Register May 2013 No. 689
Chapter NR 353
WETLAND CONSERVATION ACTIVITIES
NR 353.01   Purpose and policy.
NR 353.02   Applicability.
NR 353.03   Definitions.
NR 353.04   Eligibility for a shortform wetland conservation permit.
NR 353.05   Wetland conservation activities and design specifications.
NR 353.06   Application and information requirements.
NR 353.07   Department determinations.
NR 353.08   Wetland conservation permit conditions.
NR 353.09   Individual permits for wetland conservation projects.
NR 353.10   Maintenance of pre-existing wetland conservation projects.
NR 353.11   Enforcement.
NR 353.01 NR 353.01Purpose and policy.
NR 353.01(1) (1) This chapter will facilitate the regulation of projects whose purpose is wetland conservation by establishing a process to review activities associated with the restoration of former wetlands, the enhancement of degraded wetlands, and the maintenance or management of existing wetlands.
NR 353.01(2) (2) Wisconsin has lost almost half its historic wetland acreage and it is recognized that the protection, management and restoration of wetlands in the state will benefit fish, wildlife, water quality, flood control, biodiversity and natural scenic beauty. Pursuant to s. NR 1.95, it is the policy of the department to reverse the loss of wetlands in Wisconsin and to encourage and facilitate the protection, management and restoration of wetlands.
NR 353.01 History History: CR 01-144: cr. Register January 2003 No. 565, eff. 2-1-03.
NR 353.02 NR 353.02Applicability. This chapter applies to projects whose purpose is wetland conservation and which are reviewed by the department under ss. 281.36, 30.12, 30.124, 30.19, 30.195, 30.20, 31.02 and 31.12, Stats., and s. NR 1.95 and chs. NR 103, 107, 115, 116, 150, 216, 299, 300, 333 and 350.
NR 353.02 Note Note: This chapter does not authorize an activity unless the purpose of the project is wetland conservation. For example, this chapter does not authorize the construction of a detention basin in wetlands for stormwater management, even if the detention basin or the project of which the basin is a part will also result in habitat creation or enhancement. Similarly, this chapter does not authorize a flood control project that may also result in creation or enhancement of some wildlife habitat.
NR 353.02 History History: CR 01-144: cr. Register January 2003 No. 565, eff. 2-1-03.
NR 353.03 NR 353.03Definitions. For the purposes of this chapter:
NR 353.03(1) (1) “Aquatic community" means lake or river biological resources.
NR 353.03(2) (2) “Complete application" means a completed and signed application form, the information specified in s. NR 353.06 (2) and any other information which can reasonably be required from an applicant and which the department needs to make a decision.
NR 353.03(3) (3) “Degraded wetland" means a wetland subjected to deleterious activities such as drainage, excess nutrient runoff, grazing, cultivation, increased stormwater input and partial filling, to the extent that natural wetland characteristics are compromised and where wetland function is reduced.
NR 353.03(4) (4) “Early successional hydrophyte" means a plant adapted to quickly colonize open, disturbed wetlands, which do not persist over time and are replaced by perennials that hold space and persist over time. Examples of these plants include nut sedge (Cyperus spp.), nettle (Urtica dioica), smartweed (Polygonum spp.), wild millet (Echinochloa spp.), ragweed (Ambrosia spp.), Beggar's ticks (Bidens spp.) and foxtail (Setaria spp.).
NR 353.03(5) (5) “Enhancement" means the manipulation of the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of a degraded wetland to heighten, intensify or improve specific functions or for a purpose such as water quality improvement, flood water retention or wildlife habitat.
NR 353.03(6) (6) “Functional values" means the physical, chemical and biological processes or attributes that occur in a wetland and how society finds certain functions beneficial as listed in s. NR 103.03 (1).
NR 353.03(7) (7) “Invasive plant" means plant species that invade natural plant communities and wild areas and replace desirable native vegetation. Plants known to be invasive in Wisconsin wetlands include, but are not limited to: purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria); reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea); cattails (Typha latifolia and T. angustifolia and their hybrid); common and glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica and R. frangula) and common reed (Phragmites australis).
NR 353.03(8) (8) “Maintenance" means the removal of a threat to, or preventing decline of, wetland conditions and includes activities commonly associated with preservation.
NR 353.03(9) (9) “Management" means actions taken at a wetland to establish and maintain desired habitat and human use conditions including water level manipulations, herbicide application, wetland species introduction and control, fencing, monitoring, signage and vandalism repair.
NR 353.03(10) (10) “Monoculture" means a single species occupying a large area.
