DNR Northern Region - SOLON SPRINGS, WI: The Department of Natural Resources has located areas that meet the criteria for Critical Habitat Designation on Beauregard Lake, Upper St. Croix Lake, St. Croix (Gordon) ... More... Public meeting on proposed Critical Habitat Designation on waters in Douglas County News Release Published: October 7, 2010 by the Northern Region Contact(s): Alex Smith (715) 635-4124 SOLON SPRINGS, WI: The Department of Natural Resources has located areas that meet the criteria for Critical Habitat Designation on Beauregard Lake, Upper St. Croix Lake, St. Croix (Gordon) Flowage, and the St. Croix River between Upper St. Croix Lake and Gordon Flowage in Douglas County. Because these designations are in waters held in trust by the state for all citizens and may be adjacent to private lands, state law provides an opportunity for public input to the Department’s decision. A public informational meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 from 9 a.m. – 11 at the Solon Springs Community Center in Solon Springs, WI. The informational meeting will be an open house format that will allow time to talk with DNR staff, ask questions, and provide written comments regarding the designations. The designation of Critical Habitat is of vital importance to water quality, hunting, fishing, and natural beauty of Wisconsin’s lakes and streams. The Department has made a determination that the Critical Habitat Areas on said water bodies contain: • Fish and wildlife habitat, including specific sites necessary for breeding, nesting, nursery, and feeding. • Physical features that ensure protection of water quality. • Reaches of bank, shore, or bed that are predominately natural in appearance (not man-made or artificial) or that screen man-made or artificial features. • Navigation thoroughfares or areas traditionally used for navigation during recreational boating, angling, hunting, or enjoyment of natural scenic beauty. • Areas of aquatic vegetation offering critical or unique fish and wildlife habitat, including seasonal or lifestage requirements, or offering water quality or erosion control benefits to the body of water. The purpose of identifying Critical Habitat Areas is to protect and/or restore their conservation values and thus promote healthy lakes and rivers. Special permit conditions may apply to landowners who wish to alter Critical Habitat Areas through activities such as dredging, installing or repairing riprap, grading, irrigation, building dams, or establishing culverts or large pier complexes. Furthermore, in Critical Habitat Areas, manual removal of native aquatic plants may require a permit, and the chemical treatment or mechanical removal of native aquatic plants is unlikely to be approved. Draft reports, maps, and more information on Critical Habitat Designations are all available at http://dnr.wi.gov/lakes/criticalhabitat/ or by contacting Alex Smith at (715) 635-4124.