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June 3, 2014

MADISON - Landowners with stream-front property may be eligible for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Stream Bank Protection program. The program will provide for public fishing access to Wisconsin's highest quality streams and foster habitat projects to improve fish habitat and water quality.

"The Wisconsin Council of Trout Unlimited is pleased to see the department's stream bank protection program come online," said Wisconsin Trout Unlimited Council Chair Henry Koltz. "We firmly believe that this program will serve to increase the already significant positive impact that recreational trout angling has on Wisconsin's economy."

Through the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program Stream Bank Protection program, the department purchases stream-bank easements from willing landowners. Each easement will convey the right of public access and the right to manage the stream bank within a 66-foot corridor along the stream. Easements have been used by the department for decades in order to secure angler access and have been very popular with both landowners and anglers.

The program, funded by the Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program, has been the primary conservation funding mechanism in the state since 1990. The department will work closely with a wide range of conservation groups throughout Wisconsin to assist in its efforts.

"A local team approach involving partnerships with Trout Unlimited, conservation clubs, land trusts, local landowner advocates and county land conservation staff will be key to the success of the program as we work to reach our program goals," said Paul Cunningham, DNR fisheries ecologist.

Land values for each stream parcel are calculated by real estate appraisers and the easement rights are perpetual. Hunting and trapping rights are not included within stream bank easements and will remain under landowner control. For application materials and more information about the stream bank protection program, search the DNR website for keyword "streambank."

Interested landowners are encouraged to contact their local fisheries biologist for more information. For a list of fisheries biologists across the state [PDF] able to assist stream-front landowners with stream bank easements .

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Cunningham, DNR fisheries ecologist, 608-267-7502 or Doug Haag, DNR real estate specialist, 608-266-2136

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 03, 2014

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