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NR 150.01 History History: CR 13-022: cr. Register March 2014 No. 699, eff. 4-1-14.
NR 150.02 NR 150.02Applicability. This chapter shall apply to all department actions which may negatively affect the quality of the human environment and to consideration of strategic natural resource issues or policies which may involve unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources.
NR 150.02 Note Note: There are several statutory exemptions from s. 1.11, Stats., including the following: s. 30.025, Stats. (construction of certain high voltage transmission lines); ss. 160.23 and 160.25, Stats. (responses to groundwater standards exceedances); s. 283.93, Stats. (WPDES permit actions, except for WPDES permit actions for new sources); s. 285.60 (2g) (b) and (3) (b), Stats. (air registration permits and general permits); and ss. 295.44, 295.45, 295.65, and 295.645, Stats. (ferrous mining exploration licenses, bulk sampling approvals, successor operators, and responses to groundwater standards exceedances). The department may have previously conducted environmental analyses under s. 1.11 Stats., for actions that are exempt under s. 283.93, Stats., even though the department was not statutorily required to do so.
NR 150.02 History History: CR 13-022: cr. Register March 2014 No. 699, eff. 4-1-14.
NR 150.03 NR 150.03Definitions.
NR 150.03(1)(1)“Action" means any final decision by the department to exercise the department's statutory or administrative rule authority that affects the quality of the human environment including actions under s. NR 150.20 (1m) to (4), but not including policies as defined in sub. (19).
NR 150.03(2) (2)“Alternatives" means other actions or activities which may be reasonably available to achieve the same or altered purpose of the proposed action or project, including the alternative of no action.
NR 150.03(3) (3)“Applicant" means a person who applies for a permit, license, or approval granted or issued by the department.
NR 150.03(4) (4)“Cumulative effects" means compounding effects resulting from repeated or other proximal actions, activities or projects.
NR 150.03(5) (5)“Department" means the department of natural resources.
NR 150.03(5m) (5m)“Department facility" means department infrastructure, including dams, buildings, roads, and trails for resource management, public use, or other purposes.
NR 150.03(6) (6)“EIR" means environmental impact report.
NR 150.03(7) (7)“EIS" means environmental impact statement.
NR 150.03(8) (8)“Environmental analysis" means a detailed analysis that evaluates a proposed action or project's effect on the human environment and studies, develops and describes alternatives to the proposed action or project.
NR 150.03(9) (9)“Environmental effect," “effect," “ environmental impact," “impact," “effect on the environment," or “environmental consequence" means a direct, indirect, secondary, or cumulative change to the quality of the human environment.
NR 150.03(12) (12)“Human environment" means the natural or physical environment, including the components, structures, and functioning of ecosystems, and the relationship of people with that environment, including aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic, social, and human health-related components.
NR 150.03(12m) (12m)“Integrated analysis action" means a department action for which department programmatic procedures provide for public disclosure and include an environmental analysis that provides sufficient information to establish that an environmental impact statement is not required.
NR 150.03(13) (13)Issue" means a general subject, topic or question concerning the use of, or effect on, natural resources about which the department may or may not have authority.
NR 150.03(14) (14)“Lead agency" means the state or federal agency with primary concern or responsibility for a given project or action as determined by law, interagency consultation, or written agreement.
NR 150.03(15) (15)“Minor action" means a department action that is not subject to s. 1.11 (2) (c), Stats., because it is not in conflict with state or federal environmental policies and is not likely to do any of the following:
NR 150.03(15)(a) (a) Set precedent for reducing or limiting environmental protection.
NR 150.03(15)(b) (b) Result in deleterious effects over large geographic areas.
NR 150.03(15)(c) (c) Result in long-term deleterious effects that are prohibitively difficult or expensive to reverse.
NR 150.03(15)(d) (d) Result in deleterious effects on especially important, critical or sensitive environmental resources.
NR 150.03(15)(e) (e) Involve broad public controversy.
NR 150.03(15)(f) (f) Result in substantial risk to human life, health, or safety.
NR 150.03(16) (16)“Mitigating measure" means an action or activity proposed or undertaken by federal or other state agencies, the department or an applicant to reduce the severity or extent of environmental effects that would result from a proposed action or activity.
NR 150.03(16m) (16m)“Natural resource management, timber management, or environmental restoration" includes all actions associated with the management, economic production, protection, and restoration of native and non-native fish, game, plants, trees and timber, habitat protection, habitat management, habitat restoration, silvicultural practices, forest inventory, chemical and mechanical site preparation, timber harvesting, timber sales, timber transporting, tree planting, direct seeding, forest type conversions, invasive species control, timber stand improvement activities, forest nursery operations, prescribed burning, fire prevention, fire detection, fire suppression, rehabilitation of fire burned areas, environmental remediation, fish hatchery operations, state game farm operations, pesticide or herbicide applications, and field surveys for environmental protection.
