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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 Resources for local government

This webpage provides access to information on adoption and administration of shoreland zoning ordinances for local government officials and staff.

These standards seek to create a balance between private rights and public interests in compliance with statewide minimum development standards.

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.

Model zoning ordinances

Publication Number Publication Information
WT-542-2000 Creating an Effective Shoreland Zoning Ordinance: A Summary of Wisconsin Shoreland Zoning Ordinances. DNR.
Mitigation Recommendation
Shoreland Mitigation - Suggestions and Resources for County Zoning Ordinances.
Shoreland Zoning Resource Guide: An Annotated Model Shoreland Zoning Ordinance. DNR.
No Pub Number
Model Shoreland Zoning Ordinance. DNR. Revised April 27, 2016.
Revisions Cover Page
Cover Page to Model Shoreland Zoning Ordinance. DNR. Revised December 14, 2010.
No Pub Number
Model Shoreland-Wetland Zoning Ordinance for Cities and Villages. DNR.


Publication Number Publication Information
DNR Series Floodplain and Shoreland Management Notes.

Handbooks and other publications

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: Thursday July 13 2017