Late Friday afternoon, just hours before the opening of duck hunting season, Sen. Roger Roth, Rep. Jim Steineke, and Rep. Rob Stafsholt circulated a memo inviting all legislators to co-sponsor a bill enabling developers to fill non-federal wetlands without a permit.
The bill allows this wetland destruction with no WDNR oversight, as long as the developer pays to restore some wetlands somewhere else.
With this alert, we hope to stop this bill from gaining any momentum. And the first step is to discourage other Wisconsin legislators from signing on.
Please help us keep this bill from moving forward by doing two things:
1. Call your state Senator and Representative and ask them to NOT co-sponsor, or support, LRB-4115/1 & LRB 4410/1.
The implications of this bill are exponentially larger than all recent changes to wetland law combined. An estimated 20% of Wisconsin’s wetlands, approximately one million acres, are non-federal wetlands because they do not have a direct or permanent surface water connection to a navigable stream or lake.
Though often described as “isolated” wetlands, these wetlands connect hydrologically to surface and groundwater in many valuable ways. They are often individually small but regionally abundant and provide critical functions on the landscape. This includes protecting people and property from floods.
Under this bill, there will be NO protections for these wetlands. None.
The bill makes a few other changes to Wisconsin’s wetland law (you can read about them here) but our priority is to prevent the elimination of protections for Wisconsin’s non-federal wetlands.
The most important thing you can do to help is to call your legislators and encourage others to call them too. The quicker we can mobilize the better.
If you would like to also support WWA’s efforts to organize against this bill, please consider making a contribution to help our wetland defense actions today.