NR 150.03(17) (17)“NEPA" means the national environmental policy act under 42 USC 4321 et. seq.
NR 150.03(17m) (17m)“New source" has the meaning given in s. 283.01 (8), Stats.
NR 150.03 Note Note: Section 283.01 (8), Stats., defines “new source" to mean any point source the construction of which commenced after the effective date of applicable effluent limitations or standards of performance.
NR 150.03(18) (18)“Person" includes any natural person, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, association, public or private corporation, the state of Wisconsin and all political subdivisions, cooperative, estate, trust, receiver, executor, administrator, fiduciary, and any representative appointed by order of any court or otherwise acting on behalf of others.
NR 150.03(19) (19)“Policy" means a written plan or set of guiding principles, priorities, or protocols to guide department action that has been issued as a department manual code, or approved in writing by the natural resources board or the department secretary, but does not include actions as defined in sub. (1).
NR 150.03(20) (20)“Prime farm land" means land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops and that is available for these uses, as defined in U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service National soil survey handbook, title 430-VI.
NR 150.03 Note Note: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service National soil survey handbook, title 430-VI is available online at:
NR 150.03(21) (21)“Prior compliance" means that one or more environmental analysis documents exist for prior actions that are similar to the proposed action in kind, scale, and environmental setting.
NR 150.03(22) (22)“Project" means one or more actions and other activities related to a single undertaking by the department or an applicant.
NR 150.03(23) (23)“Protocols" means written department procedures to guide department action, other than statutes or administrative codes, that have been approved by the natural resources board or the department secretary.
NR 150.03(23m) (23m)“Publicly announce" or “public announcement" means publication on the department's internet web site, or other reasonable methods to provide public notice.
NR 150.03(24) (24)“Secondary effects" means reasonably foreseeable indirect effects caused by an action or project later in time or farther removed in distance, including induced changes in the pattern of land use, population density, or growth rate and related effects on the human environment.
NR 150.03(25) (25)“Strategic analysis" means an environmental and alternatives analysis of an issue or policy.
NR 150.03(26) (26)“Unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources" means an unsettled disagreement between experts, policymakers of local, state, or tribal governments, or citizen interest groups in Wisconsin concerning a policy affecting the utilization of a substantial natural or physical resource where the utilization would be of sufficient magnitude that, on a statewide or regional basis, it would have a considerable and important impact to the natural resources of the state. To be considered an unresolved conflict concerning alternative uses of available resources, the disagreeing parties must have identified a technically and economically feasible alternative use of the contested physical or natural resource, or both, and have the ability to reasonably implement that alternative.
NR 150.03(27) (27)“WEPA" means s. 1.11, Stats.
NR 150.03 Note Note: S. 1.11, Stats. was enacted as ch. 274, laws of 1971, amended by ch. 204, laws of 1973, and is known as the Wisconsin environmental policy act or WEPA.
NR 150.03 History History: CR 13-022: cr. Register March 2014 No. 699, eff. 4-1-14; correction in numbering in (15) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1., Stats., Register March 2014 No. 699; EmR1517: emerg. am. (1), (10), (11), (15) (intro.), cr. (23m), am. (25), (26), eff. 6-10-15; CR 15-037: am. (1), cr. (5m), r. (10), (11), cr. (12m), am. (15) (intro.), cr. (16m), (17m), am. (19), cr. (23m), am. (25), (26) Register December 2015 No. 720, eff. 1-1-16.
NR 150.04 NR 150.04Policy.
NR 150.04(1)(a) (a) In accordance with the Wisconsin and national environmental policy acts and regulations issued by the president's council on environmental quality, it is the intention of the natural resources board to declare a policy that will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony among people and their environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment; and to enrich the understanding of the important ecological systems and natural resources of the state.
NR 150.04(1)(b) (b) The board recognizes the potential for impact of many state and federal actions on all components of the human environment. Therefore, the board declares that it is the continuing policy of the department of natural resources, as the primary environmental agency in state government, to develop an understanding of the environmental consequences of its actions and to use all practicable means and measures to create and maintain conditions under which people and nature can exist in productive harmony and fulfill the requirements of present and future generations.
NR 150.04(2) (2)In order to carry out the policy set forth under sub. (1), the department shall do all the following:
NR 150.04(2)(a) (a) Acknowledge WEPA as an obligation shared by all units of the department to the extent that any unit contemplating regulatory or management actions subject to WEPA review under this chapter shall evaluate and be aware of the environmental consequences of such actions.
NR 150.04(2)(b) (b) Recognize its role as an environmental agency in state government and that it shall set an example in meeting the spirit and intent of WEPA.
NR 150.04(2)(c) (c) Develop, where possible, agreements and understandings with other state, federal, and local agencies to minimize duplication in meeting environmental review requirements and establish a mechanism for resolution of interagency conflict.
