Managing Wetlands on Your Property

If There are Wetlands on Your Property

If there are wetlands on your property and you would like to conduct landscaping or increase your outdoor living space, there are several options.
  • Avoid/preserve the wetland. Leave vegetation natural and landscape around it. Enjoy the wildlife value of wetlands and appreciate that stormwater would much rather seek refuge in a wetland than in your basement!
  • Landscape without adding or removing soil. The Clean Water Act does not prohibit the cutting of vegetation above the ground surface, but does prohibit removal of any belowground stumps or roots (Tulloch Rule).
  • Cut and prune the trees and shrubs at or slightly above the ground surface. Leave all stumps and large roots in place. You may mow herbaceous (soft stemmed) vegetation in a wetland.

Keep In Mind

  • In Superior, wetlands are commonly very shallow and hold water because the land is flat and the soils are clay. Most wetlands, especially in neighborhoods are only wet a few weeks out of the year and most often are dry enough to walk around in without even getting wet!
  • Trees and shrubs suck up a lot of water, so by removing trees and shrubs in your wetland, you may notice that standing water is deeper and hangs around longer in the spring and after storms.

Wetland Regulations

Impacts to wetlands are regulated at the Federal level by Section 404 and 401 of the Clean Water Act, which is administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. At the state level, there are several regulations to protect water quality and the Public Trust, managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Wetland regulations prevent the "discharge" of any dredged or fill material, including the displacement of soils (Tulloch Rule), in a wetland.

Wetland regulatory permits are needed for any activity that would discharge fill in wetlands. Additionally, waterway permits may be needed if the project also affects or is very nearby a navigable water, such as a lake or stream. Federal Section 10 (of the Rivers and Harbors Act) and/or State Chapter 30 (waters), permits may be required. Wetlands may also be governed by the state/local Shoreland Wetland Zoning laws/ordinance.

Regulatory Decision Responsibilities

In Superior, wetland regulatory decisions are generally made by both staff from the Corps of Engineers and Department of Natural Resources. In certain areas included in the City of Superior Special Area Management Plan, the City also has wetland regulatory staff to help, as well.

When regulatory staff are included early in your planning process, they can better help you to understand your rights and responsibilities for managing wetlands on your property and help you to get your project underway in the most time and energy efficient manner possible.

Federal Wetlands Regulations

For more information on Federal Wetland Regulatory Program visit the  US Army Corp of Engineers website and download the USACE Wetland and Waters Permitting Guide or contact:

Bill Sande

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Email Bill Sande
15945 Rivers Edge Drive Suite 240
Hayward, WI 54843
Ph: (715) 934-2170

State Wetland Regulations

For more information on the State Wetland Regulatory Program go to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website or contact:

Steve LaValley

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Email Steve LaValley
1701 N. 4th Street
Superior, WI 54880
(715) 392-0803

Local Wetland Regulations

For more information on the City of Superior Special Area Management Plan, contact the City's Environmental Regulatory Coordinator:

Darienne McNamara
Email Darienne McNamara
City of Superior Department of Public Works
1316 N. 14th Street
Superior, WI 54880
Ph: (715) 395-7506