Wells, 1 of 2 - Long Lake in Waushara County has lost much of its water in the last decade, largely due to large-scale irrigation in the region. Photo: Lee Bergquist(Photo: Lee Bergquist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Employees of the Department of Natural Resources expressed concerns in emails in 2015 and 2016 about potential harm to lakes and streams from the construction of new wells in areas where irrigation was already widespread, court records filed on Friday show.

The emails were included in the latest documents of a 2016 lawsuit by an environmental group and lake association that challenged a major shift in state policy that weakened the regulation of high-capacity wells.

The October 2016 suit contends the DNR violated the Wisconsin Constitution and ignored other state laws and court cases after the agency announced it would no longer examine applications of large-scale wells by taking into account the impact of other nearby wells.