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Public comments sought on process to streamline municipal wetland permits

MADISON -- A new general permit that streamlines approvals for municipal projects potentially affecting wetlands has been drafted and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the language.

MADISON -- A new general permit that streamlines approvals for municipal projects potentially affecting wetlands has been drafted and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the language.

The public comment period on the general permit runs until the close of business Jan. 23.

Cami Peterson, waterway and wetland policy coordinator for DNR, said the ability to develop the streamlined general permit process was created by a change in wetland laws in 2012 under 2011 Wisconsin Act 118.

The proposed general permit would enable municipalities to receive a more timely approval if their projects would meet standards set forth in the draft, including the unavoidable filling of just under one-quarter of an acre or 10,000 square feet of wetland, Peterson said. The scope of the general permit for municipal development limits eligibility to non-transportation projects conducted by cities, towns, villages and counties in Wisconsin.

"The general permit covers projects with a low risk of environmental harm" such as water main and sanitary sewer replacements, Peterson said. "The permit offers a set of eligibility criteria and if a municipal project meets the criteria, the community applies for approval and gets it with less time and money spent in the process."

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DNR does not anticipate this general permit to result in significant effects on the environment. Previously approved general permits cover projects for residential, commercial and industrial development, as well as for recreational development such as trails.

A copy of the draft wetland general permit for municipal development and other information about the Department of Natural Resources individual and general wetland permit process, is available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov and searching for keyword "wetlands" and clicking on the link for wetland permits.

For more information or to submit written comments on the draft wetland general permit via U. S. mail, contact Cami Peterson, DNR-WT/3, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, 608-261-6400.

 

Related Topics: ENVIRONMENT
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