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Contact(s): Cheryl Laatsch, DNR Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and hydropower coordinator, 920-387-7869,; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084,
November 19, 2015

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is inviting the public to provide input as the agency works to develop a systematic approach for evaluating fish passage at dams statewide.

Fish passage describes the ability of fish to move upstream and downstream to find suitable habitat and breeding grounds. Where barriers such as dams exist, a systematic approach is needed to determine whether populations of fish and other beneficial organisms are best aided through practices such as stocking and habitat improvement or whether passage should be improved through use of techniques such as fish ladders, lifts or manual trap and other transport systems.

DNR intends to use a strategic analysis process to engage the public and will assess the latest scientific, natural resource and socio-economic information relating to fish passage at dams. The department will gather relevant facts, data and research and refine definitions. The strategic analysis will be used by the department to develop a consistent approach for fish passage proposals throughout Wisconsin.

Cheryl Laatsch, DNR's hydropower coordinator, said each fish passage project is unique and must take into account local issues related to fish health, aquatic invasive species, habitat considerations, engineering and design issues, costs and dam licensing agreements among other factors. The involvement of stakeholders, such as other state and federal agencies, tribes, local interest groups, non-governmental organizations and dam owners and operators, also factors into considerations relating to fish passage.

"The people of Wisconsin care deeply about our rivers and streams as well as the fish and other aquatic life they support," Laatsch said. "We are inviting public input to help develop a process that draws on the collective wisdom and experience of citizens and stakeholders."

The public comment period for the scoping portion of the strategic analysis runs through Jan. 29, 2016. Information about the analysis and the proposed topics to be covered can be found at by searching for "fish passage." The public is encouraged to provide comments on topics that may be included in the analysis.

Comments may be submitted through the website, emailed to or mailed to: Jim Doperalski, WDNR Green Bay Service Center, 2984 Shawano Ave., Green Bay, WI 54313-6727.

Following the public comment period on the scope, DNR will review and incorporate the public input into a draft strategic analysis. The draft strategic analysis also will be put out for public review and comments.

Last Revised: Thursday, November 19, 2015

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