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Protect
wetlands through land use planning, acquisition and wetland protection laws.
Restore
wetlands to improve wetland health and function and by re-establishing destroyed wetlands.
Explore
wetlands by getting your feet wet and learning about their wonders.
Compensatory mitigation

Using the Surface Water Data Viewer to select a site

The Surface Water Data Viewer (SWDV) is a mapping tool developed by the DNR. This Geographic Information System (GIS) contains many helpful layers of data that can be accessed from your computer to gain valuable knowledge about the landscape.

Potentially Restorable Wetlands

One particular layer developed for the SWDV contains Potentially Restorable Wetlands (PRW). This layer depicts areas that the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) considers to contain between 85 percent to 100 percent hydric soil, but are not mapped as existing wetlands on the Wisconsin Wetland Inventory (WWI). While these areas are not guaranteed to result in good sites for the location of your wetland mitigation project, they nonetheless represent a good starting dataset to reference in the early stages of finding candidate sites.

Selecting a site

There are several existing data layers accessible on the SWDV that can be looked at collectively in the early site selection process to obtain valuable information leading to more successful mitigation project as discussed below. Many of the best wetland mitigation project sites are located on properties that were historically wetlands but are presently drained or otherwise disturbed. The PRW layer will highlight areas that that are not currently mapped as wetlands but have soils that indicate they were or may have been wet in the past. In addition, the WWI layer could be used to highlight areas that are currently mapped as wetlands to find situations where PRW areas are adjacent to WWI mapped wetlands as potential mitigation sites will ideally contain hydrologic connections to undisturbed wetlands. Finally, there is a Reed Canary Grass Infestations layer can be used to identify the areas least infested with this problematic invasive species to reduce its impact on your site.

Directions for using SWDV

  1. Launch the web application: Surface Water Data Viewer Web Mapping Application.
  2. It’s best if you first zoom in to your specific site location of interest to view the PRW layer areas as they are very detailed and won’t appear on the overall statewide map. To zoom in on the map, first select the “Zoom In” tab at the top of the screen, which will be highlighted in orange when active. Once selected you can zoon by either left clicking on the map by your area or drawing a box around the area of interest. You may have to repeat this step a few times to zoom in far enough. Boneset
  3. Under the gray header bar at the top of the page that says, “Surface Water Data Viewer,” click the tab labeled, “Show Layers.”
  4. A list of map layers will become visible to the left of the map.
  5. Click on the plus sign box adjacent to the bold title for, “Wetlands & Soils.”
  6. Click in the white box to the left of the title, “Potentially Restorable Wetlands.” A black check mark will appear in the box indicating the PRW layer is activated. If the box is shaded grey, you are not zoomed in close enough to your site to see the PRW layer and will have to repeat step 3 above until the box changes to white enabling you to select it.
  7. The PRW areas will be identified with a red crosshatching as seen in the legend on the left. *If you do not see any red crosshatching areas and the box from #7 above contains a black check mark, then there are no identified potentially restorable wetland areas in your search location.
  8. It is recommended that the PRW layer be viewed in conjunction with the “Wisconsin Wetland Inventory” layer (shown as yellow/orange dots when turned on), “Wetland Indicators” layer (shown as pink dots when turned on), which are both located under the same folder icon labeled “Wetlands & Soils”.
  9. Finally, the “Reed Canary Grass Infestations” layer can be found in the folder icon labeled “Aquatic Invasive Species”, then a subfolder icon labeled, “Wetland & Riparian Plants”.
  10. An important side note, at any time you can determine what the symbols being shown on the map are by left clicking on the “Show Legend” tab located under the “Basic Tools” tab in the gray header at the top of the page.

*At this time, the PRW layer is not available for the counties of Vilas, Forest, Florence, La Crosse, Jackson, Eau Claire and Dunn.

Contact information
For more information regarding wetland compensatory mitigation, contact:
Pam Schense
Wetland mitigation coordinator
Sally Jarosz
Water Resources Management Specialist
Last revised: Tuesday November 01 2016