NR 353.03(11) (11) “Post settlement deposition" means sediment accumulated over original hydric surface soils since European settlement of the area.
NR 353.03(12) (12) “Preservation" means the protection of ecologically important wetlands in perpetuity through the implementation of appropriate legal and physical mechanisms.
NR 353.03(13) (13) “Restoration" means the manipulation of the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of a site with the goal of returning natural or historic functions to former or degraded wetland.
NR 353.03(14) (14) “Wetland" 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 353.03(15) (15) “Wetland conservation" means activities used in the restoration, enhancement, preservation and management of wetlands.
NR 353.03 History History: CR 01-144: cr. Register January 2003 No. 565, eff. 2-1-03.
NR 353.04 NR 353.04Eligibility for a shortform wetland conservation permit.
NR 353.04(1) (1) To be eligible for a shortform wetland conservation permit, the department shall determine that all of the following conditions are met:
NR 353.04(1)(a) (a) The project purpose is wetland conservation.
NR 353.04(1)(b) (b) The project proponent has demonstrated that site conditions exhibit impacts to topography, soils, native vegetation or hydrology that have degraded a wetland and are potentially reversible.
NR 353.04(1)(c) (c) The project proponent has demonstrated that the project involves only listed wetland conservation activities as specified in s. NR 353.05 or that the proposed activity is maintenance of a preexisting wetland conservation project under s. NR 353.10.
NR 353.04(1)(d) (d) The project does not involve any activities in navigable waters with prior stream history, or is otherwise determined to not cause significant adverse impacts to those waters.
NR 353.04(1)(e) (e) The project does not cause significant adverse impacts to a cold water community, as defined in s. NR 102.04 (3) (a).
NR 353.04(1)(f) (f) The project does not cause significant obstruction of fish passage to existing spawning areas.
NR 353.04(1)(g) (g) The project does not cause significant adverse impacts to state threatened or endangered resources.
NR 353.04(1)(h) (h) The project does not cause significant adverse impacts to historical or cultural resources and will comply with s. 44.40, Stats.
NR 353.04(1)(i) (i) Any proposed dikes, embankments or low berms as defined in s. NR 353.05 (3), will have a height of less than 6 feet measured from natural ground to design top of the structure and will result in less than 50 acre-feet total storage, and have been designed by a professional engineer registered in the state of Wisconsin or submitted by a county, state or federal agency. A project with a design embankment height 2 feet or less above the natural ground and with less that 50 acre-feet of storage does not have to be designed a professional engineer.
NR 353.04(1)(j) (j) The project does not involve the planned introduction of non-native or invasive wetland plants.
NR 353.04(1)(k) (k) The project does not involve the control of native wetland plant species unless the project proponent has demonstrated that the activity is to maintain a wetland community or to diversify a monoculture or a monotypic stand of invasive wetland plants. Removal of monotypic stands of invasive herbaceous vegetation may include excavation only if incidental soil removal and deposition occurs on uplands or like monoculture adjacent to the area of removal.
NR 353.04 Note Note: This provision applies only to incidental soil associated with plant removal and is not intended to allow conversion of wetlands to uplands.
NR 353.04(2) (2) Project proposals which include activities listed in s. NR 353.05 (3) to (5) and have existing wetlands on or adjacent to the project area are eligible for the shortform wetland conservation permit only if both of the following conditions are met:
NR 353.04(2)(a) (a) Agricultural crops, invasive wetland species or early successional hydrophyte species dominate the project area.
NR 353.04(2)(b) (b) The proposed activities will not cause significant adverse impacts to undisturbed wetland plant communities on-site or adjacent to the project area.
NR 353.04 History History: CR 01-144: cr. Register January 2003 No. 565, eff. 2-1-03.
NR 353.05 NR 353.05Wetland conservation activities and design specifications. Unless otherwise specified in this section, wetland conservation activities should be designed and constructed to applicable Natural Resources Conservation Service Field Office Technical Guide Standard Conservation Practice 378 – Pond (7/01), 410 – Grade Stabilization Structure (7/01), 638 – Water and Sediment Control Basin (7/01) and 657 – Wetland Restoration (9/00). Wetland conservation activities include:
NR 353.05 Note Note: These materials are available at the United States Department of Agriculture Wisconsin Natural Resources Conservation Service website: www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov or from the county NRCS office or the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association office, Madison, WI at (608) 833 -1833. Copies of the materials are available for inspection in the offices of the department of natural resources, secretary of state and legislative reference bureau in Madison, Wisconsin.
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Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.