Lake and State Park Threatened by Golf Course

$25,775 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 504 people in 59 months

YOU BROUGHT US TO THIS POINT.  WE WON ROUND ONE!

Let's Finish This Together!


Our small grassroots group from the Town of Wilson, Wisconsin, sued the Wisconsin DNR and won.  For 5 years Friends of the Black River Forest has been working to preserve through education and activism,  a  rare, fragile Lake Michigan coastal ecosystem from the destruction of a Kohler Company golf course development. 

This financial campaign is called THE POWER OF 5. Sharing this with our contacts and asking for $5 will bring us to our goal!

This is what we are fighting to prevent:

~the direct and indirect impacts to environmentally significant wetlands
~the clearcutting of 160 acres of forest 
~the grading of rare dune habitat and forests
~the risk of harming 11 endangered, threatened and species of significant concern 
~the destruction of a major migratory bird stopover 
~the elimination of at least 50% of wildlife  on 247 acres adjacent to a state park
~the application of thousands of pounds of pesticides and fertilizers on a sand based shallow aquifer adjacent to     Lake Michigan
~The giveaway by the State of prime Kohler Andrae State Park acreage to the developer for a road through the park to the course, a reconstructed park entry, and a 3 building maintenance complex.

We have fought political influence, incomplete environmental study of the impacts by a state agency, and  the division of our town by the developer's hostile annexation of  land from our Town of Wilson to the City of Sheboygan, circumventing our Town's environmental review. Friends of the Black River Forest thinks destroying an ecosystem  is unthinkable and unconscionable at a time when the whole world is understanding the critical need for preservation of our land, air and water. 

WE WON  ROUND 1

A Wisconsin Administrative Law Judge has rescinded the Wetland Fill Permit because the state agency did not have enough information about environmental impacts to issue the permit.

ROUND TWO--KOHLER COMPANY APPEALS THE DECISION.


Friends of the Black River Forest needs your help to intervene in Kohler's appeal.

Friends of the Black River Forest believes our rights as citizens are equal to those of a billionaire.  No one is above the law. No one should be allowed regulatory passes to contaminate our water, land and air AND take land away from the owners - the people of Wisconsin. This is why we can't stop now.

Our brat frys, garage sales, auctions, holiday sales can only take us so far.

Please help us finance our intervention into the Kohler Company's appeal of the decision to rescind their Wetland Fill Permit.

Help us finish the job of protecting a unique ecosystem and affirming the rights of all to clean air, land and water in every part of the planet.
                                       
PLEASE SHARE THIS. EVERY $5 MAKES A DIFFERENCE. TELL POLLUTERS IT STOPS HERE.


More at www.friendsblackriverforest.org
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YOU BROUGHT US TO THIS POINT. WE WON ROUND ONE!
Let's Finish This Together!

Our small grassroots group from the Town of Wilson, Wisconsin, sued the Wisconsin DNR and won. For 5 years Friends of the Black River Forest has been working to preserve through education and activism, a rare, fragile Lake Michigan coastal ecosystem from the destruction of a Kohler Company golf course development.

This is what we are fighting to prevent:

~the direct and indirect impacts to environmentally significant wetlands
~the clearcutting of 160 acres of forest
~the grading of rare dune habitat and forests
~the risk of harming 11 endangered, threatened and species of significant concern
~the destruction of a major migratory bird stopover
~the elimination of at least 50% of wildlife on 247 acres adjacent to a state park
~the application of thousands of pounds of pesticides and fertilizers on a sand based shallow aquifer adjacent to Lake Michigan
~The giveaway by the State of prime Kohler Andrae State Park acreage to the developer for a road through the park to the course, a reconstructed park entry, and a 3 building maintenance complex.

We have fought political influence, incomplete environmental study of the impacts by a state agency, and the division of our town by the developer's hostile annexation of land from our Town of Wilson to the City of Sheboygan, circumventing our Town's environmental review. Friends of the Black River Forest thinks destroying an ecosystem is unthinkable and unconscionable at a time when the whole world is understanding the critical need for preservation of our land, air and water.

WE WON ROUND 1

A Wisconsin Administrative Law Judge has rescinded the Wetland Fill Permit because the state agency did not have enough information about environmental impacts to issue the permit.

ROUND TWO--KOHLER COMPANY APPEALS THE DECISION.


Friends of the Black River Forest needs your help to intervene in Kohler's appeal.

