DNR BEGINS REVIEWING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS IN HIGH-CAPACITY WELL APPLICATIONS
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recently announced that it would begin considering environmental impacts when reviewing applications for high-capacity wells. In a June 2, 2020 press release, the agency said it would begin doing so “pursuant to its duty to protect and preserve navigable waters under the public trust doctrine,” a duty upheld by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in its Lake Beulah Management District v. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources decision from 2011.
CONSERVATION CONGRESS VOTERS APPROVE OF INCREASING SLOW, NO WAKE ACREAGE
Respondents to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearing Questionnaire supported or held no opinion on the idea of increasing the acreage threshold under which a lake would automatically be deemed “slow, no wake.” Currently, any lake of 50 acres or less is designated as “slow, no wake” in Wisconsin. The question asked if the Conservation Congress should work with the legislature to ensure that any lake with 50 or more acres of surface not already deemed slow, no wake is designated entirely slow, no wake.
The vote was in favor of the question in all but one county of the state. Overall, respondents voted 42% in favor of the question, 32% held no opinion, and 26% voted against it. 55,999 votes were cast in total on the question, with the vast majority (54,895) coming from Wisconsinites.
LAKE DISTRICTS MUST MEET NEW COMMISSIONER VOTE REQUIREMENTS IN 2020
Voting for lake district commissioners has always been a somewhat confusing process not helped by the ambiguity in Chapter 33, the section of Wisconsin law that covers lake districts. While most everyone understood elections occurred at the district’s annual meeting by secret ballot, various different methods for the taking and counting of those votes exist in districts across the state. 2019 Act 99, passed this session by the Legislature, relieves some of that ambiguity while creating some new processes that may surprise many of you. In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into Act 99 and the new process districts must follow in their elections from here on out.