Pier PIT00005 - Pier in Critical Habitat Area

In the Spring 2019, the LBPIA was made aware of a pier being installed in a Critical Habitat Area (as designated by the WI DNR). After investigation, the LBPIA reached out to the Town of East Troy, Lake Beulah Management District, Walworth County and WI DNR for more information. This issue was discussed at the last LBPIA meeeting on May 18, 2019 and will be further updated on this page as more is discovered.

Current understanding:

According to the updates provided at the LBPIA meeting…

  • No Town of East Troy permit was issued or requested before building the current 191’ section. No permit has yet been issued by the Town of East Troy.

  • Nesting pairs of Sandhills Cranes and Geese are in this area designated as a “Critical Habitat Area - Sensitive Area” by the WI DNR.

  • The WI DNR initially allowed the pier if it followed the Pier Planner, but after viewing the site, rescinded that permission and is currently investigating.

  • Length is currently ~191 feet. Area at the end of the pier exceeds the 200 sqft maximum.

  • The pier sits in roughly 8-16” of water in a vegetated swamp area.

  • The owner has plans to extend the pier to between 573’ and 670’.

  • Current pier is likely to violate the riparian rights of neighbors. To be determined.

  • WI DNR investigation must be completed before the Town can move forward.


Critical Habitat Areas

The WI DNR has designated certain areas of Lake Beulah as “Areas of Special Natural Resources Interest (ASNRI)” - Critical Habitat Area - Sensitive Area Designation. While these are not the only areas of sensitive habitat, these are marked the most critical wetland areas of Lake Beulah.

According to the WI DNR:

Every waterbody has critical habitat - those areas that are most important to the overall health of the aquatic plants and animals. Remarkably, eighty percent of the plants and animals on the state's endangered and threatened species list spend all or part of their life cycle within the near shore zone. As many as ninety percent of the living things in lakes and rivers are found along the shallow margins and shores. Wisconsin law mandates special protections for these critical habitats. Critical Habitat Designation is a program that recognizes those areas and maps them so that everyone knows which areas are most vulnerable to impacts from human activity. A critical habitat designation assists waterfront owners by identifying these areas up front, so they can design their waterfront projects to protect habitat and ensure the long-term health of the lake they where they live.

Snapshot from the WI DNR Surface Water Data Viewer.

Snapshot from the WI DNR Surface Water Data Viewer.



To access this interactive map from the WI DNR, go here https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/surfacewater/swdv/ - click “Launch” <wait> - zoom in to the lake - under “Basic Tools” click “Show Layers” - then click the checkbox for the “Priority Navigable Waterways” layer. Give it time to populate the map with orange patches with black dots and those are the critical areas.