Friends of the Black River Forest believes our rights as citizens are equal to those of a billionaire. No one is above the law. No one should be allowed regulatory passes to contaminate our water, land and air AND take land away from the owners - the people of Wisconsin. This is why we can't stop now.

Our brat frys, garage sales, auctions, holiday sales can only take us so far.

Please help us finance our intervention into the Kohler Company's appeal of the decision to rescind their Wetland Fill Permit.

Help us finish the job of protecting a unique ecosystem and affirming the rights of all to clean air, land and water in every part of the planet.

PLEASE SHARE THIS. EVERY $5 MAKES A DIFFERENCE. TELL POLLUTERS IT STOPS HERE.
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Hi Friends,
You brought us to this victory!
FBRF is hosting a Thank You Party for all of our supporters who have helped us get to this point. An Administrative Law Judge rescinded the Kohler Wetland Permit issued by the DNR because impacts were not studied thoroughly. What was presented would cause adverse and irreversible damage to our water. The Kohler Company has appealed this decision.
Join us Sunday, June 2, at the Wilson Town Hall from 3-5:30 for a salad supper, updates and planning our new campaign to address the appeal. Location: 5935 S. Business Drive, Sheboygan, WI 53081. Celebrate how far we have come together. Please RSVP.
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We are grateful to the Ozaukee Press Editor for this opinion based on the facts of the real impacts of this proposed project. Please share with our Sheboygan County friends who do not see press coverage in their county.

OZAUKEE PRESS EDITORIAL: Nature wins a round of golf
March 27, 2019
The land is just a few miles north of Ozaukee County along a pristine stretch of the Lake Michigan shore.

It is home to a system of wetlands and sand dunes that is so rare it is said there are few places like it in the world.

The habitat it creates is so valuable to endangered animal and plant species that it is protected by state and federal law.

Even so, destroying the wetlands, grading the dunes, reconfiguring the landscape with imported dirt and planting and chemically fertilizing exotic grasses to create a luxury golf course is perfectly acceptable.

Incredibly, that is what the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said in granting a permit in January 2018 to allow development of the 247-acre golf course planned by the Kohler Co. to proceed.

That bizarre decision may forever remain an embarrassing footnote on the record of the agency that is charged with protecting Wisconsin’s natural resources, but at least, if a judge’s ruling issued March 15 is upheld, it will not enable a precious piece of nature to be sacrificed for human profit and pride.

Administrative Law Judge Mark F. Kaiser chastised the DNR for accepting Kohler’s assurances that it would come up with a plan that would protect the land, water, wildlife and plants from the golf course’s impact, determined that the development threatened significant environmental damage and declared the permit invalid.

The DNR’s granting of the permit was so contrary to scientific evaluation of the threat to the environment of an extremely sensitive area of ridge and swale wetlands that it fed accusations that the decision was politically motivated.

Critics noted Herbert V. Kohler Jr., chairman of the Kohler Co., and other company executives were large donors to the campaigns of Gov. Scott Walker, who had authority over the DNR when the decision was made.

In any case, testimony in the exhaustive five-day hearing held by Judge Kaiser added powerfully to the impression that granting the permit was at minimum badly out of sync with science.

Pat Trochlell, a wetlands expert recently retired from the DNR, testified that the Kohler golf course was the most environmentally harmful of any project she reviewed in her 37-year career at the state agency.

The DNR’s own environmental impact statement was damning as well, using such terms as “very rare” and “imperiled” and concluding that the wetlands nurture “threatened and endangered species habitat.”

In his ruling, the judge noted that besides damaging the fragile complex of shoreline dunes and wetlands, the golf course plan calls for cutting down as much as 120 acres of forest that hasn’t been logged for a century and a half.

The judge’s decision was based on science, which was entirely proper. But another standard could be applied to the golf course issue by answering this question: How does it benefit society to exchange precious elements of untouched nature for a vanity project justified more by the fame and bragging rights that would come with it than by need?

A golf aficionado with a billionaire’s deep pockets, Herbert Kohler can already claim credit for the development of two nationally recognized golf courses in Sheboygan County, Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits. The latter has hosted three PGA championships and will be the site of the 2020 Ryder Cup.

What is to be gained from having a third exclusive course? A consultant hired by Kohler claims the new course would generate more than $20 million a year in economic activity.

