DNR Changes Dredging Rules For Inland Lakes, Great Lakes

Jul 20, 2017

Credit Courtesy: Wisconsin DNR

New small-scale dredging projects guidelines for the state's lakes, rivers and streams has been finalized.

The DNR went to public comment about the general permit changes with more than 700 comments given by the public.

DNR Section Chief Martin Griffin says traditionally they had a permit to allow 25 cubic yards from streams but did not have a comparable dredging permit for lakes. So the decision was made to expand the idea of allowing small dredging to inland and the Great Lakes...

"....for property owners on the inland lakes on the Great Lakes for whatever reason may have filtration problems or water depth isn't sufficient for the size of the boat they have, or the recreational-navigational thing they want to do on their shoreline that this is a way to get some space for that because of the small volume amounts...."

Several groups, including Clean Wisconsin, Wisconsin Lakes, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, the River Alliance of Wisconsin, Manitowish Waters Lakes Association, Plum Lake Association, and more than 30 othersĀ  asked the dredging language be removed from consideration. The opponents say even small scale dredging can damage a lake's ecosystem.

Griffin says the permit is not eligible to be used in environmentally sensitive locations that are designated and mapped as such by the department. These areas include Areas of Special Natural Resource Interest and mapped Sensitive Areas, which are areas of aquatic vegetation identified by the department as offering critical or unique fish and wildlife habitat.