2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
SENATE SUBSTITUTE AMENDMENT 1,
TO ASSEMBLY BILL 547
February 20, 2018 - Offered by Senators Miller,
Hansen, Ringhand, Risser,
Carpenter, Vinehout, Johnson, Schachtner, Larson, L. Taylor, Wirch,
Bewley and Erpenbach.
1An Act to amend
281.36 (3b) (b), 281.36 (3m) (a), 281.36 (6) (a) (intro.) and 2
281.36 (9) (a) (intro.); and to create
15.347 (22) and 281.36 (4n) of the statutes; 3relating to: the discharge of dredged or fill material into artificial wetlands,
4the study of wetlands, and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This substitute amendment exempts from wetland permitting requirements a
discharge of dredged or fill material into an artificial wetland and creates a council
to study wetland issues.
Current law requires the Department of Natural Resources to issue wetland
general permits for discharges of dredged or fill material into certain wetlands.
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. A person who wishes to proceed with a discharge that
is covered by a general permit must notify DNR. 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 discharge.
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
Under current rules promulgated by DNR, discharges to certain artificial
wetlands are exempt from the wetland permitting requirements unless DNR
determines that significant functional values are present. This substitute
amendment exempts from wetland permitting requirements a discharge to any
artificial wetland. The substitute amendment defines an artificial wetland as a
landscape feature where hydrophitic vegetation may be present as a result of human
modification to the landscape or hydrology and for which there is no prior wetland
or stream history, but excludes from the definition a wetland that serves as a fish
spawning area or a passage to a fish spawning area or that was created as a result
of a wetland mitigation requirement.
With respect to the exemption created for artificial wetlands, the substitute
amendment establishes a process under which DNR must be notified of any project
that may affect a wetland or landscape feature that is eligible for such an exemption
and then must issue a determination of whether the eligibility requirements are met
The substitute amendment creates within DNR a wetland study council,
consisting of nine members, appointed for staggered six-year terms by the governor
and the secretary of natural resources, representing various interests and
expertises, to research and provide recommendations on various issues relating to
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
15.347 (22) of the statutes is created to read:
15.347 (22) Wetland study council.
(a) There is created in the department 3
of natural resources a wetland study council consisting of the following members, 4
appointed for staggered 6-year terms:
1. One member who is a representative of a statewide organization 6
representing the business community.
2. One member who is a representative of a statewide organization 8
representing waterfowl interests.
3. One member who is a representative of a statewide organization 10
representing real estate and development interests.
4. One member who is a representative of a statewide organization 2
representing municipal interests.
5. One member who is a representative of a statewide organization 4
representing rural and agricultural interests.
6. One member who is a representative of a statewide organization 6
representing a land conservation group with a specific interest in wetlands.
7. One member who is a statewide wetland delineator.
8. One member who is a statewide wetland consultant.
9. One member who is a department of natural resources biologist or 10
hydrologist and who is a wetland expert, appointed by the secretary of natural 11
The wetland study council shall research and develop recommendations on 13
all of the following:
1. The implementation and effectiveness of statewide wetland mitigation 15
2. Program elements that would be necessary for the department of natural 17
resources to implement if the department assumes from the federal government the 18
authority to administer the state's own individual and general permit program for 19
the discharge of dredged or fill material into the navigable waters of the state under 20
s. 281.12 (2).
3. Issues related to the analysis of practicable alternatives that avoid and 22
minimize the adverse impacts of a discharge into a wetland on wetland functional 23
values and that will not result in any other significant adverse environmental 24
4. Storm water management ponds and their potential to serve a role in 2
5. Statewide incentive programs for creating, restoring, and enhancing 4
6. Statewide wetland trainings for department of natural resources staff, 6
wetland consultants, and wetland delineators.
7. The simplification of regulations associated with creating wetlands on farm 8
drainage ditches for the purpose of phosphorus pollution retention.
8. Ways to improve the in lieu fee subprogram of the wetland mitigation 10
program, under s. 281.36 (3r) (e), including subcontracting the management of a 11
program to a nonprofit organization.
9. The possibility of a professional, whose wetland delineation work is assured 13
under the department of natural resources' wetland delineation professional 14
assurance initiative, performing a wetland delineation confirmation under s. 23.321 15
on behalf of the department.
10. Methods of financing wetland mitigation requirements for local units of 17
11. Any other item related to wetlands at the discretion of the council.
(b) No person may discharge dredged material or fill material into 22
a wetland unless the discharge is authorized by a wetland general permit or 23
individual permit issued by the department under this section or the discharge is 24
exempt under sub. (4), (4m) (a), (4n)
, or (4r). No person may violate any condition 25
contained in a wetland general or individual permit issued by the department under
this section. The department may not issue a wetland general or individual permit 2
under this section unless it determines that the discharge authorized pursuant to the 3
wetland general or individual permit will comply with all applicable water quality 4
(a) When permit required.
Any person wishing to proceed with a 8
discharge into any wetland shall submit an application for a wetland individual 9
permit under this subsection unless the discharge has been authorized under a 10
wetland general permit as provided in sub. (3g) or is exempt under sub. (4), (4m) (a),
, or (4r). Before submitting the application, the department shall hold a meeting 12
with the applicant to discuss the details of the proposed discharge and the 13
requirements for submitting the application and for delineating the wetland. An 14
applicant may include in the application a request for a public informational hearing. 15
The application shall be accompanied by the applicable fee specified in sub. (11) or 16
281.36 (4n) of the statutes is created to read:
281.36 (4n) Exemption; artificial wetlands.
(a) In this subsection, “artificial 19
wetland” means a landscape feature where hydrophytic vegetation may be present 20
as a result of human modification to the landscape or hydrology and for which there 21
is no prior wetland or stream history but does not include any of the following:
1. A wetland that serves as a fish spawning area or a passage to a fish spawning 23
2. A wetland created as a result of a mitigation requirement under sub. (3r).
(b) Subject to par. (c), the permitting requirement under sub. (3b) does not 2
apply to any discharge into an artificial wetland.
(c) 1. A person who proposes a project that may affect an artificial wetland shall 4
notify the department no fewer than 15 working days before initiating the project. 5
The notice may include evidence that the landscape feature is an artificial wetland, 6
such as a statement issued by a professional who has investigated the wetland and 7
who is qualified to give such an opinion. The department shall publish information 8
on its Internet site describing the types of evidence needed for the department to 9
issue its determination.
2. The department shall issue a determination as to whether the landscape 11
feature is an artificial wetland within 15 working days after receiving notification 12
of the proposed project under subd. 1. unless the department notifies the person that 13
one of the following conditions applies:
a. The department does not have sufficient information about the parcel of land 15
to determine whether it contains an artificial wetland.
b. The department determines that the landscape feature is providing 17
significant functions that either protect adjacent or downstream property or 18
infrastructure from flooding or significantly improve the water quality of adjacent 19
or downstream water body.