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Contact(s): David Hon, DNR water regulation and zoning specialist, 715-839-1600,; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084,
March 22, 2016

MADISON -- Approximately one-third of Wisconsin farms depend upon constructed drains to remove excess water and with spring arriving, some farmers may be considering projects that involve ditches and drains.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources encourages farmers to check wetland rules before proceeding with projects such as constructing new ditches or installing drain tile. These projects may affect wetlands and may require permits before proceeding.

"Agriculture is a critical industry in Wisconsin and farmers are looking to improve or expand the uses of their land," said David Hon, a water regulation and zoning specialist. "We want to encourage farmers to work with DNR staff and use our convenient online resources to learn more before implementing costly capital improvements that may affect wetlands."

In the past five years, DNR has seen a large increase in the number of proposals for projects related to ditching and drain tiling. Farmers considering these and other major projects should contact DNR ahead of time to learn if a permit is needed.

Wetlands are a valuable natural resource and provide a variety of benefits including flood protection; storm water storage; water quality protection; natural scenic beauty; habitat for fish, aquatic life and wildlife; groundwater processes; and shoreline protection. For more information, search the DNR website,, for "wetland disturbance" or search the staff directory for your local water regulation and zoning specialist.

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

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