This state and the continent around it are replete with natural areas beautiful enough to generate vast sums of money as recreational venues, but they are off limits because their environmental assets are priceless and irreplaceable. And so should the proposed site for the third Kohler golf course.

Until the March 15 ruling, the foes of the project, chiefly a grass-roots organization called Friends of the Black River Forest, had been fighting a losing battle. It’s far from over—Kohler’s push has been relentless.

But dare we hope that, with a new secretary appointed by a new governor, the Department of Natural Resources will become an ally in the defense of the precious natural resources along the Sheboygan County shore that cannot coexist with a golf course?
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March 18, 2019, for immediate release.

Contact Christa Westerberg, 608/251-0101

JUDGE REVERSES KOHLER WETLAND PERMIT

An administrative law judge on Friday reversed a permit granted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to Kohler Co. last year. The permit would have allowed the company to fill nearly four acres of high-quality wetland for a new golf course complex in Sheboygan County, on land north of and within Kohler-Andrae State Park.

In reversing the permit, the judge found the standards for issuing the permit had not been met and that DNR lacked sufficient information to grant the permit.

“We are grateful for this decision, which thoroughly addressed each adverse, irreversible impact of the proposed golf course,” said Mary Faydash, President of Friends of the Black River Forest, Inc. The group filed the petition challenging the permit, which was heard during a five-day evidentiary hearing last year.

“We are definitely delighted,” added Friends member and co-petitioner Claudia Bricks.

In the decision, the judge found that the project will require deforesting over half the site and significant regrading, resulting in changes to wetland and site hydrology. He concluded, “the Department’s determination that these adverse impacts will be significant mandate that the permit application must be denied.”

The judge also found that the DNR lacked sufficient information to conclude that the project would not harm water quality associated with chemical and fertilizer applications, and that some of Kohler’s submitted information was erroneous or incomplete.

Said the judge, “[t]he Department should be making its determinations based on completed plans, not trusting that management plans that will be prepared will adequately protect the groundwater and wetlands. Once the golf course is constructed the adverse impacts will be permanent and irreversible.”

“This decision shows that the DNR must base its decisions on evidence it has in-hand,” said Friends attorney Christa Westerberg. “In this case, the DNR should have denied the permit based on that evidence.”

The proposed golf course is located on forested property between the Black River and Lake Michigan. It hosts rare ridge and swale and interdunal wetlands, is an important stopover site for migratory birds, is home to rare plant and animal communities. The property is highly susceptible to groundwater contamination due to sand soils and a high groundwater table.

Kohler’s proposal also called for using land in Kohler-Andrae State Park for a golf course entrance road and large maintenance building. That land is characterized by dunes, wetlands, and forest, and is used by park visitors for hiking and wildlife observation, among other activities.

Said Ms. Faydash, “
“this decision is a victory for all of Wisconsin, particularly the grassroots groups who have worked tirelessly to hold the DNR and developers to Wisconsin conservation law.
DO
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Read a Previous Update
Virginia
3 months ago

This is great news!!!!!

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William
3 months ago

Thank you for all of your hard work on such an important issue! You are the best!! Without you we would loose this special place that can never be replaced.

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$25,775 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 504 people in 59 months
Created August 1, 2014
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GS
$25
Gary Shea
3 days ago
MK
$55
Mary Kohl
7 days ago

I'm not a social media person so my power-of-five donation covers me & 10 other people that I don't know

DK
$75
Diane Kitelinger
8 days ago

Gold Course = pollution in the Lake

$50
Anonymous
9 days ago
$55
Sally Lensink
10 days ago

I donated because our natural resources are coming under attack and the DNR doesn't get it. From Black River Forest (where it's proven that $$$ and connections override OUR resources),to the Menominee River (future nearby mining operation almost approved) and Lake Michigan (Federal gov't sucking up WI's jurisdiction on parts of Lake Michigan) in the middle.

AW
$20
Alice Williams
10 days ago

Lake Michigan belongs to all of us and it's up to all of us to protect it.

DK
$20
DEBORAH Klock
11 days ago
MS
$5
Megan Shaker
11 days ago
$20
Rebecca Russow
11 days ago
JG
$50
Jeremiah Graff
12 days ago
Virginia
3 months ago

This is great news!!!!!

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William
3 months ago

Thank you for all of your hard work on such an important issue! You are the best!! Without you we would loose this special place that can never be replaced.

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