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Waterway protectionCranberry projects

Cranberry Harvest

Cranberry bog


Cranberries are Wisconsin's largest fruit crop in terms of acreage with approximately 18,000 acres of cranberries across 19 Wisconsin counties.

In some cases, the expansion of an existing cranberry bed or the creation of new cranberry beds will affect public waters or wetlands.

If a cranberry project affects public waters or wetlands, a permit is needed. Please visit Water permits to apply for permits.

Even though in some cases a state permit may not be needed, impacts to waterways and wetlands due to a proposed expansion or new bed creation may need federal permits from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Determine permit required

This is a text link version of our cranberry operation interactive question and answer module. If you are seeing this message, you currently have JavaScript disabled or are in compatibility mode while using Internet Explorer. This text version is here to help you understand if you need a permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for your cranberry project, and if so, which one. Please go through and answer each question. This will help you determine which permit you will need.

Question 1 :

Would you like to:

  • create a new or expand an existing cranberry bed
  • modify or rehabilitate an existing cranberry bed
  • construct or modify an existing water control structure or ditch for the purposes of cranberry production or other ancillary facilities relating to cranberry production

If your answer is "Yes,” go to Question 2.

If your answer is "No,” :

You've answered No:

Your project would not fall within the statutory exemptions and regulations for cranberry operations. However, your project may require other permits under Ch. 30 or s. 281.36 if your project is in or near a navigable waterway or wetland. Please review the other activities on the department's website to determine if other permits are necessary for work in or near a navigable waterway or wetland.

If your project is for the purpose of extracting sand or other minerals and then eventually converting the property to cranberry production once extraction is complete, please see the fact sheet [PDF] for guidance as to the regulations that would apply to your project.

If your project will disturb more than 1 acre of land you may also need to file a Notice of Intent with the stormwater program, please see their website for additional information.

Also please check with your local municipality to determine if permits are required for your project.

Question 2 :

Will your proposed project impact wetlands or result in a discharge to a waterway? For example, a discharge to a waterway could include the construction of dikes or berms.

If your answer is "Yes,” go to Question 3.

If your answer is "No,” :

You've answered No:

It is unlikely that you will need a wetland permit or a 401 Water Quality Certification from the DNR. However, please check with the US Army Corps of Engineers before beginning your project and your local government to ensure additional permits or approvals are not required for your project.

Also please note that you may have to register water withdrawals from surface waters or ground water with the Water Use section of the DNR, if your water supply system has the capacity to withdraw or pump 100,000 gallons per day or 70 gallons per minute. For more information please see the Water Use sections website and the following documents developed to aid cranberry operations.

If your answer is "I don't know,” :

You've answered I don't know:

Please use our Surface Water Data Viewer online mapping tool to determine if there is wetlands or waterways near your proposed pond. Look here first to assist in wetland determination. (If you are unsure about how to use maps to determine if there are wetlands on your site visit our tutorial to learn how.)

Question 3 :

Will your project impact less than 10,000 sq. feet of wetland?

If your answer is "Yes,” go to Question 4.

If your answer is "No,” :

You've answered No:

Please submit an application for an individual wetland disturbance permit. To apply for an individual permit, please visit the individual permits page.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please also check with the US Army Corps of Engineers before beginning your project and your local government to ensure additional permits or approvals are not required for your project.

Also please note that you may have to register water withdrawals from surface waters or ground water with the Water Use section of the DNR, if your water supply system has the capacity to withdraw or pump 100,000 gallons per day or 70 gallons per minute. For more information please see the Water Use sections website and the following documents developed to aid cranberry operations.

Question 4 :

Will your project impact any of the following types of wetlands?

  • Great Lakes ridge and swale complexes
  • Interdunal wetlands
  • Coastal plain marshes
  • Boreal rich fens
  • Calcareous fens
  • Emergent marshes containing wild rice (N/A for highway projects)
  • Sphagnum bogs south of STH 16 and STH 21 west of Lake Winnebago and on USH 151 east of Lake Winnebago

If your answer is "Yes,” :

You've answered Yes:

Please submit an application for an individual wetland disturbance permit. To apply for an individual permit, please visit the individual permits page.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please also check with the US Army Corps of Engineers before beginning your project and your local government to ensure additional permits or approvals are not required for your project.

Also please note that you may have to register water withdrawals from surface waters or ground water with the Water Use section of the DNR, if your water supply system has the capacity to withdraw or pump 100,000 gallons per day or 70 gallons per minute. For more information please see the Water Use sections website and the following documents developed to aid cranberry operations.

If your answer is "No,” go to Question 5.

If your answer is "I don't know,” :

You've answered I don't know:

Proceed to the Wetland communities of Wisconsin website to help you determine this.

Question 5 :

Are you able to completely avoid the wetland with the construction?

You've answered Yes.

If your answer is “Yes”:

No permit is needed from the DNR but you should check with the local zoning office. Please also check with the US Army Corps of Engineers before beginning your project and your local government to ensure additional permits or approvals are not required for your project.

Also please note that you may have to register water withdrawals from surface waters or ground water with the Water Use section of the DNR, if your water supply system has the capacity to withdraw or pump 100,000 gallons per day or 70 gallons per minute. For more information please see the Water Use sections website and the following documents developed to aid cranberry operations.

If your answer is "No,” go to Question 6.

Question 6 :

Have you minimized the wetland impacts?

If your answer is "Yes,” :

You've answered Yes:

You may be eligible for a general permit for residential, commercial or industrial development. To apply for a general Permit, please visit the general permits page.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please also check with the US Army Corps of Engineers before beginning your project and your local government to ensure additional permits or approvals are not required for your project.

Also please note that you may have to register water withdrawals from surface waters or ground water with the Water Use section of the DNR, if your water supply system has the capacity to withdraw or pump 100,000 gallons per day or 70 gallons per minute. For more information please see the Water Use sections website and the following documents developed to aid cranberry operations.

If your answer is "No,” :

You've answered No:

Please submit an application for an individual wetland disturbance permit. To apply for an individual permit, please visit the individual permits page.*Please note: WAMS ID and password needed to apply. If you do not have a WAMS ID, you must register for one prior to proceeding.

Please also check with the US Army Corps of Engineers before beginning your project and your local government to ensure additional permits or approvals are not required for your project.

Also please note that you may have to register water withdrawals from surface waters or ground water with the Water Use section of the DNR, if your water supply system has the capacity to withdraw or pump 100,000 gallons per day or 70 gallons per minute. For more information please see the Water Use sections website and the following documents developed to aid cranberry operations.

When proposing a cranberry project that may impact wetlands, the USACE and the department will be seeking information on:

Please use the following resources to assist you with developing your cranberry project.

Exemptions and permits

  • There are no exemptions for cranberry projects.
Last revised: Thursday October 20 2016