on the bed of a navigable water.
2. Adds foundations to the list of structural elements of a boathouse that may
be replaced within the current cost limit on repairing and maintaining a boathouse.
3. Allows the repair or maintenance of a boathouse in existence on December
16, 1979, to affect the configuration of the boathouse and still fall under the exception
to the cost limit on repairing and maintaining such a boathouse.
Under current law, a boat shelter is a structure used for the storage of
watercraft and associated materials that has no walls or sides. This bill eliminates
the conditions that DNR may place on a general permit authorizing a riparian owner
to place a boat shelter relating to the location of the shelter and other existing
structures. Under the bill, DNR may impose conditions on the general permit
governing the architectural features of boat shelters and the number of boat shelters
that may be placed adjacent to a parcel of land, but those conditions may not govern
the distance that a boat shelter will extend from the shore and may not be based on
the degree to which adjacent land is developed. Also under the bill, in determining
whether to issue an individual permit to the owner of a proposed permanent boat
shelter, DNR may not deny the permit on the basis of the distance at which a boat
shelter will extend from the shore or the degree to which adjacent land is developed.
This bill requires DNR, in the general permit authorizing a riparian owner to
replace an existing seawall for which DNR has issued a permit, to authorize a
seawall for which DNR granted an exemption from a permit requirement or for
which no permit was required when the seawall was built.
This bill requires DNR, in the general permit authorizing a riparian owner to
place riprap on the bed or bank of a navigable water adjacent to the owner's property
in certain amounts, to authorize the riprap to extend to the top of the bank of the
navigable water or four feet above the OHWM, whichever is lower.
Operation of a vehicle in navigable water
This bill exempts from the general prohibition on operating a utility terrain
vehicle or all-terrain vehicle on any navigable water or the exposed bed of a
navigable water a person engaged in activities landward of a lawfully established
bulkhead line for which no general or individual permit and no contract is required
under navigable water law.
Current law requires DNR to issue certain wetland general permits for
discharges to wetlands that are necessary for the treatment or disposal of hazardous
waste or toxic pollutants if not more than two acres of wetlands are affected, and
discharges for commercial, residential, or agricultural purposes if not more than
10,000 square feet of wetland are affected. Current law allows DNR to establish
different requirements, conditions, and exceptions in general permits to ensure that
the discharges will cause only minimal adverse environmental effects. Current law
establishes a procedure for obtaining authorization to proceed under a wetland
general permit that is similar to the procedure for obtaining authorization under
general permits that authorize structures and other activities in or near navigable
waters. Current law also authorizes DNR to require a person to apply for and obtain
a wetland individual permit if DNR determines that conditions specific to the site
require additional restrictions on the discharge in order to provide reasonable
assurance that no significant adverse impacts to wetland functional values will
This bill exempts from the permitting requirement any discharge that is the
result of maintaining a roadside ditch or sedimentation or storm water detention
basin and associated conveyance features.
Practicable alternatives review
Under current law, DNR reviews the practicable alternatives presented in an
application for a individual permit, and must find that the project complies with
wetland quality standards if it determines that the proposed project represents the
least environmentally damaging practicable alternative, all practicable measures to
minimize the adverse impact to wetland functional values will be taken, and the
discharge will not result in significant adverse impacts to wetland functional values
or to water quality or result in any other significant adverse environmental
consequences. Upon making such a finding, DNR is authorized, but is not required,
to issue a wetland individual permit. Current law requires DNR to limit its review
of practicable alternatives to those that are located at the site of the discharge or
adjacent to that site if the applicant has demonstrated that the proposed project
causing the discharge will result in a demonstrable economic public benefit, that the
proposed project is necessary for the expansion of an existing industrial, commercial,
or agricultural facility that is in existence at the time the application is submitted,
or that the proposed project will occur in an industrial park that is in existence at the
time the application is submitted. Under this bill, for wetlands that are not subject
to federal jurisdiction, DNR is required to limit its review to those practicable
alternatives that are both consistent with the overall purpose and scope of the project
and are either located at the site of discharge or located adjacent to that site if both
sites are owned by the same owner. The limitation to the discharge site or adjacent
site does not apply if the proposed discharge affects more than 20 percent of the area
of the site or more than five acres.
