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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 Publications on shoreland management

Laws and regulations

Publication number Publication information
Chapter NR 115 [PDF exit DNR] Wisconsin's Shoreland Management Program. Wisconsin Administrative Code.
Chapter NR 116 [PDF exit DNR] Wisconsin´s Floodplain Management Program. Wisconsin Administrative Code.
Chapter NR 117 [PDF exit DNR] Wisconsin´s City and Village Shoreland-Wetland Protection Program. Wisconsin Administrative Code.
Chapter NR 118 [PDF exit DNR] Standards and Criteria for the Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. Wisconsin Administrative Code.

Shoreland Stewardship Series

Publication number Publication information
ER-698 [PDF] Native plant nurseries in Wisconsin. DNR/UWEX.
ER-699 [PDF] Restoration consultants in Wisconsin. DNR/UWEX.
FH-429-2003 [PDF] A Fresh Look at Shoreland Restoration. DNR/UWEX.
WT-748-2003 [PDF] Protecting and Restoring Shorelands. DNR/UWEX.
WT-764-2003 [PDF] Protecting Our Living Shores. DNR/UWEX.

Shoreland management practices

Publication number Publication information
FH-428-2004 [PDF] The Water's Edge: Helping fish and wildlife on your waterfront property. DNR.
WT-776-2003 [PDF] Rain Gardens: A how-to manual for homeowners. DNR.
WT-723-2001 [PDF] Managing Wisconsin's Forested Shorelands - A Landowner's Guide. DNR.
FH-231-2000 [PDF] Sensible Shoreland Lighting. DNR.
No Pub Number [PDF] Owning Waterfront Property: A Checklist. Wisconsin Environmental Initiative. January 2000.
FR-093-1995 [PDF] Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality. DNR.

Resource issues

Publication number Publication information
No Pub Number Life on the Edge. Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine. October 2003.
No Pub Number Less Work, More Beauty, Better Protection. Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine. April 2000.
No Pub Number [PDF] Lake Classification Fact Sheet Series. Wisconsin Lakes Partnership. February 1999.
No Pub Number Coming to Grips with Growth. Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine. October 1998.
WT-505-1997 [PDF] Effectiveness of Shoreland Zoning Standards to Meet Statutory Objectives: A Literature Review with Policy Implications.
WT-508-1997 [PDF] Shoreland Management Program Assessment.
WT-507-1997 [PDF] Shoreland Management Program Assessment Appendixes and Index.

Handbooks and other publications

Publication number Publication information
No Pub Number [PDF] Plan Commission Handbook. Center for Land Use Education. May 2002.
exit DNR [PDF] Zoning Board Handbook for Zoning Boards of Adjustment/Appeals. Center for Land Use Education.
No Pub Number Zoning Case Law Summary in Wisconsin. DNR.


Publication number Publication information
DNR Series Floodplain and Shoreland Management Notes.
Contact information
For more information about this page, please contact:
Shoreland policy coordinator
Bureau of Watershed Management
Last revised: Monday May 22 2017