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R.A. Smith National, Inc. Knowledge Blog

Don’t End Up All Wet. Take Time for Real Estate Due Diligence.

by Theran Stautz 17. March 2015 07:53

As a wetland delineator, the worst part of my job is giving bad news to someone who purchased property to build their dream home, only to find out that they can’t build because there are wetlands present.  It pays to do research in the beginning of your property search instead of getting stuck with a parcel that contains a significant amount of unbuildable wetland area. With just a little bit of work, wetland due diligence as part of a real estate transaction can save you time, money and bad news.

Below are a few great websites to check out for more information.

  • Visit the Wisconsin DNR’s Wetlands web page and explore the “Locating Wetlands” section.
  • Explore the WDNR Surface Water Data Viewer. 
    Pay particular attention to wetlands less than two acres, wetland indicator soils and inventoried wetlands, as these features could impact how you develop your site.
  • If you believe there may be wetlands on your property, have a wetland professional visit the site to determine if wetlands are present. Wetland determinations and delineations completed by WDNR Assured Delineators are pre-approved by the WDNR, due to the delineator’s high level of education, experience and proven quality. Read my blog for more information.
    Avoid Delays, Mitigate Risk by Hiring a Wisconsin DNR Assured Wetland Delineator
  • Check with local agencies (county/town/municipality) for specific zoning requirements such as shoreland zoning, ecologically sensitive areas and other setbacks. Learn more about WDNRs regulations.
  • Include a Real Estate Addendum with your real estate offer. This allows the buyer to verify the presence of wetlands and to negotiate the offer if wetlands are found on the property.

More Information
If you would like more information about R.A. Smith National’s ecological services, or are in need of wetland delineation services, please contact me in our Madison, Wis. office at 608-467-2685, ext. 3298 or or contact Heather Patti in our Brookfield, Wis. office at 262-317-3361 or




Wisconsin Roadway Fatalities Declined in 2014

by Laura Schroeder 3. March 2015 08:47

In early January, WisDOT’s changeable message signs displayed the total 2014 Wisconsin roadway fatalities at 491*. In 2014 Wisconsin’s roadway fatalities fell below 500 for the first time since 1943. This a pretty incredible feat considering the amount of cars on the road and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) have increased significantly over those seven decades.

The past decade shows a similar improvement. In 2014 roadway fatalities in Wisconsin decreased by 345 from 2003 – a 41% reduction compared to 2003’s 836 roadway fatalities. In comparison, Figure 1 shows the VMT has remained relatively constant from 2003 through 2014, at just around 60,000 MVMT (million vehicle miles traveled). Fatalities have dropped significantly while the amount of driving has remained almost constant. These figures seem to indicate that more drivers are slowing down, paying attention, buckling up and driving sober. In fact, Wisconsin’s seat belt compliance has increased from 70% in 2003 to 85% in 2014, and drunk driving fatalities have decreased 47% since 2003.

Although this is great progress, we can still do more to reduce the number of roadway fatalities in Wisconsin. It is important that we take the necessary steps to make our roads safer; such as educating the public, advancing the engineering of our vehicles and roadways, and providing enforcement to keep the roadways safe. R.A. Smith National’s transportation and traffic engineers work to increase roadway safety on our transportation projects, a few of which include modernizing the WIS 59 interchange along the I-39/90 corridor, implementing pedestrian and bicycle enhancements along WIS 20/83 in Waterford, incorporating cutting-edge traffic signal equipment along WIS 50 in Kenosha County, constructing five roundabouts on WIS 145 in Richfield, and implementing access management improvements along Bluemound Road in Waukesha County.

You can read more about this topic and find the most current statistics at:

*Note this number is still preliminary due to reporting delays and fatalities resulting from injuries due to crashes in late 2014.




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