Contact your Legislators: Protect our Wetlands!
Please contact your legislators and tell them, "Protect our Wetlands and our Environment!"
Wisconsin has already lost almost half of its original wetlands and many of those remaining are degraded. Healthy wetlands protect our drinking water, prevent flooding (like we experienced in 2007, 2008, and 2010), filter polluted runoff before it enters our rivers, and stabilize shorelines. Wetlands are also important to wildlife--about 40% of our wildlife use wetlands for some portion of their life cycle. The Milwaukee River Basin contains about 68,000 acres of wetlands, which is about 12% of our land area.
Tell your legislators to support changes to the bill proposed by the Wisconsin Wetland Association (Assembly Bill 463/Senate Bill 368) so that critical wetland protections are not sacrificed in the interest of streamlining the regulatory process.
Wisconsin Wetlands Association has reviewed the legislation and highlights these concerns:
1. The bill fails to clearly state that impacts to exceptional wetland resources should be discouraged. Current regulates provide increased protection for high quality, rare, and historically intact wetlands. As a result, no wetland is off-limits.
2. The bill eliminates a critical requirement that requires developers to consider alternative sites that do not contain wetlands or to minimize wetland damage as part of a construction project.
3. The bill requires consideration of mitigation too early in the permit review process, allows for wetland mitigation to be used as justification for wetland fill, and does not require wetland mitigation to be in the same watershed as the wetland destruction project. This has the potential to significantly increase flood risk and degrade water quality, in particular in urban areas where it is hard to find mitigation sites.
Committees in both the Assembly and Senate voted in favor of the bill this past week, rejecting efforts to craft a consensus bill that would have included a scientific and balanced approach to wetlands preservation. A.B 463 and S.B. 368 will now go to the full floor of both the Senate and Assembly for voting, possibly as early as next week.
To find your WI Assembly and Senate member click here.