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Winneconne Contractor Ordered to Pay $60,000 and to Restore Lakeshore for Unlawful Placement of Seawall and Riprap in Lake Butte Des Morts


WINNECONNE – Winneconne contractor Radtke Contractors, Inc., has been ordered to restore the lakeshore and to pay $60,000 in forfeitures, assessments, costs and fees for illegally placing a seawall and riprap below the ordinary high-water mark in Lake Butte Des Morts, and for unlawful grading and failure to follow best management practices at a construction site on the Lake, in Winnebago County in 2008 and 2009.


Wisconsin law prohibits the placement of any structure or material on the bed of a navigable water without a permit, and prohibits the grading or removal of topsoil from more than 10,000 square feet on the bank of a navigable water without a permit. Wisconsin law also requires coverage under water pollution control permits regulating storm water runoff before construction may begin on construction sites where an acre or more of land will be disturbed.


According to the complaint filed by the Department of Justice at the request of the Department of Natural Resources, Radtke worked as a contractor retained by the owners of property located in the SW¼, SW¼ of Section 24, Township 19 North, Range 15 East, Village of Butte des Morts, on a peninsula of land jutting into Lake Butte des Morts in Winnebago County. In 2008 and 2009, Radtke placed a seawall on the bed of the lake and graded more than 10,000 square feet on the bank of a navigable water without a permit, and placed riprap, left erosion control issues uncorrected and failed to follow best management practices contrary to conditions in permits that were issued for the project, in violation of state law. Radtke corrected the areas of noncompliance relating to erosion control and best management practices as of January 2009.


In addition to paying the $60,000 judgment, Radtke will pull back rock riprap placed by Radtke during construction on the bed of Lake Butte des Morts along the stretch where the rock riprap extends beyond 8 feet below the ordinary high water mark, and will re-vegetate the riprap that remains with native vegetation consistent with the General Permit issued for the riprap. Radtke will also remove and cut down the top of approximately 166 feet of the lakeside seawall, and will cover what remains with rocks and re-vegetate with native vegetation consistent with General Permit requirements.


"Wisconsin law requires that contractors obtain and follow permits designed to prevent pollution and to protect public rights in the state's navigable waters," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that Wisconsin's water resources are safeguarded through compliance with the law."


Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case for the State. Winnebago County Judge Scott C. Woldt signed the order imposing the forfeitures.