This week, Governor Walker signed three bills I
authored into law:
SB 122 relating to changing the requirement that certain
city and village officials must execute and file an official
SB 123 relating to: the municipal treasurer's bond for tax
SB 144 relating to: resources eligible for renewable
Governor Walker signing Assembly Bill 122 into law.
Assembly Bill 123 being signed into law.
Governor Walker signing Assembly Bill 144 into law.
If you are interested in learning more about the
specifics of these proposals, do not hesitate to contact my
office. As always, I look forward to your input on proposals
that come before the legislature or ideas for legislation.
Marine Sanctuary designation
In recent weeks, my office has been contacted
with questions regarding the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration's Marine Sanctuary designation; to better respond
to those concerns, I have reached out to the Wisconsin
Departments of Natural Resources and Administration for more
State oversight and management of beaches and
waters will not dissipate as a result of the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration's decision to designate a
national marine sanctuary in Wisconsin. Furthermore, this
designation will not alter riparian rights, or state law
regarding access to the area in which shoreland property owners
have exclusive access. This proposal recognizes the state's
sovereignty over its waters and submerged lands.
According to state law, riparian owners have
exclusive right to use the exposed bed of the lake in front of
their property, when water levels are below normal. The
aforementioned right extends to Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM).
Wisconsin holds the beds of all lakes, ponds, and navigable
rivers beyond the ordinary high-water mark in a public trust,
and the public has the right to use the water for recreational
If the sanctuary is designated, it would be
co-managed by NOAA, as it is herein referred, and the State of
Wisconsin, and a Memorandum of Agreement would be established.
NOAA will also establish a sanctuary advisory council, made up
of members from the public with meetings open to the public to
gather input and advice on sanctuary management. National marine
sanctuary councils are community-based advisory groups
established to provide advice and recommendations to the
superintendent on issues including management, science, service,
Additionally, NOAA, in collaboration with the
state, would conduct regular sanctuary management plan reviews,
during which time the public has the opportunity to provide
input. The periodic management plan reviews allow national
marine sanctuaries the opportunity to look at how the area is
changing and adaptively manage in collaboration with our state,
local, and federal partners, and engage the public in the
decision making process.
As described in the proposal's Draft
Environmental Impact Statement, NOAA recognizes that commercial
shipping on the Great Lakes is an important activity that
support the nation's economy. The proposed sanctuary is not
expected to have adverse impacts on the commercial shipping
industry. NOAA's proposal did not include the commercial ports
of Two Rivers, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, and Port Washington, in the
sanctuary boundary. NOAA excluded these areas based on scoping
comments by the Lake Carriers' Association, members of the
shipping community, and elected officials. The aforementioned
groups requested that the ports not be included within the
boundary, so as to avoid any restriction or prohibition on port
operations deemed "critical to the local, regional, and national
economies," including dredging (page 35 of the DEIS).
Additionally, with the passage of the Coast
Guard Authorization Bill of 2015, the United States Coast Guard
and Environmental Protection Agency regulations prohibiting
ballast water exchange in national sanctuaries would not apply
to this proposed sanctuary. Ballast operations would continue as
currently carried out.
In regards to federal funding, the United States
House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources adding
funding to the National Marine Sanctuary Program for fiscal year
2017. I believe that may be in response to the Wisconsin and
Maryland nominations that are moving forward with this
NOAA's preferred proposal (Boundary: 1,075 square miles;
known shipwrecks: 37; potential shipwrecks: 80).
Have a great week,
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