Wisconsin State Fish and Wildlife License Recommendations (12-WI-a)
In addition to consulting with other federal, state, and tribal resource management agencies involved in the FERC licensing process, the Wisconsin DNR also reviews proposed hydropower projects at US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) non-powered dams. The content on this page is limited in scope and was designed to consider hydropower development at USACE non-powered dams. Because USACE hydropower projects are not eligible for a FERC exemption, this page does not discuss FPA section 30(c), which authorizes state agencies to issue mandatory terms and conditions for hydropower projects which are exempt from FERC licensing requirements.
The Federal Power Act (FPA) requires FERC to consult with state agencies responsible for the oversight and protection of fish, wildlife, and botanical resources. 18 CFR 5.1(d); 18 CFR 4.38. The Wisconsin DNR is the state agency charged with protecting, propagating, increasing, preserving and conserving of the state’s wildlife resources. Wis. Stat. §23; Wis. Stat. §29. If a project is subject to FERC licensing, section 10(j) of the FPA authorizes the Wisconsin DNR to issues recommendations to FERC to protect, mitigate damage to and enhance fish and wildlife resources. 16 U.S.C. § 803(j). FERC must consider the license recommendation(s) provided by the Wisconsin DNR and may require that the recommendation(s) become mandatory condition(s) of the FERC license. 16 U.S.C. § 803(j).
State Fish and Wildlife License Recommendations Process
12-WI-a.1 – Initiate Section 10(j) Analysis
For hydropower projects subject to FERC licensing, section 10(j) of the FPA authorizes Wisconsin DNR to issue recommendations to FERC in order to protect, mitigate damage to, and enhance those fish and wildlife species and their necessary habitat. 16 U.S.C. § 803(j).
Wisconsin DNR initiates the FPA section 10(j) analysis by reviewing the administrative record and identifying the potential impacts of the hydropower project on fish and wildlife species and their habitat.
Several policies, statutes and regulations may guide the FPA section 10(j) recommendations provided by Wisconsin DNR. These include:
- The Wisconsin State Wildlife Action Plan;
- Wis. Stat. §23;
- Wis. Stat. §29;
- Wis. Admin. Code §NR 1;
- Wis. Admin. Code §NR 19; and
- Wis. Admin. Code §NR 27.
12-WI-a.2 to 12-WI-a.3 – Are Additional Documents or Studies Needed?
If the record is incomplete, Wisconsin DNR may request that the developer provide additional documents. Wisconsin DNR may also conduct studies to address information gaps concerning baseline values or potential impacts of the proposed project.
12-WI-a.4 to 12-WI-a.5 – Section 10(j) Recommendations
Based upon Wisconsin DNR’s review of the hydropower project, Wisconsin DNR works with the developer to formulate FPA section 10(j) recommendations for the FERC license. 16 U.S.C. § 803(j). In developing its FPA section 10(j) recommendations, Wisconsin DNR considers and strives to maintain consistency with Wisconsin DNR policies and the requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act, and the management plan for the affected area. Wisconsin DNR’s recommendations may include measures addressing instream flow regimes, fish passage facilities, and/or vegetation and terrestrial wildlife management plans. Wis. Stat. §23; Wis. Stat. §29.
Wisconsin DNR submits its FPA section 10(j) recommendations to FERC. FERC must consider and accept any recommendations from Wisconsin DNR for the protection, mitigation, and enhancement of fish and wildlife affected by the project unless FERC determines that:
- A recommendation is inconsistent with the purposes and requirements of the FPA or other applicable provisions of law; and
- The alternative conditions selected by FERC comply with the requirement to adequately protect, mitigate damages to, and enhance fish and wildlife. 16 U.S.C. § 803(j).
Once FERC issues a license, Wisconsin DNR continues to monitor the project to ensure the developer’s compliance with any conditions relevant to the protection, mitigation, and enhancement of fish and wildlife. Wis. Stat. §23; Wis. Stat. §29.
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- Federal Power Act
- Endangered Species Act
- 18 CFR 5: Integrated License Application Process
- Title 18 CFR 4.38 Consultation Requirements
- Wisconsin – Wis. Stat. §§ 23 et seq., Conservation
- Wisconsin – Wis. Stat. §§ 29 et seq., Wild Animals and Plants
- Wisconsin – Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 1 et seq., Natural Resources Board Policies
- Wisconsin – Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 19 et seq., Miscellaneous Fur, Fish, Game and Outdoor Recreation
- Wisconsin – Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 27 et seq., Endangered and Threatened Species