Activities that expose bare soil can cause erosion, sediment buildup in lakes and rivers, and introduce exotic plant species along the shorelines. Any of these would be harmful to life in and around the water.
Erosion is the most common result from earth movng activities. Removal of natural vegetation during construction can cause up to 18 tons of sediment to erode as well as the deposit of 36 pounds of phosphorus into the adjacent surface water. Eighteen tons of sediment will cover more than 14,000 sq. feet of lake bottom with a layer of sediment 1 inch thick. This will make fish spawning very difficult and suffocate most of the aquatic insects living there. Each pound of phosphorus can support the growth of 500 pounds of algae.
Algae and sediment suspended in the water will greatly decrease its clarity and harm aquatic plants and sight feedig fish. Sediment wears on fish gills, making it difficult for them to take up dissolved oxygen from the water.
Heavy equipment use also often harms trees and other vegetation on the site. Soil is compacted leaving it much less permeable to water and plants highly stressed. Damage to trees can occur wen scarred by equipment allowing entry by insects and disease. More substantial damage occurs when the grade is changed. Trees compensate the loss of soil by growing new roots. In most tree species, the new root growth girdles the main trunk, resulting in stress and premature death.
Exotic Species take advantage of open lots. Expanses of bare soil makes it easy for them to establish themselves.
Zoning permits help assure that projects are designed to reduce erosion during and after excavation.
A permit is required before filling, grading, dredging, or lagooning the bed of a navigable body of water or any area that is within 300 feet of navigable water.
Grading activities near waterways often also require a permit from the DNR.