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February 24, 2015

MADISON -- Temporary waterway crossings needed for forest management activities would undergo a quicker, less expensive review as part of a proposed general permit process now up for public comment.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is accepting comments on the proposed statewide general permit through March 25, 2015.

Martin Griffin, statewide waterway science and policy leader, said the ability to develop the streamlined general permit process was created by a change in waterway and wetland laws in 2012 under 2011 Wisconsin Act 118. The temporary in-stream crossing general permit consolidates permit options for these crossings that had been identified in Wis. Admin Code NR 320.

The proposed temporary in-stream crossing general permit modifies existing standards for temporary structures and allows for placement of additional types of waterway crossings. The proposed permit provides more flexibility regarding the length of time temporary crossing can be left in place, establishes the flexibility to reinstall previously authorized crossings and allows a greater number of crossings to be reviewed as part of one project.

The proposed permit applies to forest management projects that need to cross public waters to reach timber harvest or other forest management sites. The proposed permit includes standards for a variety of situations, such as waterway crossings involving trout streams or other sensitive resources. Other standards establish clearance heights in heavily navigated areas or set forth technical specifications that minimize impacts on water quality and other public rights in the waterway.

To help promote year round forest management projects and address concerns about increased permit fees, the proposed permit allows applicants to apply for more than one crossing under a single application. The application does not impose additional fees if removal and reinstallation is needed before the forestry activity is complete.

DNR developed the proposed general permit with input from partners in the forestry and natural resources communities. The statewide general permit process ensures applicants receive a decision within 30 days. Issued permits are good for five years.

The proposed general permit and environmental impact documents can be reviewed by searching the DNR website,, for "temporary in-stream crossing." Submit written comments to Martin Griffin, statewide waterway science and policy leader, GEF II DNR Central Office, 101 S. Webster St., Madison, Wis., 53703 or email:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Martin Griffin, DNR statewide waterway science and policy leader, 608-266-2997,; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084,

Last Revised: Tuesday, February 24, 2015

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