(1) Except as provided in subs. (2) and (3), each person, firm, or corporation maintaining a dam on any navigable
stream shall pass at all times at least 25 percent of the natural low flow of water
of such stream.
(2) Except as provided in sub. (3), if all of the following apply to a dam on a navigable stream, the person, firm,
or corporation maintaining the dam shall pass an amount of water not less than the
lesser of the low flow of the stream over the preceding 10-year period, as determined
using the 7-day, 10-year low-streamflow method, or the amount of water passed by groundwater
seepage and leakage through the dam structure:
(a) The dam is in a location where a dam was originally constructed prior to 1845
and regulates water discharge to a stream from a lake with a depth of over 125 feet.
(b) The precise level of the natural low flow of water at the location of the dam
prior to its construction is not known.
(c) Historically there have been extended periods during which water passed through
the dam only as groundwater seepage and as the result of leakage through the dam structure.
(2m) The department may not order a person, firm, or corporation maintaining a dam
described under sub. (2)(a) to (c) to pass an amount of water greater than the minimum discharge described
under sub. (2).
(3) The requirements under subs. (1) and (2) do not apply to any of the following:
(a) A plant or dam where the water is discharged directly into a lake, mill pond,
storage pond, or cranberry marsh.
(am) A dam, in existence on June 25, 2017, in a commercial fish farm, in existence
and registered with the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection on
June 25, 2017, and located in Langlade County, where the water is returned to the
(b) Cases in which, in the opinion of the department, the applicable minimum discharge
described in sub. (1) or (2) is not necessary for the protection of fish life.
(4) Any person, firm, or corporation violating this section shall be fined not less
than $50 nor more than $1,000.
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