Skip to main content

Information for nonmetallic mining Regulatory Authorities

Regulatory Authorities (RAs) are county or local units of government that have passed ordinances governing the reclamation of nonmetallic mining sites, as specified under ch. NR 135, Wis. Adm. Code. They are responsible for permitting and overseeing the reclamation of nonmetallic mining sites within their jurisdiction, including reviewing mine operators' reclamation plans and collecting fees. The RAs in turn transfer fees and provide reports to the DNR's Nonmetallic Mining Program.

Program funding

The RAs administering NR 135 reclamation programs may set and collect annual reclamation fees on unreclaimed acres of active mining operations. These fees support county or municipal program administration as well as statewide DNR oversight and technical support.

By law, the RA administering a nonmetallic mining reclamation program sets and collects fees from mine operators that represent, as closely as possible, their administrative costs. These costs include permitting, plan review and administrative and inspection costs. The RA also forwards a portion of the fees to the DNR to cover statewide administrative costs.

In addition to annual fees, a mine operator must provide a surety bond or other form of financial assurance to the RA to guarantee that the RA has the funds necessary to perform site reclamation in the event of a default. The amount of this financial assurance is based on the cost to implement the reclamation plan.

Annual reports and transferring fees to the DNR

Mine operators must provide to their local RAs annual reports of unreclaimed acres, the basis for assessing fees. On an annual basis, the RA summarizes operator reports and submits this and other information to the DNR.

All fees collected by an RA on behalf of the DNR, with the exception of fees for newly opened mines or delinquent fees collected late by the RA, must be transferred to the DNR by March 31 each year. This deadline also applies to the submission of the RA's annual report to the DNR.

Online reporting for RAs

Requirements for both fee transfer and annual report submittal from RAs to the DNR may be met through the use of the online reporting tool - the Annual Reclamation Fee Transmittal and Report (Form 2700-009). Used together these address all requirements in NR 135.18 (1), NR 135.39(2)(c) and NR 135.37.

The online reporting tool will be opened each January. Each RA annual report contact will receive an introductory email after the system is available, which will contain an ID and password specific to that RA, a link to the reporting tool and directions for its use. Once the contact person has logged on to the reporting tool, he or she will be guided through two pages of mandatory questions and one page of optional questions. After completing those questions, the contact will be prompted to print and sign the last page and mail those items along with appropriate fees to the DNR.

On April 1 each year the reporting system will be closed. It is important that you submit your annual report and fees before the March 31 deadline as required by NR 135.39.

Transferring Fees to the DNR

The DNR portion of fees for newly opened mines or mining acreage must be submitted with the application for a reclamation permit under s. NR 135.18(1). Because fees collected on behalf of the DNR must be submitted within 90 days of collection, RAs must submit these separately from the fees addressed above. For questions, contact Roberta Walls.

Reclamation plans

RAs are responsible for reviewing and approving reclamation plans for mine sites in their jurisdiction, and for ensuring that mine operators follow their reclamation plans.

The purpose of the reclamation plan is to achieve acceptable final site reclamation to an approved post-mining land use in compliance with the uniform reclamation standards. The reclamation standards address environmental protection measures including topsoil salvage and storage, surface and groundwater protection and contemporaneous reclamation to minimize the acreage exposed to wind and water erosion.

Scheduled audits

The law requires DNR to provide oversight and conduct performance audits of jurisdictions administering nonmetallic mining reclamation programs under NR 135. The purpose is to ensure quality control in program administration and that all reclamation is in compliance with the reclamation standards in NR 135.

Reclamation ordinances

All RAs that administer nonmetallic mining reclamation programs must have reclamation ordinances that implement NR 135, to ensure that all nonmetallic mining sites are reclaimed in compliance with the uniform statewide reclamation standards established in the rule.

Reclamation standards and detailed requirements for the content of reclamation ordinances are both contained in NR 135. Before the reclamation standards can apply in a given jurisdiction, the ordinance must be enacted to provide the legal framework for the reclamation programs.

The DNR has prepared model ordinances to assist RAs with amending their reclamation ordinances. If you would like the model ordinances in electronic (Microsoft Word) format, please contact Roberta Walls. Regulatory authorities may enact their own version of a reclamation ordinance (that differs from either model) as long as it complies with the overall requirements of NR 135.