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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 Research on fish and wildlife habitat


Wildlife habitat along the shoreland.

The water's edge is a busy place. Northern pike, bluegills, bass and other fish spawn in the shallow water along the shore. Loons, ducks, geese and other water birds nest along the banks. Wildlife such as frogs, otters and mink live there, too. Shoreline areas--on land and into the shallow water--provide essential habitat for fish and wildlife that live in or near Wisconsin's lakes, rivers and streams.

Overdeveloped shorelands can't support the fish, wildlife and clean water that are so appealing to the people attracted to the water's edge.

From "The Water's Edge - Helping fish and wildlife on your waterfront property" [PDF] Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 2004.

There has been a significant amount of research on the importance of shoreland areas for fish and wildlife. The following is a list of resources that describe some of this research.

Publications from Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Loon Population Project: Insuring Loons Will be Here for the Grand Kids [PDF]. Submitted by request to the Vilas County News Review. 2005.
Impact of Lakeshore Development on Green Frog Abundance [PDF]. Biological Conservation. 2003.
Influence of Lakeshore Development on Breeding Bird Communities in a Mixed Northern Forest [PDF]. Biological Conservation. 2002.
The Effects of Motorized Watercraft on Aquatic Ecosystems [PDF]. DNR.
A Second Life for Trees in Lakes: As Useful in Water as They Were on Land [PDF]. Lakeline.
The Shallow Water Initiative: Restoring Aquatic Habitat in Wisconsin [PDF]. DNR. Research Management Findings.
Concepts in Lake Management: Restructuring Littoral Zones [PDF]. DNR. Research Management Findings.
Publications from elsewhere
Consequences of Human Lakeshore Development on Emergent and Floating-Leaf Vegetation Abundance [PDF]. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Width of Riparian Zones for Birds [PDF]. US Army Engineer Research and Development Center. January 2000.

This list of resources should not be construed as being complete. It is only part of a collection of resources and research that DNR employees use as a reference in their day-to-day work. This list is in no way an endorsement of these organizations, but rather a resource for the public who may be interested in shoreland related issues.

Contact information
For more information about this page, please contact:
Shoreland policy coordinator
Bureau of Watershed Management
Last revised: Wednesday July 17 2013