Lake management and protection covers a wide range of actions that help a lake or river fulfill its designated uses. The most common actions attempt to stop aquatic invasive species and improve clarity. Recreation is usually the main designated use for waterbodies in Polk County, e.g., fishing, swimming, and boating. All depend on clear, clean water.

Our Hope is to Collectively Manage and Protect Our Lakes

  • Does a reasonable balance exist between private and government initiatives?
    Wisconsin adopted minimum shoreland standards in 1966 to help prevent our lakes and streams from degradation due to increasing development. Since 2015, the shoreland standards no longer provide the minimum 1966 standard, including the previous county option to add protections of its own. Current standards are far from sufficient to protect our inland waters so that future generations can enjoy them as past generations have.
  • How can we protect our waterbodies in the near-term?
    Unless the State-wide ordinances can be flexible enough to allow more restrictive standards when local communities desire that, most future protective measures will have to be initiatives of shoreland and outer watershed owners. 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 viewed 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.