General permit now available for small projects impacting wetlands
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MADISON – A general permit that streamlines and shortens the wetland permitting process for some residential, commercial and industrial projects impacting wetlands is now in effect, state wetland officials say.
The statewide general permit – or “GP” – is the first of its kind required under a new law passed earlier this year by state lawmakers. It enables people who have a project resulting in the unavoidable filling of up to 10,000 square feet of wetland – just under one-quarter of an acre – to get their permit decision more quickly if the project meets the standards and conditions in the general permit, according to Cami Peterson, Department of Natural Resources wetland policy coordinator.
“The general permit simplifies the permit process for projects that can’t avoid small amounts of wetland fill,” she says. “By avoiding and minimizing wetland impacts, and designing their project to meet the GP standards and conditions, a property owner can qualify and get their permit decision within 30 days.”
Previously, all landowners wanting to pursue projects that involve wetland fill were required to seek an individual permit and lengthier environmental review.
The general permit for smaller projects identifies the location, design, and construction standards and other conditions any project must meet to qualify for the general permit, and to ensure that minimal environmental effects occur. The general permit is valid statewide for 5 years. When property owners’ projects are covered under the general permit, DNR is required to issue a decision within 30 days.
Projects that involve more than 10,000 square feet of wetland fill or do not meet the GP standards and conditions continue to require a wetland individual permit, which has a longer process time, a higher permit fee, and require wetland mitigation and a higher level of environmental review, Peterson says.
The general permit, more information about eligibility for the permit and how to apply for coverage can be found by searching the DNR website for wetland permits.