A new law in Wisconsin is intended to encourage volunteers to place more permitted fish habitat projects in state waters. Its sponsors say it will do so by protecting those who do from the civil liability associated with damage or injury caused by placement of certain types of structures in navigable waters and wetlands.
"During this legislative session, my office was contacted by a number of property owners who were hesitant to pursue a DNR (Department of Natural Resources) permit for placing a fish crib or other coarse woody habitat due to liability," said state Rep. Rob Swearingen.
"After working closely with officials at the DNR, I am confident that Senate Bill 315 will protect Wisconsin property owners and promote fish and wildlife habitat."
Carrying the lengthy title of "An Exemption From Civil Liability Related to the Placement of Certain Structures in Navigable Waters and Wetlands," the law provides immunity if the structures were placed for the creation, protection, or improvement of fish and wildlife habitat. Additionally, it affords protection for non-commercial net pens used to hold and rear fish for stocking into the body of water in which they are located.
DNR must have approved placement of the habitat or determined that
a permit or approval was not required. Also, the law specifies that those placing habitat are not required to inspect or maintain the structure or to give warning of the existence of the structure.