how Wisconsin protects waterways by holding them in trust for everyone to enjoy.
the permits you need for your waterfront property projects.
about the permit process that protects public waters.
Waterway and wetland information line
Can’t find the answer to your question on our web pages? Call our information line:

Waterway protection Ponds

The first thing to consider is what the intended use of the pond will be. Then use our “Can I build a pond” resource to help you determine what types of permits may be necessary for your project.



Exemptions and permits

  • Exemptions for this and other activities.
  • Water Permits - choose the "Waterway and wetland" tab and then find activity "Ponds."

Wisconsin State Law requires a person to obtain a permit if they plan to construct, dredge, or enlarge a pond or artificial waterbody, or any part of either that is:

  • connected to a waterway;
  • located within 500 ft. of a waterway; or
  • constructed within a wetland (this includes wetland restorations that result in ponds).

Please visit Water Permits to apply for pond permits.

Some waterways have special designations that might affect your permit requirements. Visit our Designated water search, and record any designations the waterways on your site may have.

If you have questions about using the designated waters search tool you may visit our Designated waters search tutorial to learn how.

Other pond activities

For more information about pond management, see Management of Aquatic Plants and Algae in Ponds: Protecting Your Piece of Paradise.


Applicable statutes and codes include Section 30.19, Wis. Stats. [PDF exit DNR] and Chapter NR 343, 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: Thursday October 31 2013