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Wisconsin Supreme Court Decision Protects State Waters

Wisconsin Supreme Court Decision Protects State Waters

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Published by: Sarah LittleRedfeather Kalmanson on Feb 14, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Wisconsin Supreme Court DecisionProtects State Waters
Posted on
July 6, 2011
 A Wisconsin Supreme Court decision released this morning will help protect Wisconsin’s beautiful lakes,rivers and streams by confirming that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has authority tomanage Wisconsin’s groundwater. Though often thought of as completely separate entities, groundwater and surface water are intimatelyconnected. Drawing down groundwater through high-capacity wells can lower water levels on lakes, riversand streams. In severe cases, these drawdowns can result in lakes or streams going dry. In centralWisconsin, several lakes have dried up and the Little Plover River, a class one trout stream, has even run dry. The decision today,
Lake Beulah v. DNR,
settled a disagreement caused by the DNR issuing a permit for the Village of East Troy to operate a high-capacity municipal well. Opponents to the permit argued that the DNRshould have considered the effect such a well would have on Lake Beulah, pursuant to the DNR’s public trustduties (The public trust doctrine states that Wisconsin waters are a shared resource and that it is the duty of the state to protect them for all residents.)While arising from a local dispute, this case has far-reaching implications. At stake was whether the DNR hadthe authority to manage Wisconsin’s groundwater, a tool integral to the Agency’s duty to protect our lakesrivers and streams. Clean Wisconsin’s Board Chair, Carl Sinderbrand, helped argue the case in front of theCourt.In the decision released today, the Supreme Court ruled that the DNR has both the
 authority and the duty 
toconsider the environmental impact of high-capacity wells on Wisconsin’s waters. This decision is a huge victory for Wisconsin’s waters as it ensures that our wonderful lakes, rivers andstreams are protected from threats both from above and below.For more information, make sure to check outour press release about the decision, or theCourt’s decision written by Justice Patrick Crooks.
-Contributed by Sam Weis, communications director 
 This entry was posted inClean Water,Success!,Water Qualityand taggedCarl Sinderbrand,DNR,Groundwater,Lake Beulah,Lakes,Little Plover River, Rivers,Streams,Supreme Court,wells,Wisconsin,Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources,Wisconsin Supreme Courtbysamweis. Bookmark the permalink .

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