Navigable? Says who?
Bill would restrict DNR’s ability to determine some impoundments are navigable waters, exempt those waters from many water quality protections
By Wisconsin Lakes staff
A bill set for separate hearings by both Senate and Assembly committees on Tuesday, Nov 28 would restrict the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in certain circumstances from determining that a lake created by a dam was navigable, exempting that waterbody from most navigable water law, shoreland zoning, wetland zoning, stormwater management zoning, and construction site erosion control. AB 599 was introduced by Rep. Romaine Quinn (R-Rice Lake) and its companion bill SB506 by Sen. Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls). Hearing for both bills were announced this week, just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The bill would exempt from all of Chapter 30 of the Wisconsin statutes (with the exception of boating regulations), as well as shoreland zoning and the other regulations mentioned above, an “impoundment”, or lake created by the damming of a stream, if DNR had previously determined the section of stream being dammed was non-navigable, and the impoundment was part of the National Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Partners for Fish and Wildlife Habitat Development Agreement” or similar environmental restoration program. In addition, DNR would not be able to designate the impoundment as navigable unless all structures creating the impoundment were removed, returning the stream to its natural state, and then determining a designation of navigability would still be appropriate.
Wisconsin Lakes is following this bill. Watch this space for more information.