Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Rains fall. Floods spread. So do the wetland fills.

Despite last year's devastating rains and greater, ongoing flooding in the nearby farm belt, Wisconsin wetlands - - nature's defense against muddy and polluting runoff from inundated land - - remain under growing threat.
a wetland in May
WI DNR photo
*  Foxconn has completed the necessary paperwork to fill nearly 17 acres of wetlands on its Mount Pleasant construction site, according to information posted by the Wisconsin DNR. Scroll to "Mitigation" on this DNR web page.  

That's a lot of wetlands: visualize acreage equal to 16-to-17 football fields, according to this handy, illustrated square-feet to acres calculator.

And the project suffered major runoff last year, remember?

*  A Georgia frac sand company is fighting a recent DNR decision revoking a permit to fill high-quality wetlands in Monroe County about the size of 14 football fields.

*  Kohler interests intend to appeal a similar wetlands-fill permit revocation for a high-end golf course along Lake Michigan; opponents are continuing their David vs. Goliath preservation effort.

These wetland losses - - capped off with the removal of state protections from 100,000 acres - - a round number pulled out of a special-interests' lobbied hat - - were set in motion when Walker was Governor; he began authorizing wetland filling in the first hours and in the earliest moves by his administration and define his horrible environmental legacy - - explained in detail, here.

* Speaking of Kohler properties, The Beacon, a Sheboygan community newspaper, reported that county officials there on Tuesday approved a wetland rezoning for Kohler's Whistling Straits property so a wedding chapel could be in the Town of Mosul with a view of Lake Michigan. 

The board reclassified 3,000 square feet of wetlands on the 150-acre Kohler Co. site from shoreland-wetland to shoreland district to allow the company to build a driveway for the chapel, scheduled to open in 2020.
All of which reminds me of these prescient words on the DNR's webpage about the people's constitutionally-protected rights to water which the government is supposed to protect as our trustee:

"A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist. Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," wrote the Wisconsin Supreme Court in its 1960 opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC and buttressing The Public Trust Doctrine, Article IX of the Wisconsin State Constitution.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Indeed give them an inch & they'll take a mile--->many miles. Their greed & need to control is insatiable!