Lake Management & Protection?

Lake management and protection are terms that refer to actions taken to help a lake or river fulfill its designated uses. Some form of recreation is usually the main designated use for waterbodies in Polk County. The most common actions are to stop degradation by aquatic invasive species or to reverse decreased clarity.

Whose Job?

Wisconsin adopted minimum shoreland standards in 1966 to help prevent our lakes and streams from degradation due to increasing modification of lands draining to its waterbodies. Counties could adopt higher standards until 2015 when the legislature made many changes which now allow more degradation than even the 1966 minimum standards. Current regulations are far from sufficient to protect our inland waters so that future generations can enjoy them as we currently do. Unless the current minimum standards can be flexible enough to allow more restrictive standards when local communities desire that, most future protective measures will have to be shoreland owners’ initiatives – not regulations. With the current minimum standards, educational help from lake organizations, government educators, and the DNR will be more important than in the past. Financial help through grants will continue to be an important incentive for these protective initiatives.

2015-2016 Change Explanations and Help Sources

The three videos below provide explanations for the recent (2015-2016) shoreland ordinance changes. The 3 parts can also be as a combined video.

Part 1 – changes to required shoreland lot sizes
Part 2 – changes to shoreland setbacks, vegetation protection and impervious surface standards
Part 3 – changes to standards for buildings located close to the shoreline

In the sidebar on the right, explore learning opportunities, history, and action steps that might be appropriate for your lake.