Register July 2015 No. 715
Chapter NR 103
WATER QUALITY STANDARDS FOR WETLANDS
Subchapter I — Standards
Wetland water quality standards.
Wetlands in areas of special natural resource interest.
Subchapter II — Implementation
Ch. NR 103 Note
Chapter NR 103 as it existed on July 31, 1991 was repealed and a new chapter NR 103 was created effective August 1, 1991.
Corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, August, 1997, No. 500
The purpose of this chapter is to establish water quality standards for wetlands. Chapters NR 102
and this subchapter provide water quality standards for waters of the state pursuant to s. 281.15 (2) (b)
Water quality standards are intended to protect public rights and interest, public health and welfare and the present and prospective uses of all waters of the state for public and private water supplies, propagation of fish and other aquatic life and wild and domestic animals, preservation of natural flora and fauna, domestic and recreational uses, and agricultural, commercial, industrial and other uses. In all cases where the potential uses are in conflict, these water quality standards for wetlands shall be administered to protect the general public interest.
This subchapter sets forth the conditions necessary to protect water quality related functions and values of wetlands including sediment and pollutant attenuation, storm and flood water retention, hydrologic cycle maintenance, shoreline protection against erosion, biological diversity and production and human uses such as recreation.
Water quality standards serve as a basis for developing and implementing strategies to achieve legislative policies and goals. These standards also serve as a basis for decisions in regulatory, permitting, planning or funding activities that impact water quality and which impact wetlands.
NR 103.01 History
Cr. Register, July, 1991, No. 427
, eff. 8-1-91.
NR 103.02 Definitions.
In this chapter:
“Areas of special natural resource interest" means areas as listed in s. NR 103.04
recognized by the state or federal government as possessing special ecological, cultural, aesthetic, educational, recreational or scientific qualities.
“Artificial wetland" means a landscape feature where hydrophytic vegetation may be present as a result of human modifications to the landscape or hydrology and for which there is no prior wetland or stream history.
“Farm pond" means any artificially created open water area used solely for the purpose of watering livestock.
“Surface waters" means all natural and artificial named and unnamed lakes and all naturally flowing streams within the boundaries of the state, but not including cooling lakes, farm ponds and facilities constructed for the treatment of wastewaters.
“Waters of the state" includes those portions of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior within the boundaries of Wisconsin, and all lakes, bays, rivers, streams, springs, ponds, wells, impounding reservoirs, marshes, watercourses, drainage systems and other surface or ground water, natural or artificial, public or private, within the state or its jurisdiction.
“Wetlands" means an area where water is at, near or above the land surface long enough to be capable of supporting aquatic or hydrophytic vegetation and which has soils indicative of wet conditions.
NR 103.02 History
Cr. Register, July, 1991, No. 427
, eff. 8-1-91; cr. (1m), Register, May, 1998, No. 509
, eff. 6-1-98.
NR 103.03 Wetland water quality standards. NR 103.03(1)
To protect, preserve, restore and enhance the quality of waters in wetlands and other waters of the state influenced by wetlands, the following water quality related functional values or uses of wetlands, within the range of natural variation of the affected wetland, shall be protected:
Storm and flood water storage and retention and the moderation of water level fluctuation extremes;
Hydrologic functions including the maintenance of dry season streamflow, the discharge of groundwater to a wetland, the recharge of groundwater from a wetland to another area and the flow of groundwater through a wetland;
Filtration or storage of sediments, nutrients or toxic substances that would otherwise adversely impact the quality of other waters of the state;
Shoreline protection against erosion through the dissipation of wave energy and water velocity and anchoring of sediments;
Habitat for aquatic organisms in the food web including, but not limited to fish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects, annelids, planktonic organisms and the plants and animals upon which these aquatic organisms feed and depend upon for their needs in all life stages;
Habitat for resident and transient wildlife species, including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians for breeding, resting, nesting, escape cover, travel corridors and food; and
Recreational, cultural, educational, scientific and natural scenic beauty values and uses.
The following criteria shall be used to assure the maintenance or enhancement of the functional values identified in sub. (1)
Liquids, fill or other solids or gas may not be present in amounts which may cause significant adverse impacts to wetlands;
Floating or submerged debris, oil or other material may not be present in amounts which may interfere with public rights or interest or which may cause significant adverse impacts to wetlands;
Materials producing color, odor, taste or unsightliness may not be present in amounts which may cause significant adverse impacts to wetlands;
Concentrations or combinations of substances which are toxic or harmful to human, animal or plant life may not be present in amounts which individually or cumulatively may cause significant adverse impacts to wetlands;
Hydrological conditions necessary to support the biological and physical characteristics naturally present in wetlands shall be protected to prevent significant adverse impacts on:
The chemical, nutrient and dissolved oxygen regime of the wetland;
Existing habitats and the populations of wetland animals and vegetation shall be maintained by:
Preventing conditions conducive to the establishment or proliferation of nuisance organisms.
NR 103.03 History
Cr. Register, July, 1991, No. 427
, eff. 8-1-91; CR 00-164
: am. (1) (g), Register January 2002 No. 553
, eff. 2-1-02.
NR 103.04 Wetlands in areas of special natural resource interest.
Wetlands in areas of special natural resource interest includes those wetlands both within the boundary of designated areas of special natural resource interest and those wetlands which are in proximity to or have a direct hydrologic connection to such designated areas. For purposes of this chapter, the following are designated as areas of special natural resource interest:
Lakes Michigan and Superior and the Mississippi river;