Wetlands and Waterways in Wisconsin: Navigating Changes to the Federal Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule – Wisconsin’s Green Fire Opportunities Now 2021-2023 Report

WI Green Fire, May 12, 2021

WGF Opp Now Waters of the United States -Border FINAL

In our new report, produced in partnership with The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s Green Fire (WGF) explains the history of the Clean Water Act and the frequent changes to the definition of “Waters of the United States”, which is critical to interpreting and implementing meaningful protections under the law. The report examines the intersection and overlap between federal and state water protection authority; explains the increasingly important functions, environmental benefits, and ecosystem services provided by wetlands, especially in light of the impacts being experienced as a result of climate change; and concludes with recommendations for policy and actions at the federal and state level that will help assure consistent and effective protections for wetlands and the many invaluable benefits they provide.

Key recommendations for Wisconsin:

  • Preserve and strengthen wetland protections in state law.
  • Utilize the new wetland mapping protocol that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) has developed in updating the statewide Wisconsin Wetland Inventory. Improved mapping will help guide modeling efforts critical to planning and adaptation.
  • Support and invest in green infrastructure projects that address watershed-level impacts. These projects should be developed in close collaboration with Native Americans, communities of color, and low-income communities to reduce flooding impacts.

Download the Full Report: Wetlands and Waterways in Wisconsin: Navigating Changes to the Federal Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule

This report is the fourth in a series of Opportunities Now 2021-2023 issue reports from Wisconsin’s Green Fire. The first report on wolves can be found here, the second report on PFAS can be found here, and the third report on Energy Policy in Wisconsin can be found here.