The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has decided to stay a permit that would allow the destruction of wetlands for a proposed golf course in Sheboygan County. The DNR had granted the permit in January.
Attorney Christa Westerberg and Attorney Leslie Freehill obtained the stay of permit on behalf of the Friends of the Black River Forest (FBRF), an environmental group concerned about the planned course’s impact on wetlands and local habitat. The intended site, which borders Lake Michigan, includes 247 acres of Kohler Co. property and five acres of land in Kohler-Andrae State Park, but traded as part of a deal with the DNR. The project would allow the direct destruction of high-quality, rare wetlands, and cause other environmental impacts. By the agency’s own reporting, fifty percent of the total area’s trees would need to be clear cut in order to accommodate the build, dramatically reducing habitat for birds and other species.
Westerberg and Freehill also filed a Request for a Contested Case Hearing with the DNR, arguing that the agency’s decision to grant the permit does not meet state standards intended to protect wetlands. With the DNR’s decision on Monday, FBRF will have the opportunity to convince a judge to reverse DNR’s decision to grant the wetlands permit. Until a decision is made, the company must put all of its construction on hold.