Tuesday’s 4-3 ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court is indeed a victory for the Rock-Koshkonong Lake District and those who want higher water on the lake.
It buoys the hopes of those desiring 7 more inches of summertime water so more residents can use their docks and boats and visitors ring cash registers at businesses.
The court ruled that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was wrong to use the state constitution’s public trust doctrine to protect private non-navigable wetlands above the ordinary high-water mark that are next to navigable waters. Koshkonong, a 10,500-acre Rock River impoundment, backed up by the Indianford Dam, is Wisconsin’s sixth-largest inland lake. Average depth is just 7 feet, and its 27 miles of shoreline include more than 12 miles of wetlands.
But does the ruling really settle anything in this long-running dispute that pits neighbor against neighbor? We’ll share our perspectives in our editorial Friday.