Pond Permits and the DNR Process

September 18, 2013

Now is the time to plan for summer waterfront projects

Weekly News article published: February 19, 2013 by the Central Office

Online system makes applying for some pond permits easier

MADISON – Landscaping your waterfront lot? Planning a pond? Need road and culvert repairs?

Now is the time to start planning for such projects and many people who need a permit to proceed with their project will be able to apply electronically in order to completely avoid expensive and time consuming paper submittals, state waterway officials say.

“As always, we recommend potential applicants start early to find out if they need a permit for their project and how best to design it to minimize impacts to the environment,” said Pam Biersach, who directs the Department of Natural Resources watershed management bureau. “Such information may help people avoid needing a permit altogether or it may help speed the process, particularly if the project allows for them to use our new online application system.”

DNR launched an electronic permitting system for water-related projects a year ago and it can be used for projects that would have an impact on wetlands or waterfronts and require an individual permit. Fish cribs and other habitat structures, shore stabilization, swim rafts, grading, and putting in a pea gravel blanket are among the kinds of activities for which applicants can file and pay online.

“Our online system allows applicants to save dollars track the progress of review for an application, get quicker decisions on permit applications, and helps ensure projects get a more consistent and comprehensive review to better protect Wisconsin lakes, rivers and wetlands,” Biersach says. “We encourage those who can to apply online.”

The online permitting system is found by searching the DNR website for keywords “water permits.” As with other internet-based services, there’s a quick and easy process for project proponents to set up an account with a password before beginning the application process, she says.

Right now, many waterfront projects requiring customized “individual permits” are available for online permitting, as are applications for the treatment of aquatic plants in certain waters and pit-trench dewatering general permits. In coming months, online application processes will be available for more activities potentially affecting Wisconsin waters.

Common construction activities, when done near lakes, streams or wetlands, can have unintended side effects, including flooding nearby property, degrading downstream water quality, and harming fish and wildlife habitat.

To protect against these impacts and harm to fish and wildlife, recreational activities, and scenic beauty, Wisconsin water laws require DNR permits for all construction projects on or near a waterway or wetland. A permit may also be required from the zoning department in the county in which the property is located, and from the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

“By getting started now on planning waterfront and wetland projects now and using our online system where it’s available, people can get the answers they need in a timely way and in a way that protects what drew them to the lake or wetland in the first place,” Biersach says.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Pam Biersach, 608-261-8447

Wisconsin Lake & Pond Resource LLC can assist you in completing these permits.