WGF Comments SB 252 Flood Risk Reduction Pilot

Nancy LarsonWI Green Fire, June 11, 2019

June 11, 2019

Honorable Senator Cowles, Chair
Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy

Re: Senate Bill 252 – Flood risk reduction pilot project

Dear Senator Cowles and Members of the Committee:

As a member of Wisconsin’s Green Fire (WGF) and a resident of Ashland County, I write to express my appreciation to the sponsors of Senate Bill 252 for this investment in green infrastructure approaches to flood reduction. Prior to my retirement from the Department of Natural Resources, I worked on several initiatives to reduce runoff in the Lake Superior basin. The demonstration projects that would be funded pursuant to SB 252 would build on a long history of partnerships among local residents, watershed organizations, and government at the local, tribal, state, and federal levels. This investment by state government would be timely and much appreciated.

Throughout Wisconsin, we are experiencing devastating flooding that strains our communities and finances. Statewide, wetland protection and rehabilitation of natural drainage patterns are important tools for local communities to enhance resilience to flooding. WGF appreciates the provision in SB 252 calling for DNR recommendations for how existing state policies or funding streams could be adapted to create incentives to protect and restore natural infrastructure and reduce floods, to be reported to the Legislature and Division of Emergency Management. The only concern about the Bill as written, is the requirement for Ashland County to submit a report summarizing results of the demonstration projects no later than June 30, 2021. A longer time frame is generally required to adequately evaluate performance of a restoration project, sometimes from 5 to 10 years after a project is complete. However, it is reasonable for the County to submit a progress report on the status of demonstration project plans and installation by June 30, 2021.

Thank you for your consideration
Nancy J Larson

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