NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 4,547 days

See This Full Issue

All Previous Archived Issues


August 17, 2010

MADISON - The clock is winding down for owners of large piers to register those structures to secure their future under a free, one-time registration process.

A 2008 law set size standards for piers, and created the registration process that grandfathered-in most existing piers larger than the size standards.

Owners of piers larger than the standards have until April 1, 2011, to determine if they qualify to be grandfathered in, and to complete the registration process.

"The vast majority of pier owners won't need to register their pier but if they do, that process is free and we've tried to make it as straightforward as possible," says Martye Griffin, DNR waterway policy leader coordinating the pier registration process.

How to measure your pier
[VIDEO, Length 3:36].

A factsheet, video, and interactive decision tool enable pier owners to quickly learn if their pier meets the size standards and is exempt from permitting or the registration process. If the pier is larger than the size standards, the owners can immediately complete the free, one-time registration process. A very few piers are expected to be too large to qualify to be grandfathered in, and the owners will need to seek an individual permit and review or downsize their pier to meet the size qualifications for grandfathering it in.

"Getting your pier grandfathered in will give you peace of mind and protection from complaints about your pier in the future," he says.

DNR responds to complaints from neighboring property owners or boaters or anglers that piers are too big and are interfering with navigation or are harming fish habitat. Having the pier registered will make it easier to resolve such situations.

"Registration doesn't give you a golden ticket, but it does mean that things are more certain than they would be if someone was not registered and they found themselves the target of a complaint about their pier," he says.

A DNR study showed that the majority existing piers already meet these requirements, so most waterfront owners have piers that can be grandfathered. To be eligible to be grandfathered, the pier must have been placed before 2004 and meet specific size standards. Standards were created because piers that are too big can shade out aquatic plants that are important to fish and can interfere with boaters, swimmers, and others enjoying Wisconsin lakes and rivers.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Martye Griffin (608) 266-2997 or

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Need an expert?

The Office of Communications connects journalists with DNR experts on a wide range of topics. For the fastest response, please email and the first available Communications Specialist will respond to you.