Dredging bill signed in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has signed into law Act 93 of 2021 that will allow beneficial re-use of dredged sediments for beach nourishment projects.

This legislation, advocated by the City of Two Rivers and co-authored by State Senator Andre Jacque and State Representative Shae Sortwell, clears regulatory barriers to the beneficial re-use of clean sediments from the lakebeds of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior for future beachfill projects.

The city first raised concerns about the state of the law regarding re-use of clean lakebed materials in 2016, when they used state and local funds to dredge sand from between the piers in the outer harbor.

Unlike the Army Corps, which does not need to get a DNR permit to dispose of dredged materials, the city had to obtain a DNR permit – and was denied the ability to pump the clean sand from the channel bottom to the nearby beach.

Instead, the sand had to be loaded onto dump trucks and hauled to an “upland disposal site” – treated like solid waste, which doubled the cost per cubic yard for the dredging.

The new law will help assure beneficial re-use of the clean materials dredged as part of harbor maintenance activities – whether the dredging work is being contracted by federal, state, or local government.

That way, the clean sand can end up back on the beaches – like the “new beach” that resulted from Army Corps dredging activity in the Summer of 2020.

Photo: USACE