In 2005, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) launched a pilot program to test increased efficiencies for wetland permit reviews by wetland delineators certified as “assured.” Assured delineators must meet rigorous education, training, and experience standards, and wetland delineation reports by assured delineators do not require concurrence through an onsite verification by the WDNR.

This program has been viewed as successful because it cultivates high-level work and can lead to process and time efficiencies. In 2023, 45 wetland professionals are assured delineators through this voluntary program. 

Senate Bill 254, proposed by Senator Rob Cowles (Allouez), will codify this program in Wisconsin Statutes. Highlights of the legislation include:

  • Ensures the long-term existence of the Assured Delineator Program by transferring the program to statute.
  • Outlines application processes, fees, and qualifications for certification as an assured delineator. The proposed bill establishes increased fees for annual certification but waives the initial application fee for individuals already assured.
  • Establishes a process for reviewing the performance of assured delineators to ensure program standards and expectations are being met.

The Wisconsin Wetlands Association (WWA) supports moving the program from pilot to permanent, as proposed in Senate Bill 254. This idea was born from a recommendation by the Wetland Study Council on which WWA serves.

The legislative process requires SB 254 to have a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Natural Resources before advancing for broader consideration. Although it was not available at the time of this posting, an identical companion bill is expected to be introduced in the Assembly.

The Senate Committee on Natural Resources is expected to hold a public hearing on May 10, and the committee webpage will post specific information about the time and location of the hearing.

For more information or to share your comments or questions, please contact Senator Cowles’ staff and Natural Resources Committee Clerk, Evan Miller, at or (608) 266-0484.

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