Shoreline owner 'fish stick' project streamlining proposed

A quicker, less expensive permit process would allow lakefront property owners statewide to more quickly and easily create fish habitat near their shoreline under a state proposal.

Comments on the proposed statewide general permit are being accepted through Oct. 24, 2013 with the Department of Natural Resources hoping to have the permit finalized and available for property owners to use by Thanksgiving.

In recent years, fish habitat projects that add clusters of large trees to lakes, also called “fish sticks,” have become more popular among staff and non-DNR groups. However, these groups have had con- cerns about the cost of permits, the time it takes to go through the permitting process, and inconsistencies in the permit approvals among different parts of the State. In response, the DNR created a Lean Six Sigma Fish Sticks Team to improve the process for permitting fish sticks habitat projects in lakes.

The proposal would allow property owners on lakes to have a streamlined permitting process to submerge groups of trees near their shoreline, says Martye Griffin, the DNR waterway science policy coordinator who, with the Fish Sticks Team, developed the new general permit. e.

Trees in the near-shore areas of lakes play a crucial role in a lake’s ecosystem. These areas provide shelter and feeding areas for a diversity of fish species and may also provide nesting and sunning areas for birds, turtles, and other animals above the water.

After the general permit is on the books, people who apply for the permit would receive a decision within 30 days and the permit would be good for five years, Griffin says.

That contrasts with individual permits which required a 30-day public comment period for each application. Individual permits would still be required for unique projects.

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