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Protect
wetlands through land use planning, acquisition and wetland protection laws.
Restore
wetlands to improve wetland health and function and by re-establishing destroyed wetlands.
Explore
wetlands by getting your feet wet and learning about their wonders.

Wetland Identification Program

Complete a request online

Wetland Identification Program service requests are available online in the DNR’s Water ePermitting system

The Wetland Identification Program assists landowners with determining if wetlands are present on their property. Any person who owns or leases land may request the services offered through the Wetland Identification Program [PDF].

Wetland identification service

The wetland identification service provides a written evaluation, based upon an on-site inspection, of whether a property contains wetland. Up to 5 acres can be reviewed for a fee of $300 per acre. Requesters will receive a response in 60 days or less.

The wetland identification service cannot be used as a substitute for an official wetland delineation, and will only provide requestors with a presence/absence determination and an approximate wetland boundary location.

Because the service will only provide approximate wetland boundary locations it may not be suitable for all projects. Projects that have setback requirements or that are located very near a wetland may not be good candidates for the service. For this reason, we recommend anyone interested in using this service contact Wetland Identification Program staff prior to completing any request forms. Wetland determinations completed by the wetland identification service remain valid for 5 to 15 years, depending on the jurisdictional status of the wetland(s).

Artificial wetlands

Some artificially created wetlands are exempt from state wetland laws. These exemptions are specifically for landscape features where hydrophytic vegetation may be present as a result of human modification to the landscape or hydrology, which lack definitive evidence of a wetland or stream history prior to August 1, 1991. Artificial wetlands that serve as fish spawning areas or that are passage to a fish spawning area, or that were created for wetland mitigation purposes cannot be exempted from state wetland regulations. As part of the wetland identification service, wetland identification staff can determine if a wetland has wetland or stream history prior to August 1, 1991. This service is included in the standard wetland identification fee of $300 per acre for up to 5 acres. Qualified professionals may also be able to determine wetland history and other eligibility requirements for the artificial wetland exemption. See the artificial wetland exemption determination checklist for a complete summary of eligibility requirements.

Wetland confirmation service

This service consists of a written statement, based upon an on-site inspection, of whether the DNR agrees with the wetland boundaries delineated by a consultant. A fee of $300 per 20 acres of land reviewed is associated with this service, and requesters will receive a response in 60 days or less.

The goal of this service is to provide landowners and developers certainty that a project’s delineated wetland boundaries are accurate before project plans are finalized. Taking advantage of this service early in the planning phase will prevent unexpected wetland boundary concerns from delaying a project’s approval.

Two wetland confirmation service options are available (federal vs. nonfederal). To determine the type of confirmation service you should request, use this decision tool:

Determine wetland confirmation service option

This is a text link version of our Wetland ID question and answer module. If you are seeing this message, you currently have JavaScript disabled or are in compatibility mode while using Internet Explorer. This text version is here to help you understand if you need a permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for your Wetland, and if so, which one. Please go through and answer each question. This will help you determine which permit you will need.

Question 1 :

Has the United States Army Corps of Engineers determined that the wetland area is a federal water of the United States?

If your answer is "Yes, the wetland is a federal water of the United States.,” go to Question 2.

If your answer is "No, the wetland is NOT a federal water of the United States.,” go to Question 3.

You've answered The United States Army Corps of Engineers has not made a jurisdictional determination for the wetland in question.

If your answer is “The United States Army Corps of Engineers has not made a jurisdictional determination for the wetland in question.,”:

A federal jurisdictional determination is needed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to determine if your project would require a federal or nonfederal wetland boundary confirmation. If this project is time sensitive, you may wish to consider the wetland to be a federal wetland to continue to move forward with the confirmation process. If you would like to presume federal wetland status, please go back and click "Yes, the wetland is a federal water of the United States". Otherwise, please work with your local United States Army Corps of Engineers contact [exit DNR] to get a jurisdiction determination for the wetland in question. Contact your local wetland identification specialist to discuss options as well.

Question 2 :

A federal wetland boundary confirmation is valid for 5 years and has a 60 day review timeline. There are two options to confirm the exact wetland boundary in question:



You've answered I worked with a wetland delineator and need a federal wetland boundary confirmation.

If your answer is “I worked with a wetland delineator and need a federal wetland boundary confirmation.,”:

Please go to http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Wetlands/delineation.html to begin the federal wetland boundary confirmation process.

You've answered I worked with an assured delineator that does not require a wetland boundary confirmation.

If your answer is “I worked with an assured delineator that does not require a wetland boundary confirmation.,”:

A DNR wetland boundary confirmation is not required in this case. Visit https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wetlands/pro.html for a complete list of assured delineators in your area.

You've answered I would like more information about these options.

If your answer is “I would like more information about these options.,”:

DNR staff are happy to discuss options with you. Please contact your local wetland identification specialist to find out more about these options.

Question 3 :

A nonfederal wetland boundary confirmation is valid for 15 years and has a 15 day review line unless additional information or a site visit is deemed necessary by the Department. There are two options to confirm the exact wetland boundary in question:



You've answered I worked with a wetland delineator and need a nonfederal wetland boundary confirmation.

If your answer is “I worked with a wetland delineator and need a nonfederal wetland boundary confirmation.,”:

Please go to http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Wetlands/delineation.html to begin the nonfederal wetland boundary confirmation process.

You've answered I worked with an assured delineator that does not require a nonfederal wetland boundary confirmation.

If your answer is “I worked with an assured delineator that does not require a nonfederal wetland boundary confirmation.,”:

A DNR wetland boundary confirmation is not required in this case. Visit https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wetlands/pro.html for a complete list of assured delineators in your area.

You've answered I would like more information about these options.

If your answer is “I would like more information about these options.,”:

DNR staff are happy to discuss options with you. Please contact your local wetland identification specialist to find out more about these options.

Federal wetlands

This option consists of a written statement, based upon an on-site inspection, of whether DNR agrees with a wetland delineation completed by a consultant, on federally protected wetlands. A fee of $300 per 20 acres of land reviewed is associated with this service, and requesters will receive a response in 60 days or less. Wetland confirmations completed on federally protected wetlands are valid for 5 years.

Nonfederal wetlands

This option consists of a written statement, based upon an on-site inspection, of whether DNR agrees with the wetland boundaries delineated by a qualified 3rd person, on nonfederal wetlands. A fee of $300 per 20 acres of land reviewed is associated with this service, and requesters will receive an initial response in 15 days or less. The initial response will be a statement that either concurs with the wetland delineation, or a statement explaining why DNR cannot concur with the wetland delineation until a field review is completed. If a field review is required, the request will be completed in 60 days or less.

Wetland confirmations completed on non-federal wetlands are valid for 5 to 15 years. Length of the confirmation’s validity is related to local and state storm water management ordinances and/or local and state storm water permit approvals.

Additional resources

Contact information

For more information on wetland boundary delineation, contact the specialist for your county:


Last Revised: Thursday June 28 2018