Balsam Lake, Barron/Washburn Counties - Critical Habitat Designation
Every waterbody has critical habitat - those areas that are most important to the overall health of the aquatic plants and animals. Remarkably, eighty percent of the plants and animals on the states endangered and threatened species list spend all or part of their life cycle within the near shore zone. As many as ninety percent of the living things in lakes and rivers are found along the shallow margins and shores. Wisconsin law mandates special protections for these critical habitats. Critical Habitat Designation is a program that recognizes those areas and maps them so that everyone knows which areas are most vulnerable to impacts from human activity. A critical habitat designation assists waterfront owners by identifying these areas up front, so they can design their waterfront projects to protect habitat and ensure the long-term health of the lake they where they live.