Wednesday, November 15, 2017

WI DNR sets golf course env. review, wetland fill hearing

The Wisconsin DNR will hold a public hearing November 30th in Sheboygan on both an updated environmental impact statement for a golf course proposed by the Kohler Company and the company's application for a permit to fill wetlands on the site, a nature preserve above Lake Michigan.

Key issues include loss of dunes, native artifacts, habitat, woodlands and wetlands, groundwater quality, runoff and pollution migration, traffic flow and impacts on the adjoining state park, among others. 

The site was also recently annexed to the City of Sheboygan from the Town of Wilson in a fast-tracked move being litigated.

Not up for consideration at the hearing: proposed changes sought at the adjoining Kohler-Andrae State Park which would give golf course operations control of acreage in the park for a building, parking and traffic access.

Here is the text of the DNR's hearing and related comment period announcements:

Public hearing Nov. 30 on Kohler golf course proposal wetland permit and updated EIS
Published by Central Office November 14, 2017 
Contact(s): Mike Thompson, environmental analysis team supervisor, 414-303-3408; Jim Dick, DNR spokesperson, 608-267-2773 
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. - The public will have an opportunity at an upcoming public hearing and during a public comment period to submit comments on a wetland permit application and updated draft environmental impact statement (EIS) related to a proposed golf course just north of Kohler-Andrae State Park in Sheboygan County. 
Kohler Company has proposed developing an 18-hole golf course that would be constructed immediately north of the state park on 247 acres owned by the Kohler Company. The project site is an undeveloped area between the Black River and Lake Michigan. 
As part of the proposed project, Kohler has submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources an application for a wetland permit to fill 3.69 acres of existing wetlands. The DNR has prepared an updated draft EIS to inform decision makers and the public about the anticipated effects of the proposed project as well as alternatives.   
In addition, the company had proposed to construct an access roadway, roundabout and maintenance facility on less than 5 acres within the state park boundary. The wetlands that would be impacted by this proposal are addressed in the wetland permit application and draft EIS. Kohler's proposal to use park lands is still being evaluated, so that proposal is not part of the November 30 public hearing or its associated comment period.  
The complete wetland permit application WP-IP-SE-2017-60-X03-08T09-02-48 and updated EIS are available for review by searching the DNR website,, for "Kohler golf course proposal." The webpage also has a link for people to subscribe to receive email updates on the environmental impact statement and wetland permit processes.   
A public hearing on the wetland permit application and updated EIS will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, at the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan Theater, 1 University Drive, Sheboygan. Any interested persons will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed project, wetland permit application and updated EIS. The public comment period on the wetland permit and updated EIS runs through Dec. 15, 2017. People may submit comments through the DNR website, by email to, or by U.S. postal mail to Jay Schiefelbein, Wisconsin DNR, 2984 Shawano Ave., Green Bay, WI 54313-6727.  
The department will consider all public comments and prepare a final environmental impact statement prior to taking action on any permit applications. The public will be notified when the final EIS is available
The golf course development is just one of many environmental matters roiling Wisconsin politics.

I had posted a couple of weeks ago that the DNR and Natural Resources Board were likely to a total of three concurrent meetings on the EIS, the wetlands permit and the state park changes, perhaps on November 15th. The November 30th hearing will accomplish just the DNR portion of those procedures.

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