2018 Legislative Update

2018 Legislative Update

1. Wisconsin’s moratorium on mining has been repealed effective July 1st.  County ordinances must be enacted prior to July 1, 2018 if the County intends to control metallic mining within its borders.  Ref. 2017 Act 134 / AB 499/ SB 395

2. Non-Conforming Structures in shoreland zoning buffer zones may be maintained, repaired, replaced, restored, rebuilt, or remodeled if the activity does not expand the structure’s original footprint and if specific project criteria are met.  Ref. 2017 Act 68/ AB 480/ SB 388

Prior law, retained by the Act, generally requires county shoreland zoning ordinances to establish a setback of 75 feet from the ordinary high water mark. However, if a structure within the shoreland setback area is nonconforming (i.e., if it was constructed before the setback requirement took effect), or if it was placed pursuant to a variance granted before July 13, 2015, then a county (and the state) generally cannot prohibit the landowner from maintaining, repairing, replacing, restoring, rebuilding, or remodeling the structure under its shoreland zoning ordinance, if the activity does not expand the structure’s original footprint. [s. 59.692 (1n) (am) and (1k) (a) 2., Stats.]

The Act also prohibits state and county regulation of the maintenance, repair, replacement, restoration, rebuilding, or remodeling of structures for which the county and state did not bring an enforcement action for at least 10 years after the structure was constructed.

3. Lakes funding remains stable in WI 2018-2019 budget with $500,000 additional being allocated for AIS grants.  Forest County’s new Land & Water Resources Technician Al Murray introduced himself at FCAL’s April board meeting.  Please contact Al to inform him of any lake or forest projects as there may be matching grant money from different sources available to help with funding.

4. It is now possible to install new RipRap on 200’ of frontage or repair up to 300’ on inland lakes and streams under a general permit if specific project criteria are met.

Determine eligibility for this general permit:

Choose an activity decision module on web, http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/waterways, or

Review the eligibility criteria below

If the project does not meet all of the eligibility standards, apply for an Individual Permit

To apply:

  • Apply online using online ePermitting System at http://dnr.wi.gov/permits/water

  • Include all required attachments. Each document must be less than 15 megabytes and our online system offers a help guide to reduce file sizes,

  • Permit processing review times begin when all of the required application materials are received by the DNR. The department may require additional information to evaluate the project.

5. Isolated wetland fill of up to 1 acre in urban areas or up to 3 acres in rural areas  may be possible with minimal permit reviews if specific requirements are met. Ref 2017 Act 183/ AB547 / SB 600  

  • 2017 Wisconsin Act 183 creates a wetland study council; exempts certain wetland impacts from state permit requirements; modifies state law regarding the identification, confirmation, and delineation of wetlands; creates grant programs for certain mitigation projects; and authorizes the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to administer permits for federal wetlands, if authorized to do so by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

  • Under the Act, a person is required to notify the DNR no fewer than 15 working days before initiating a project that may affect a wetland to which an exemption described above applies. The notice must include either a statement by a professional who is qualified to give an opinion and who has investigated the wetland, or a wetland delineation prepared by a qualified professional showing the exact location and boundaries of a wetland.

  • The Act generally requires the DNR to presume that the wetland or landscape feature is eligible for an exemption after receiving the notification. However, the Act does not require the DNR to make this presumption if the DNR instead notifies a person that one of the following conditions apply:

    • The eligibility requirements for the exemption are not met.

    • The location and boundaries of the wetland delineation are not accurate.

    • For artificial wetlands only, the DNR determines that the landscape feature is providing significant functions that either protect adjacent or downstream property or infrastructure from flooding or significantly improve the water quality of an adjacent or downstream water body.

6. A new general permit that streamlines approvals for small-scale dredging in the state’s lakes, rivers and streams has been finalized after a public comment period and is now available for applications.  The new general permit outlines standards and conditions for the dredging of lakes and streams that have to be met in order be considered for coverage under a general permit and replaces the prior small-scale dredging general permit for rivers and streams. Property owners should contact the local Water Management Specialist for your county for more information.

7. County and property owners may be eligible for additional land and water conservation grant money if county considers combining programs to show actual county contributions toward conservation activities.