Opposition Emerging To DNR Lake-River Dredging Proposal

Feb 15, 2017

Credit Wisconsin DNR

A new general permit that streamlines approvals for small-scale dredging in the state's lakes, rivers and streams has been drafted and  the DNR is seeking comment. There are several environmental and sporting groups opposed to the action.

The proposed general permit will allow applicants to remove up to 25 cubic yards from streams and inland lakes and up to 100 cubic yards from the Great Lakes if the project meets all eligibility criteria and conditions.

Martye Griffin is the DNR's Waterway and Wetland Protection Chief. He says the current law requires the dredging of bottom material to go through a permit process.

He says the general permit is issued much quicker than an individual permit....

".....the idea for this general permit is to create an opportunity for people who live on the lakes and rivers that have sedimentation issues that's prohibiting them from getting their boat into their pier, and navigating or recreating, that they're able to utilize this general permit for small amounts of material to be removed to help facilitate that navigational aspect of recreation...."

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 others have asked the dredging language be removed from consideration. The opponents say even small scale dredging can damage a lake's ecosystem.

The DNR is holding a public informational hearing on the change in Green Bay Thursday(2/16), but Griffin says they're taking public comment on the dredging changes on their website. He says enter the dredging in the search box. The public comment period will run through March 3.