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January 19, 2018

1/12/2018 7:28:00 AM
Wisconsin wetland protection is under discussion

To the Editor:

Currently, the state legislature is discussing two bills, AB457 and SB600, both of which would remove restrictions on wetland protection in Wisconsin. These bills would exempt nonfederal wetlands from permitting requirements. The bills exempt all wetlands that are not under federal jurisdiction (those that are connected to navigable waters) from DNR permitting requirements. These bills, again, remove local control from citizens and raise the possibility of outright destruction of wetland habitats. According to Wisconsin Green Fire, a state association of retired scientists, researchers, conservationists and DNR employees, "If enacted into law, AB547/SB600 would result in degradation or outright conversion of wetland habitats, reducing Wisconsin's rich diversity of wetland habitats and the ecosystems they support. It removes protection for wetlands that provide many ecological services, including feeding downstream waters, supporting groundwater connections, trapping floodwaters, removing pollution, and providing fish and wildlife habitat. These wetland services support agriculture, recreation, and are key drivers of Wisconsin's tourism economy. "

Bob Martini, a board member of Wisconsin Green Fire, recently proposed to the Oneida County Board that the zoning and planning commission put all wetlands under general zoning so that all wetlands currently on the DNR wetland map be protected by general zoning. I support Martini's proposal and encourage the Oneida County Board to enact it. Please write to your legislators in opposition to these bills and contact your County Board supervisor to support Bob Martini's proposal.

Karen Kitze


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