Kohler Golf Course Proposal
The Kohler Company has proposed construction of a golf course adjacent to Kohler-Andrae State Park in Sheboygan County. The proposed 18-hole golf course would be constructed on 247 acres owned by the Kohler Company. The project site is along the Lake Michigan shoreline in an undeveloped area known as the Black River Forest. The DNR used the environmental impact statement (EIS) process for this proposed project. The proposal also requires a wetland permit from the DNR. A master plan amendment process is also underway to consider access and a maintenance facility on state land.
Wetland permit application
The Kohler Company submitted a wetland permit application to the department on March 8, 2017. The DNR determined the wetland permit application to be complete on Nov. 13, 2017 and issued a wetland permit with conditions for the proposed activity on Jan. 17, 2018.
On March 15, 2019, an administrative law judge's decision overturned the department’s wetland permit. The Sheboygan County Circuit Court upheld the administrative law judge’s decision, and Kohler Company exercised its right to appeal that decision. The matter is awaiting decision from the court of appeals.
Storm water permit application
The Kohler Company submitted a storm water construction site permit application to the department on Jan. 26, 2018, and the department conferred coverage under the construction site general permit in December 2018. Kohler Company has submitted a request for renewal of permit coverage. The department has requested additional information from Kohler and will continue processing the application once the requested information is received. Coverage under the 2018 general permit has been administratively extended until such time as the DNR makes a determination on the request for renewal.
Storm water permitting documents
Master plan amendment & land exchange
In 2015, the DNR received a request from the Kohler Company that identified approximately 5 acres of Kohler-Andrae State Park lands to use in support of their proposed public golf course to be located to the north of the park. Specifically, Kohler proposed to construct and maintain the following on park lands: 1) a roadway and roundabout to access its lands; 2) utility access; and 3) a maintenance facility. In June 2017, the Natural Resources Board approved the department’s recommendation to initiate a master plan amendment process to consider these proposed changes.
In February 2018, a real estate transaction was proposed that would exchange 4.59 acres of park lands and an access easement for 9.5 acres of Kohler-owned land adjacent to the park. The land exchange is contingent upon Kohler’s receiving all necessary permits for its project. The DNR only plans for land it manages and controls and would not amend the park’s plan to accommodate a maintenance facility on land conveyed to Kohler. The assignment of management and use classifications to lands that may be added to the park would occur through a master planning process.
Incidental take permit
The presence of the state threatened sand reedgrass has been confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. The DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some plants.
An EIS serves to inform decision-makers and the public about the anticipated effects of a proposed project and alternatives. An EIS does not include any approvals. Permit applications must follow separate prescribed legal processes.
For the Kohler proposed project the DNR prepared both a draft EIS and an updated draft EIS. Public hearings and comment periods were held for both. All comments received during the comment periods on both the updated draft EIS and draft EIS were considered in the preparation of the DNR's final EIS.
The DNR's final EIS has been prepared for the project. The final EIS includes the department's public comment summary and responses. The department has also issued a determination of compliance with the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act for the proposed project.
EIS process steps
The EIS process is outlined in Chapter NR 150, Wis. Adm. Code.
This EIS has followed these general steps.
- Scoping - defining the topics and information sources to be considered and the analytical methods to be employed.
- Information gathering and analysis.
- Draft EIS document preparation.
- Draft EIS public review - 30-day public comment period and hearing.
- Comment response - department consideration of all comments received on the draft EIS.
- Updated draft EIS document preparation.
- Updated draft EIS public review - 30-day public comment period and hearing.
- Comment response - the department will consider all comments received on the updated draft EIS and may revise the analysis if warranted.
- Public notified when final EIS is complete and department has made a determination of compliance with the requirements of Chapter NR 150, Wis. Adm. Code, and section 1.11, Wis. Stats.
- Final permit decisions can be made after the final EIS and determination.
Updated draft EIS
The DNR prepared an updated draft EIS for this proposed project. The document updated the information provided in the draft EIS. All comments received during the comment period on the draft EIS were considered in the preparation of the DNR's updated draft EIS.
The public was invited to review and comment on the updated draft EIS between Nov. 14 and Dec. 15, 2017, and the DNR accepted comments until Dec. 22, 2017. The department also held a hearing on Nov. 30, 2017. Thanks to all who reviewed the updated draft EIS, all who attended the hearing and all who commented on the updated draft EIS.
The public comments received on the updated draft EIS are available at the links below:
- Emailed comments 1
- Emailed comments 2
- Mailed comments
- Hearing written comments
- Hearing audio comments:
The DNR previously prepared a draft EIS for this proposed project. The public was invited to review and comment on the draft EIS between June 29 and August 26, 2016. The department also held a hearing on July 20, 2016. Thanks to all who reviewed the draft EIS, all who attended the hearing and all who commented on the draft EIS.
The public comments received on the draft EIS are available at the links below:
- Emailed comments pp. 1 - 103
- Emailed comments pp. 104 - 200
- Emailed comments pp. 201 - 307
- Emailed comments pp. 308 - 716
- Emailed comments pp. 717 - 812
- Mailed comments
- Hearing appearance slip comments
- Hearing speakers' comments
- Hearing audio comments [AUDIO]
Thanks to all who sent in comments to help the DNR determine the scope of the DNR's EIS. The public scoping comments we received are available at the links below.
Environmental impact report
The Kohler Company submitted an environmental impact report (EIR) on April 15, 2015. The EIR is Kohler's description of their proposed project and their analysis of the potential environmental effects of the proposal. The DNR responded to Kohler’s April 15, 2015, EIR in a letter dated May 22, 2015. Kohler provided additional information to the DNR on August 3, 2015. The public copies of the EIR and additional information have been redacted to remove nonpublic biological information.
Additional information from Kohler:
- Response letter 7/29/15
- Storm water technical memorandum
- Irrigation well impact analysis report and well construction reports
- Traffic impact report
- Bird survey 2014
- Bird survey 2012
- Invertebrate survey 2014
- Mammal survey 2015
- Plant survey 2014
- Plant survey 2015
- Plant survey 1 2017
- Plant survey 2 2017
- Economic impact study executive summary
- Well pump test memo 11/17/2015
Previously submitted wetland delineation reports from Kohler: