The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is launching an analysis of existing and alternative approaches to coastal management on the Door peninsula under high- and low-water conditions following a dramatic increase in shoreline revetment projects.
The DNR is seeking residents’ feedback on a draft outline of the topics to be covered in the analysis through an online questionnaire.
“It’s really based on the volume of the permit requests we’ve received,” said James Pardee, DNR environmental analysis and review specialist.
He said there is a backlog of nearly 500 permit requests for dredging and revetment projects from property owners seeking to protect shorelines from the high waters. That backlog began to accumulate when water levels reached record highs in 2019. They’ve receded 17 inches in 2021 but remain above historical averages.
“The main thrust of the analysis is really to look at alternatives,” Pardee said. “First we want to understand the nature of the problem, then consider what alternatives there are to the current process. It’s an open-ended analysis.”
The Door peninsula’s shoreline is important to the ecological health of Lake Michigan and Green Bay, as well as to the economic well-being of northeastern Wisconsin, the DNR’s analysis announcement said.
The DNR is concerned that the current wave of shoreland-protection projects could have negative environmental and socioeconomic consequences, including the loss of vital fish habitat and the disruption of the natural processes by which beaches and other coastal features are built up and maintained over time.
The analysis will inform decision-makers and the public about current conditions, various approaches to coastal management and the anticipated environmental and socioeconomic effects of those alternatives under high- and low-water scenarios. A strategic analysis does not establish DNR policy or change existing rules.
The outline and questionnaire are available at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/EIA/DoorPeninsulaSA. All written comments about the draft outline should be emailed to [email protected] by July 23.