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Bill Dredges Up Concerns Over Future Of Wisconsin Lakes

Bill That Would Make It Easier To Dredge Lakes Meets Environmental Opposition

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A bill that would make it easier for landowners to dredge lakes is working its way through the Legislature over the objections of a broad coalition of environmental groups.

Right now, lakeshore property owners who want to dredge need to work with state Department of Natural Resources scientists to get “individual permits” that specifically address the features of their lakes. Some landowners, like those represented by lobbyist Bob Welch, said the permits are so complicated that they won’t even apply.

“Why would you go out and spend $10,000 to prepare an individual permit when the people who are reviewing it tell you you’re not going to get one,” Welch said.

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But George Meyer, with the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, told a state Senate panel there’s a reason some permits are tough to get.

“The reason DNR is telling people they shouldn’t go there is because it is valuable habitat,” he said. “That’s not a weakness in the system, that in fact is a strength in the system.”

Meyer and other environmental groups are fighting a bill that would make dredging permits easier to come by. It passed a state Assembly panel this week.