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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 buffers

Shoreland buffer

Good shoreland practices.

Preserving and protecting a corridor of native vegetation along the shoreline is important for the protection of water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and natural scenic beauty in our lakes and rivers.

The corridor of native vegetation slows and soaks up water that picks up contaminants as it runs off from roads, driveways, roofs and across lawns.

The corridor also provides important habitat for fish and wildlife species and protect the scenic quality of the lake and river by minimizing the obtrusiveness of structures along the shoreline.

Publications from Wisconsin
Effectiveness of Shoreland Zoning Standards to Meet Statutory Objectives: A Literature Review with Policy Implications [PDF]. DNR.
Shoreland Management Program Assessment Appendixes and Index [PDF]. DNR.
Shoreland Management Program Assessment [PDF]. DNR.
Publications from elsewhere
Design Recommendations for Riparian Corridors and Vegetated Buffer Strips [PDF exit DNR]. US Army Engineer Research and Development Center. 2000.
A Review of the Scientific Literature on Riparian Buffer Width, Extent and Vegetation [PDF]. University of Georgia, Institute of Ecology, Office of Public Service and Outreach. March 1999.
Chesapeake Bay Riparian Handbook: A Guide for Establishing and Maintaining Riparian Forest Buffers [PDF exit DNR]. USDA Forest Service. June 1998.

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