A Commoner Writes: Rollback Of DNR Wetland Protections Set Stage For Recent Flooding


Major rollbacks of DNR wetlands protections quietly set the stage for massive flooding destruction without precedent this August and September in Sauk, Dane, and other counties.

Many rollbacks came in unorganized knee-jerk pieces over Walker Administration’s eight years.  Policies determined by the people changed to policies wanted by corporations or rich campaign contributors.

In April 2016, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker with sponsorship by Wisconsin’s Senators Leah Vukmir and Frank Lasee and Representative Adam Jarchow enacted SB459 into Law.  SB459 caused wide-ranging deregulation of wetlands and navigable waters that removed protections controlling wild forces-of-nature and allowed man-made foolishness.

This major repeal of public health protections increased out-of-control flooding dangers.  One man died.  Thousands will suffer medical problems from molds.  Walker with his gerrymandered Republican Legislature disassembled decades of Wisconsin’s key scientific-based protections.  These regulations prevented the frightening catastrophes elsewhere from occurring in Wisconsin.

Favors for the few 

Special favors for the few who wanted to build boat-houses, roads, and other “improvements” along water-edges and in wetlands were granted as exceptions and deregulations.  This harmed thousands of ignored home-owners whose insurance doesn’t cover flooding.

DNR science established such long-standing regulations were critical to prevent flash-flooding invading non-floodplain areas and causing excessive damage.  The DNR scientists predicted this damage.  Perhaps that contributed to their termination.

Science-based environmental groups warned regulations should be increased, not decreased, to enable wetlands to absorb more water to prevent out-of-control dangerous flooding.

In early 2018, more wetlands were deregulated. Walker and Vukmir are responsible for the thousands of destroyed cars, thousands of damaged homes, and inconvenient destruction of roads and bridges.  They were warned, but they didn’t care.

Tony Evers, Walker’s opponent, has promised to respect scientific impacts involving environment and the wetlands.

Incumbent US Senator Tammy Baldwin, Vukmir’s opponent, has a proven track-record of environmental protection, fiscal responsibility, and civil rights.

Susan Michetti
Mt. Horeb, WI