NR 150.04(2)(d) (d) Develop appropriate strategic analyses for any issue or policy which involves unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources.
NR 150.04(2)(e) (e) Develop appropriate environmental effects information and analysis along with a discussion of meaningful alternatives and make this available to the decisionmaker in a timely manner for all actions where such an evaluation is required by this chapter; and recognize that decisions subject to WEPA requirements cannot be made until the appropriate environmental review process is completed.
NR 150.04(2)(f) (f) Implement the environmental review procedure as an integrated process, not a separate sequence of activities, that must be part of the initial planning process for department projects and initiated at an early stage of the regulatory review process.
NR 150.04(2)(g) (g) Consider the findings of environmental analyses and comments received from the public in making decisions on proposed actions.
NR 150.04(2)(h) (h) Recognize that the department has an affirmative duty within its resources to comment on the environmental review documents of other agencies by virtue of its jurisdiction by law, special expertise, or authority.
NR 150.04 History History: CR 13-022: cr. Register March 2014 No. 699, eff. 4-1-14.
NR 150.05 NR 150.05WEPA Coordinator. The department shall designate a qualified staff person as WEPA coordinator to coordinate and oversee performance of WEPA requirements under this chapter. The WEPA coordinator shall do all the following:
NR 150.05(1) (1)Advise the department to ensure that it is in compliance with this chapter and s. 1.11, Stats.
NR 150.05(2) (2)Participate on behalf of the department in inter-agency WEPA activities.
NR 150.05(3) (3)Act as contact for other state, federal and local agencies seeking assistance or opinions on environmental analysis matters.
NR 150.05(4) (4)Advise the department and the natural resources board on strategic natural resource issues or policies needing analysis under s. NR 150.10.
NR 150.05(5) (5)Prepare and submit to the chief clerk of each house of the legislature the department's annual WEPA report required by s. 1.11 (2) (j), Stats.
NR 150.05 History History: CR 13-022: cr. Register March 2014 No. 699, eff. 4-1-14.
NR 150.10 NR 150.10Strategic analysis.
NR 150.10(1)(1)Purpose. This section establishes the procedures to fulfill the requirements of s. 1.11 (2) (e) and (h), Stats.
NR 150.10(1m) (1m)Identification of issues.
NR 150.10(1m)(a) (a) Policies. The department shall conduct a strategic analysis for all new or revised policies if both of the following apply:
NR 150.10(1m)(a)1. 1. The policy involves unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources.
NR 150.10(1m)(a)2. 2. The department has substantial discretion in formulating important provisions of the policy.
NR 150.10(1m)(c) (c) Other issues or policies. Although not required under this section, the department may use the strategic analysis processes in subs. (2) to (4) for any of the following issues or policies:
NR 150.10(1m)(c)1. 1. A complicated or complex issue.
NR 150.10(1m)(c)2. 2. An issue that is new to the state.
NR 150.10(1m)(c)3. 3. An issue or policy that will likely lead to future department actions that will require an EIS.
NR 150.10(1m)(c)4. 4. Issues for which there is a high potential for legislation or new department policy.
NR 150.10(1m)(c)5. 5. Planning and development of controversial resource-oriented projects.
NR 150.10(1m)(c)6. 6. Any other issue or policy that involves unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources.
NR 150.10(2) (2)Scoping.
NR 150.10(2)(a) (a) General requirement. The department shall determine the scope of the analysis, potential alternative approaches, potentially affected natural resources, and likely effects of the alternatives on those resources. The department shall also identify incomplete or unavailable information that is relevant to a reasoned choice among alternatives.
NR 150.10(2)(b) (b) Consultation. The department may consult with and obtain the comments of any agency that has expertise with respect to any issue involved.
NR 150.10(2)(c) (c) Public scoping. The department shall use a public scoping process. The process may consist of comment periods, meetings, hearings, workshops, surveys, questionnaires, interagency committees, or other appropriate methods or activities, and may be integrated with other public participation requirements.
NR 150.10(3) (3)Analysis.
NR 150.10(3)(a) (a) Purpose. The purpose of the analysis is to inform decisionmakers and the public of alternative courses of action and the anticipated effects of those alternatives on the quality of the human environment.
NR 150.10(3)(b) (b) Intent. Using available ecological and other scientific information, the analysis shall consider the alternatives and environmental effects in a dispassionate manner and may not advocate a particular position about alternatives.
NR 150.10(3)(c) (c) Authorship. Any part of the analysis may be prepared by the department, a consultant to the department, or another state, federal, tribal, or local agency. The department may rely on any relevant information from any source.
NR 150.10(3)(d) (d) Format. The document shall follow a format relevant to the scope of the analysis.
NR 150.10(3)(e) (e) Presentation. The analysis shall be written in plain language and should use appropriate graphics to aid decisionmakers and the public.
Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.