Rock-Koshkonong Lake Dist. v. Wis. Dep't of Natural Res.Annotate this Case
Several entities filed a petition to raise the water levels of Lake Koshkonong designated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR rejected the petition, and an ALJ affirmed. The circuit court and court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the DNR's conclusions of law were subject to a de novo review; (2) the DNR has broad statutory authority to protect non-navigable wetlands and other non-navigable water resources and may consider the water level impact on all adjacent property under Wis. Stat. 31.02(1); (3) the DNR may consider Wis. Admin. Code NR 103 water quality standards when making a water level determination under section 31.02(1) that affects wetlands and may apply these standards when appropriate after weighing the factors in the statute; and (4) the DNR erroneously excluded most testimony on the economic impact of lower water levels in the lake on the residents, businesses, and tax bases adjacent to and near the lake. Remanded.