August 14, 2012
MADISON - Updated information about recent waterway and wetland law changes, along with new permit application materials, are now available online on the Department of Natural Resources website, according to state natural resource officials.
Law changes affecting regulations for navigable waterways passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Scott Walker earlier this year went into effect Aug. 1. Some of the key changes include grandfathering for pre-existing piers, modified standards for new piers [PDF] an exemption for some grading projects, changes to certain boathouse repair and maintenance limitations, and modified procedures for all waterway general permits and individual permits. Technology improvements like electronic public notices and electronic permit tracking were also included in the legislation, according to Liesa Lehmann, waterway and wetland section chief
A new online water permit system is now available for some DNR water permits, with additional permits to be phased in over the next year. Applicants for waterway and wetland individual permits can now fill out their applications online, pay application fees online, and track the progress of their application online.
More information can be found by searching the DNR's website for "waterways."
Under a new state law, piers newly constructed after April 2012 must meet size limits to avoid needing a permit.
Wetland regulations also were recently changed by updated laws that went into effect July 1. These changes include a new authority for DNR to create general permits for smaller projects, new processes for wetland individual permits, and a new requirement for wetland mitigation to offset the impacts of permitted wetland fill. DNR is in the process of creating two new wetland related general permits, and is planning on creating more.
More information on wetland regulatory programs can be found on the DNR website.
Permit fees also were modified with the law change, Lehmann says. Lawmakers increased permit fees to more accurately reflect the agency costs to administer environmental regulations, and removed a single-highest fee provision so that each activity that requires a permit is charged a fee. Information explaining the new fees [PDF] is available on the DNR website.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Martye Griffin, 608-266-2997; Liesa Lehmann, 608-264-8554