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how Wisconsin protects waterways by holding them in trust for everyone to enjoy.
the permits you need for your waterfront property projects.
about the permit process that protects public waters.

Waterway protection Exemptions

This is all the information you need to identify, apply for and obtain any necessary DNR exemptions required for your waterfront property development projects.

Exemption fees

There is no fee for an Exemption Determination Request.

Timeline for exemption determination

Please fill in all of the requested information. You will receive a response within 15 days of our receipt of your request (provided the owner of the project site has signed the form).

Waterway protection exemption determinations

Use this list of activities with statutory exemptions (with links to requirement checklists) to determine if your activity is one where a statutory exemption is available. In some cases, a plan template is available to help you with the exemption determination process.

Quick start quide

Chapter 30, Wis. Stats. provides permit exemptions for a small group of activities in navigable waters. By law, most exemptions are not allowed in "areas of special natural resource interest" (ASNRI). These areas include state natural areas, trout streams, outstanding or exceptional resource waters, and other waters designated by the department as having significant scientific value.

If your project site is an ASNRI, your project may not be exempt. In addition some exemptions are also not allowed in locations of "public rights features" (PRF).

Getting started

  • First, determine the location of your project. To determine if your project site is an ASNRI or PRF, visit the designated waters mapping site, enter the information about your waterway, and record any designations that it may have. See the Designated Waters Search Tutorial to learn how to use this tool.
  • Begin by working out the details of your project. You may wish to consult various literature, professionals, and contractors for ideas.
  • Next determine if your project qualifies for an exemption. You can either submit an Exemption Determination Request [PDF], or use the checklists found under the exemption type list tab.
  • If you self-determine yourself to be exempt from permit requirements, you can go ahead and start the project. Please be aware that for some activities state stormwater permits or other local and federal authorizations may be required.
  • If you want verification of your exempt status, mail the completed Exemption Determination Request [PDF] form to the address located on the form.

Important: There are a few things that must be completed correctly to ensure successful application submittal.

  • Applications are not complete unless signed.
  • Must include complete sets of plans/photos.
  • Must include proper fee. - See the application fee tab for how to calculate the correct fee for your project.
  • Each permit application includes a checklist. Use the checklist when preparing to submit your application for a permit.
Last revised: Wednesday June 13 2018