I offer this explanation from Milwaukee Riverkeeper of the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that weakened public water rights and protections enshrined in the State Constitution Article IX, The Public Trust Doctrine.
A very worrisome development, given the new corporate threats to state water from frac sand mines, industrial-scale dairies and the proposed iron ore mine:
Wisconsin Supreme Court Undermines Public Trust Doctrine
The Rock-Koshkonong Lake District had sued the DNR to raise water levels to bolster tourism, lake access and the value of property around the lake. (The lake is formed by a dam and levels dropped as part of dam repair in prior years.) The DNR argued that raising lake levels would worsen shore erosion and cause wetland habitat loss at the lake.
In overtuning the DNR’s decision, the Court ruled that the Public Trust Doctrine (and hence the DNR’s duty to protect the wetlands) did not extend to the wetlands.