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Hearing set on proposal to expand wetland permit exceptions

A panel of lawmakers is preparing to hear public testimony on a proposal that would expand the types of artificial wetlands that can be filled without a permit.

Under current law, discharging fill or dredged material into a wetland requires either a general or individual permit. The state Department of Natural Resource’s rules allow exceptions to the permitting requirements for certain artificial wetlands unless the DNR finds the wetland has significant functional value.

Senate Bill 320 proposes exempting all artificial wetlands from wetland-permitting requirements. Under the bill, an artificial wetland is defined as a wetland that was inadvertently created by people’s modification of the landscape or the land’s hydrology and that lies in a place where no wetland or stream existed before. The definition would exclude wetlands subject to federal jurisdiction and wetlands that are areas for fish spawning or that lead to where fish spawn.

Lawmakers on the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy have scheduled a public hearing on the bill for a meeting starting at 10:05 a.m. on Wednesday in Room 411 South of the state Capitol. The hearing will follow the committee’s executive session on appointments.

Should the committee vote to recommend the bill for passage, its next stop would be the full Legislature.

About Erika Strebel, erika.strebel@wislawjournal.com

Erika Strebel is the law beat reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal and a law school student at UW-Madison. She can be reached at 414-225-1825.

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