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MICHAEL CAIN Michael Cain is an attorney for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources WDNR and he came to talk to us about the evolution of the public trust doctrine in Wisconsin dealing with navigable water and current development issues related to the public trust The doctrine states that a sizable body of common law has developed which holds that all navigable waters are held in trust by the state for the public and through the DNR Department of Justice and District Attorneys they have an affirmative duty to protect these public trust waters With the increase in recreational and developmental pressures the amount of aquatic resources diminishes increasing the importance of this issue and the grounds of the public trust doctrine This is important because the doctrine provides the foundation for preserving aquatic natural resources for the future Wisconsin is facing developmental problems mainly but not limited to the northern part of the state People want to buy lakefront property to put their home or cottage on to get further from the cities and closer to nature What they dont realize is that developing this lakefront property like your home in the cities is ruining the natural vegetation and destroying shoreline habitat The runoff of chemicals gets in the water affecting water quality and the removal of shoreline vegetation for recreational purposes reduces wildlife habitat Basically they are pushing out the wildlife that they are trying to get closer to by being in the north woods Cain talked about the historical aspect behind the public trust doctrine and its judicial construction The doctrine was written to reflect the publics interest in waterways and to respond to the activities that have and will impact the navigable waterways The doctrine took into consideration cases such as Willow River vs Wade in 1898 recognizing the right of the public to fish in navigable waters The doctrine was later expanded with the recognition of changes in
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