A quicker, less expensive permit process would allow lakefront property owners statewide to more quickly and easily create fish habitat near their shoreline under a state proposal. Comments on the proposed statewide general permit are being accepted through October 24, 2013. The proposed general permit and environmental assessment documents can be reviewed at: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Waterways/habitat/fish­_wildlife.html.

Utilizing the ability to create general permits through an administrative process, the department has converted existing general permits for fish habitat projects that were previously identified in Wis. Admin Code NR 323 (Fish Crib, Half-Log, Spawning Reef, Wind Deflector and Tree Drop) to a statewide general permit. This means that in the future the department can use our administrative process to modify standards easier and faster to be more responsive to public concerns.

No changes were made to the existing permit standards for fish cribs, spawning reefs, wing deflectors, tree drops and half logs. However, the proposed general permit does create NEW standards for a NEW type of fish habitat structure called FISH STICKS.

The fish sticks general permit applies to littoral zone (near shore) woody habitat projects in lakes. The general permit includes several location standards, such as providing standards for fish sticks placement within a narrow thoroughfare or near bridges, swimming areas, boat ramps, etc., and also technical standards to ensure minimal impacts to public rights in the waterway.

To help promote lake-wide projects, and address concerns about increased permit fees, the general permit allows applicants for fish sticks sites to be added to already existing general permit coverage on the same waterbody. For example, if landowners in 2014 obtain permit coverage and place fish sticks, new landowners on the same lake could apply for sites to be added under the same existing permit coverage to add fish sticks on their property on the same lake in 2015, without an additional permit application fee. After the general permit is on the books, people who apply for the permit would receive a decision within 30 days and the permit would be good for five years.

Please visit http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Waterways/habitat/fish­_wildlife.html to review the documents.

Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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