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about the programs that provide a healthy Wisconsin shoreland, a system of native plants and trees thriving in and around the shallow water.
resources provided by local communities that offer zoning ordinances to guide development near navigable lakes and rivers.

Did You Know?
Lakes and rivers belong to the state's citizens. See: The Public Trust Doctrine.
The number of homes on lakes of all sizes increased 216 percent from the 1960s to 1995.
See: Development Trends in Northern Wisconsin.

As northern lakes are developed...
Songbirds decrease and grackles, cowbirds and other common species increase.
Green frog populations decrease.
Musky, trout and bluegill populations decrease.
See: Preserving Fish and Wildlife Habitat.

Contact information
Visit our Wisconsin Shoreland Zoning Contacts page to find out who to contact regarding your property.

Safeguarding our shorelands What we are doing

In 1997, the department underwent an overall assessment of the effectiveness of the shoreland program in meeting the legislative goals of protection water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and natural scenic beauty.

Rulemaking process

As a result of these assessments, the department initiated the rulemaking process to address the concerns of counties, property owners and the issues described in the 1997 assessments.

After a 10-year rulemaking process the shoreland zoning standards in NR 115 were approved by the legislature. In 2011, the legislature requested that the department complete an Economic Impact Analysis of the revised standards in NR 115. The 1997 assessments and economic impact analysis may be found below.

Publications from Wisconsin
Effectiveness of Shoreland Zoning Standards to Meet Statutory Objectives: A Literature Review with Policy Implications [PDF]. DNR
Shoreland Management Program Assessment Appendixes and Index [PDF]. DNR
Shoreland Management Program Assessment [PDF]. DNR
Statewide Minimum Shoreland Zoning - An Economic Impact Analysis [PDF]. DNR
Contact information
For more information about this page, please contact:
Shoreland policy coordinator
Bureau of Watershed Management
Last revised: Wednesday July 17 2013