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Learn
about the programs that provide a healthy Wisconsin shoreland, a system of native plants and trees thriving in and around the shallow water.
Find
resources provided by local communities that offer zoning ordinances to guide development near navigable lakes and rivers.

Did You Know?
Lakes and rivers belong to the state's citizens. See: The Public Trust Doctrine.
The number of homes on lakes of all sizes increased 216 percent from the 1960s to 1995.
See: Development Trends in Northern Wisconsin.

As northern lakes are developed...
Songbirds decrease and grackles, cowbirds and other common species increase.
Green frog populations decrease.
Musky, trout and bluegill populations decrease.
See: Preserving Fish and Wildlife Habitat.

Contact information
Visit our Wisconsin Shoreland Zoning Contacts page to find out who to contact regarding your property.

Safeguarding our shorelands Research on shoreland economics

A growing body of research shows that waterfront property owners, local governments, economies and taxpayers benefit economically as a result of the amenities shoreland zoning preserves: clean water, wildlife, scenic beauty and peace and quiet. Surveys of Wisconsin lakefront property owners and visitors consistently rate these as the amenities that bring them to the water. Clean water, wildlife, scenic beauty and the peace and quiet associated with lakes and rivers has shown to improve property value, support thousands of jobs and support a multi-billion dollar tourism industry in the state of Wisconsin.

The following publications from Wisconsin and elsewhere, describe the vast amount of research that has been conducted to describe how protecting our waters is important for the economy of our state and others.

Publications from Wisconsin
A Hedonic Analysis of Environmental Zoning: Lake Classification in Vilas County, Wisconsin [PDF]. University of Wisconsin - Madison 2005.
An Analysis of Minimum Frontage Zoning to Preserve Lakefront Amenities [PDF]. University of Wisconsin - Madison. February 2001.
How Does the Market Value Water Resources? [PDF]. UWEX. 1999.
Lake Restrictions Make Lakeshore Property More Valuable [Exit DNR]. University of Wisconsin - Madison. February 2004.
The Economic Impact of Expenditures By Travelers On Wisconsin [PDF]. Wisconsin Department of Tourism - Madison. 2007.
The Economic Value of Water: An Introduction [PDF]. UWEX. 1999.
Recreational Homes and Regional Development: A Case Study from the Upper Great Lakes States. Marcouiller, et.al. 1996 [PDF]. UWEX. 1994.
Water as a Public Good: Property Rights [PDF]. UWEX. 1999.
What is the Value of a Clean and Healthy Lake to a Local Community [PDF]?
University of Wisconsin - Whitewater Fiscal and Economic Research Center. 2005.
Publications from elsewhere
A Comparison of Alternative Strategies for Cost-Effective Water Quality Management in Lakes [PDF]. Environmental Management 2006.
An Iterative Choice Approach to Valuing Clean Lakes, Rivers and Streams. Harvard Law School, The Center for Law, Economics and Business [Exit DNR, PDF]. August 2000.
Chesapeake Bay Riparian Handbook: A Guide for Establishing and Maintaining Riparian Forest Buffers, Chapter 12 - The Economics of Riparian Forest Buffers [Exit DNR, PDF]. USDA Forest Service. June 1998.
Lakeshore Property Values and Water Quality: Evidence from property sales in the Mississippi Headwaters Region [Exit DNR, PDF]. Mississippi Headwaters Board and Bemidji State University. June 2003.
Presence of water in residential environments - Value for Money? OTB Research Institute for Housing [PDF]. Urban and Mobility Studies. 2006.
The Economics of Lakes: Dollars and $ense [Exit DNR]. Maine DEP Lake Assessment Program.
The Effects of Land-Use Regulations on Property Values [PDF]. Environmental Law. 2006.

This list of resources should not be construed as being complete. It is only part of a collection of resources and research that DNR employees use as a reference in their day-to-day work. This list is in no way an endorsement of these organizations, but rather a resource for the public who may be interested in shoreland related issues.

Contact information
For more information about this page, please contact:
Shoreland policy coordinator
Bureau of Watershed Management
Last revised: Monday May 22 2017