Utility permit procedure
Under current law, with certain exceptions, a public utility may not begin
construction on a utility project, and no person, including a public utility, may
construct a large electric generating facility or a high-voltage transmission line,
unless the Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued a certificate for the project.
A public utility is a company or municipality that produces or delivers heat, light,
water, or power to or for the public.
Generally, under current law, a person must submit an application to DNR for
each required permit, including an individual permit to conduct an activity in a
navigable water or a discharge in a wetland. If the applicant is a utility that is
required to obtain a certificate from the PSC, however, the utility must submit a
single application to DNR requesting all of the DNR permits that the utility is
required to obtain for a given project affecting navigable waters and wetlands and
must follow a different procedure for obtaining these DNR permits (utility
This bill removes the exemption in current law that provides that the permit
application procedures that would normally apply to an application for an individual
permit do not apply to an application for an individual permit submitted under the
utility application procedure. This bill also removes the exemption in current law
that provides that the procedures that would normally apply to administrative and
judicial review of a DNR decision on an individual permit do not apply to decisions
on an individual permit submitted under the utility application procedure. Also,
under the bill, the only method of review of a DNR decision with respect to any permit
applied for under the utility application procedure is direct judicial review, not a
contested case hearing.
Also under this bill, there is no opportunity to object to, and request a stay of,
a DNR decision related to a wetland individual permit applied for under the utility
Nonpoint water pollution
This bill provides that DNR may not prohibit the construction of storm water
management ponds in navigable or nonnavigable artificial waterways as a method
for achieving compliance with DNR's prescribed performance standards for sources
of nonpoint water pollution, which is water pollution from diffuse sources. DNR's
rules provide that, for the purpose of determining compliance with performance
standards, DNR may give credit for the use of practices, measures, or techniques
(best management practices) that minimize pollutants carried in runoff. The rules
prohibit DNR from giving credit for a best management practice that is located in a
navigable water. The bill provides that DNR must give credit for any pollutant
reduction achieved by the pond in determining compliance with performance
standards specified in a storm water discharge permit.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
23.24 (4) (b) 4. of the statutes is created to read:
(b) 4. A person who engages in an activity listed under sub. (3) (a) in 3
the course of performing shoreline maintenance as authorized under s. 30.125.
30.01 (1am) (c) of the statutes is amended to read:
(c) An area that possesses significant scientific value, as identified 6
by the department under s. 30.106
30.01 (1d) of the statutes is amended to read:
"Boathouse" means a structure with one or more walls or sides that
used for one or more years
for the storage of watercraft and associated 10
materials which has one or more walls or sides, regardless of the current use of the
30.025 (5) of the statutes is repealed.
30.025 (6) of the statutes is created to read:
30.025 (6) Review.
Notwithstanding s. 227.42, the sole option for review of a 15
decision of the department with respect to a permit under this section or an 16
authorization to proceed under this section is to commence an action in circuit court 17
to review that decision under ss. 227.52 and 227.53.
30.053 of the statutes is created to read:
1930.053 Applicability of chapter to artificial water bodies.
Except as 20
specifically provided otherwise in this chapter, nothing in this chapter applies to an 21
artificial water body, as defined in s. 30.19 (1b) (a), that is not hydrologically
connected to a natural navigable waterway and that does not discharge into a 2
natural navigable waterway except as a result of storm events.
30.106 of the statutes is created to read:
430.106 Areas that possess significant scientific value. (1)
Areas that the 5
department may identify as possessing significant scientific value are limited to the 6
(a) The portion of a body of water that contains critical habitat for endangered 8
or threatened species.
(b) The portion of a body of water that is immediately adjacent to an area that 10
contains critical habitat for endangered or threatened species and that directly 11
affects that habitat.
(c) A body of water designated as a wild rice water under a written agreement 13
between the department and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.
(d) A body of water in a wetland along Lake Michigan or Lake Superior that 15
the department has identified as an ecologically significant coastal wetland.
(e) A river that is included in the national wild and scenic rivers system.
(f) A river that is designated as a wild river under s. 30.26.
