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Leave your Legacy
Interested in an easement on your property?
Easements protect and restore corridors along cold and warmwater streams, to improve water quality and provide public access. Leave a legacy for those who come after.
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Contact information
For more information, contact:
Paul Cunningham
Fisheries ecologist

Streambank Protection ProgramProtecting our fisheries, water quality, and riparian areas for the future

Easing into the future brochure

Easements will leave a conservation legacy for those who will come after. Photo Tim Romano. Brochure available for download. [PDF]

The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship - Stream Bank Protection Program (SBP) aims to provide public access for angling and protect water quality and fish habitat along quality streams threatened by agricultural and urban runoff.

The program purchases easements directly from landowners. In return for payment, the landowner allows public fishing and DNR management activities along the stream corridor on their property. The easement area is generally 66 feet of land from the stream bank on either side of the stream. Easements are perpetual and remain on the land even if it sold or deeded to an heir. The SBP program has been popular with landowners and anglers. Landowners enjoy the ability to sell part of their rights in their property and in some cases get assistance from the Department or local conservation clubs in restoring the stream corridor, while anglers enjoy access to streams that provide high quality recreational experiences.

Stream bank protection program's roadmap to success

The stream bank protection goal in 2014-2015 [PDF] is to provide angling access and habitat protection along many of the premier stream fisheries in our state. The Department’s specific objective in these focus areas [PDF] is to purchase riparian easements along 100 miles of stream over the next two years. The ability of the Department to meet this objective will be influenced by the effectiveness of the Department’s local implementation teams, our outreach efforts, coalition building, a streamlined acquisition process and local real estate markets.

Accomplishments - 2014-2016: traveling in the right direction

The Department has recently re-tooled the Stream Bank Protection Program. As part of the re-tooling, the Department set forth a goal to purchase stream bank easements along 100 miles of stream over a 2-year period. The Natural Resources Board approved this new strategy in October 2013. Department staff began implementation in June of 2014. The ability of the Department to meet this objective is influenced by the effectiveness of the Department’s local implementation teams, our outreach efforts, coalition building, a streamlined acquisition process, funding, and local real estate markets.

For the 2-year period of July 2014 through June 15, 2016, 9 Local Implementation Teams have worked with conservation partners across the state to buy easements directly from landowners within their focus areas. During this 2-year period. a total of 81 easements have been purchased from riparian property owners on 47 different streams [PDF]. These transactions resulted in a total of 454.5 easement acres encompassing 32.08 miles of stream at a cost of $1,882,965; approximately one-third of the 100-mile acquisition goal set by the DNR in 2014.

Once the easements are purchased their specific locations are available via the Department’s Public Access Lands Mapping Application; Public Access Lands Mapping Application.

Local implementation teams

Local implementation teams will be critical to the success of the program. Initially there will be 7 local implementation teams statewide. As acquisition in existing focus areas ceases, and new focus areas are defined, this number may change.

Name Team Leader Name Team Leader
Baraboo Crew Nate Nye Black River Team Dan Hatleli
Chippewa Valley Heath Benike La Crosse/Bad Axe/Kickapoo Jordan Weeks
Northern Kettles Travis Motl SW Driftless Smallmouth bass Bradd Sims
SW Driftless Trout David Rowe Northeast Streams Jonathan Pyatskowit

Stream bank protection program eligible streams

The Department maintains maps for streams and DNR properties that are eligible for stream bank protection funding. Over 4,500 miles of streams located in 47 counties are eligible.

eligible stream map Burnett county Polk county Barron county St. Croix County Pierce county Pepin county Dunn county Chippewa County Eau Claire County Buffalo County Trempealeau County Jackson County La Crosse County Monroe County Vernon county Crawford county Richland county Grant county Iowa city Lafayette County Dane county Green county Rock county Sauk county Columbia County Juneau county Adams county Waushara County Marquette County Green Lake county Walworth county waukesha county Dodge county Washington county Ozaukee county Fond du Lac County Sheboygan county Winnebago county Manitowoc county Outgamie county Waupaca county Portage county Wood county Marathon county Shawano county Lincoln county Langlade county
Last revised: Wednesday May 24 2017