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Discover
how Wisconsin protects waterways by holding them in trust for everyone to enjoy.
Find
the permits you need for your waterfront property projects.
Learn
about the permit process that protects public waters.

Waterway protection Pilings

Pilings

Pilings

A piling is a column of material (typically wood, concrete or metal) that is driven into lake or streambed for a variety of purposes. If the purpose of placing the pilings is part of a design to support a larger structure, the pilings will be authorized under the permits needed for the main structure.

Determine permit required

This is a text link version of our pilings 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 pilings 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 :

Is the project located in a water body that is designated as an Area of Special Natural Resource Interest (ASNRI)?

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

If your answer is "No,” go to Question 3.

If your answer is "I don't know,” :

You've answered I don't know:

Please use the designated waters tutorial to determine if your project is located in a water body that is designated as an Area of Special Natural Resource Interest (ASNRI)

Question 2 :

Most activities done in specially designated waters require authorization by the department. Will your piling project be located in a wetland or placed in a way that affects water flow into or out of a wetland? Will the installation of the piling result in any fill (permanent or temporary) in a floodway or a wetland?

If your answer is "Yes,” :

You've answered Yes:

Your proposed piling is not eligible for general permit from the department. 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.

If your answer is "No,” :

You've answered No:

Based on your answer, you may be eligible for a general permit to place a piling.

To apply for an 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.

If your answer is "I don't know,” :

You've answered I don't know:

Wetlands are not always obvious. Wisconsin has more than a dozen different types and some may be dry for most or all of the year. But all wetlands are protected by law and permits are required before you build on wetlands or otherwise affect them. Please visit the locating wetlands page to learn more.

Question 3 :

If your project is not located in an ASNRI. You may qualify for an exemption. Will your Project be located within a Public Rights Feature?

If your answer is "No,” :

You've answered No:

Your project meets the locational standard to be exempt from need a permit.

If you are unsure if you project is exempt or not, feel free to submit an Exemption determination request form [PDF].

If your answer is "I don't know,” :

You've answered I don't know:

Please use the designated waters tutorial to determine if your project is located in a water body that is designated as an Area of Special Natural Resource Interest (ASNRI)

Exemptions

If the purpose of your pilings is to protect an existing structure from ice damage, provide a pivot turning point for turning watercraft or provide boat mooring on the Great Lakes or Mississippi River, installing pilings in a waterway may not need any department permits at all if your project meets certain location and construction standards.

Please review the Pilings Exemption Checklist at exemptions to determine if your project meets the standards to be exempt from permitting requirements.


Laws

Applicable statutes and codes include Section 30.12, Wis. Stats. [PDF exit DNR] and Chapter NR 329, Wis. Adm. Code [PDF exit DNR].

Local permits and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulations may also apply. We advise you to contact your local zoning office and your regional U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday May 11 2016