The department may not identify an area as possessing significant 19
scientific value unless it first notifies the joint committee for review of administrative 20
rules in writing of the proposal and obtains the approval of the committee. Any area 21
the department has identified as possessing significant scientific value on the 22
effective date of this subsection .... [LRB inserts date], that is not identified again as 23
possessing significant scientific value using the process under this subsection on or 24
before December 31, 2017, loses this identification.
30.115 of the statutes is created to read:
130.115 Ownership of certain filled navigable waters. (1)
In this section:
(a) "Line of navigation" means the depth of a navigable water that is the greater 3
of the following:
1. Three feet.
2. The depth required to operate a boat on the navigable water based on normal 6
summertime low levels on the navigable water or summer minimum levels if 7
summer minimum levels are established by the department.
(b) "Riparian zone" means the area that extends from riparian land waterward 9
to the line of navigation as determined by a method that establishes riparian zone 10
lines between adjacent riparian owners in a manner that equitably apportions access 11
to the line of navigation.
If a person placed fill on the bed of a navigable water before January 1, 1975, 13
the filled area above the ordinary high-water mark is owned by the riparian owner 14
in whose riparian zone the fill is located on the effective date of this subsection .... 15
[LRB inserts date], if the filled area has continuously remained above the ordinary 16
high-water mark since January 1, 1975.
The department may not require the riparian owner of a filled area 18
described under sub. (2) to remove the fill, whether above or below the ordinary 19
high-water mark, from that area.
Upon request, the department shall furnish a quitclaim deed to the riparian 21
owner described under sub. (2).
This section does not apply to a lake bed area conveyed by the legislature 23
as provided under s. 13.097.
30.12 (1g) (am) of the statutes is created to read:
(am) A deposit of sand, gravel, or stone that is necessary to perform 2
an activity authorized under s. 30.125 (2) (a).
30.12 (1k) (f) of the statutes is amended to read:
(f) A decision of If
the department against determines that
owner of a structure for which is not entitled to
an exemption is claimed
under this 6
subsection is subject to a trial de novo, the owner may bring an action for declaratory
7judgment under s. 806.04 in the circuit court for the county in which the riparian
8property is located. The owner is not entitled to a contested case hearing or judicial
9review under ch. 227
30.12 (3) (a) 3c. of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) 3c. Place riprap in order to replace or repair existing riprap, other 12
than riprap that is exempt under sub. (1g) (i) or (j). Under the permit, the
13department shall allow riprap to extend to the top of the bank of the navigable water
14or 4 feet above the ordinary high-water mark, whichever is lower. In issuing the
15permit, the department may not impose conditions that prohibit the replacement or
16repair of riprap located in an area of special natural resource interest.
30.12 (3) (a) 3g. of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) 3g. Place riprap on the bed or bank of a navigable water adjacent 19
to an owner's property in an amount up to and including 100 continuous feet in an 20
inland lake of 300 acres or more. Under the permit the department shall allow riprap
21to extend to the top of the bank of the navigable water or 4 feet above the ordinary
22high-water mark, whichever is lower.
30.12 (3) (a) 3r. of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) 3r. Place riprap on the bed or bank of a navigable water adjacent 25
to an owner's property in an amount up to and including 300 continuous feet in a
Great Lakes water body. Under the permit the department shall allow riprap to
2extend to the top of the bank of the navigable water or 4 feet above the ordinary
3high-water mark, whichever is lower.
30.12 (3) (a) 6. (intro.) of the statutes is renumbered 30.12 (3) (a) 5
6. and amended to read:
(a) 6. Place a permanent boat shelter adjacent to the owner's property 7
for the purpose of storing or protecting watercraft and associated materials, except
8that no general or individual permit may be issued for a permanent boat shelter that
9is constructed after May 3, 1988, if any of the following apply:.
30.12 (3) (a) 6. a., b. and c. of the statutes are repealed.
30.12 (3) (a) 13. of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) 13. Place a seawall to replace an existing seawall for which a 13
permit has been issued or an exemption granted
under this chapter, or for which no
14permit was required at the time the seawall was built
. The replacement may not 15
exceed 100 continuous feet in an inland lake of 300 or more acres and may not exceed 16
300 continuous feet in a Great Lakes water body. In issuing the permit, the
17department may not impose conditions that prohibit the replacement of a seawall
18located in an area of special natural resource interest.
30.12 (3) (c) of the statutes is amended to read: