Dear Loon Enthusiasts,
We are writing to inform LoonWatch supporters of a proposal before the state legislature that would have negative impacts on Wisconsin’s loon population and take away local control to protect lakes (budget motion #520, paragraph 23). As lakeshore property owners and lake users, it is important to understand how this legislation will directly affect your lake. The following questions and answers are meant to provide clarification of the ramifications if this legislation is passed.
What type of shoreland regulation is allowed under current regulations?
Current zoning regulations allow for local municipalities and counties to implement their own zoning as long as they meet the minimum state standards (as specified in state statute DNR NR 115).
Why do local municipalities and counties want to implement their own shoreland regulations?
Because of the unique and delicate nature of local water bodies, many counties have implemented shoreland ordinance standards stronger than NR 115, including larger lot sizes, buffer areas, and impervious surface limits.
What would change if this new proposal (budget motion #520, paragraph 23) is implemented?
If this proposal is adopted, counties with stronger standards will be required to abandon their systems of shoreland zoning. They would be required to implement the state minimum standards, and would not be allowed to develop or implement stronger standards.
Why is LoonWatch concerned about this legislation?
This action will have an impact on the presence of loon pairs and reproductive success. Research shows that lakes with building densities exceeding 25 buildings/km are not occupied by reproductive loon pairs. Current state shoreland zoning (DNR NR 115) permits a density of up to 33 buildings/km of shoreline. Lessening local control of shoreline zoning could pose a significant risk to protecting shorelands, and therefore a loss of loon reproductive success.