Recommended Children's Books and Videos about Lakes and Wetlands

Here are some lake-related books to share with that special child in your life. Curl up to read some of these wonderful stories together and reveal your own lake experiences. While these books may have been designed for children, they’re a great fit for anyone who enjoys wonderful illustrations and fun stories. These fun, educational options also make great gifts for your local library or school, where many people can enjoy the magic of lakes. These articles were originally run in the UWEX Lake Tides newsletters.

Owning Waterfront Property

  • A Second Life for Trees in Lakes: As Useful in Water as They Were on Land

Remarkably, after a tree falls in the lake, it might last another 300 to 600 years in the water. Fish use submerged trees in a variety of ways. Many species spawn on, adjacent to or under trees that provide cover which help some species protect their incubating brood. Newly hatched smallmouth bass will often inhabit submerged trees. 

Large submerged trees can host entire fish communities. In Wisconsin, fifteen species of fish inhabited a single white pine tree in Katherine Lake including black crappies, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, muskellunge, rock bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, yellow perch and minnows. Waterfront property owners can increase fish habitat by leaving trees that fall in the water in place.


  • Impervious Surfaces: How They Impact Fish, Wildlife and Waterfront Property Values

How do impervious (hard) surfaces impact lakes and streams? This publication was deveImpervious Surfacesloped for waterfront property owners and local officials to help answer this question. It does not discuss all of the potential impacts of impervious surfaces; rather it primarily focuses on impacts to: waterfront property values, fishing, and wildlife. Healthy lakes, rivers, and streams are truly the basis for creating fond memories of time spent near the water, like walleye fishing on a crisp fall morning, swimming with the kids in the afternoon, and entertaining friends on the evening shoreline. Healthy fish, abundant wildlife, and clear, clean water all depend on the individual decisions that we make on our waterfront properties. When we develop waterfront lots, trees, and native plants are replaced by impervious (hard) surfaces. Driveways, rooftops, and other hard surfaces decrease the ability of the shoreland area to serve its natural functions. Links to the full-length version and the condensed versions are provided below. To order your free copies today, call 715-346-2116 or email uwexlakes@uwsp.edu.

  • Impervious Surfaces Poster - PDF
  • Impervious Surfaces PowerPoints (Video and Audio)
    • Impacts of Impervious Surfaces on Fish, Wildlife, and Waterfront Property (PowerPoint, Video)
    • Impacts of Impervious Surfaces on Fish Only (PowerPoint, Video)
  • Shoreland Development Density and Impervious Surfaces

    This fact sheet describes how shoreland development density and impervious surfaces affect the quality of our lakes and streams.

  • Choosing the Right Waterfront Property
    If you are thinking about buying waterfront property in Wisconsin, this guide is meant for you. A little time invested in learning about waterfront living will pay back sizable dividends in matching your expectations to the realities. This guide provides:  
    • Ideas to consider before you start your property search
    • Considerations to help you decide on the right lake or river
    • Factors to help you choose just the right property
  • Protecting Your Waterfront Investment: 10 Simple Shoreland Stewardship Practices
    Healthy watersheds make healthy lakes and higher property values -- this booklet show how property owners can take simple steps to curb pollutants, cut runoff, and capture and cleanse pollutant-carrying runoff before it reaches a waterway.

  • The Magic Goggles: Discovering the Secrets of the Lake

    Maggie and her little brother Tate are visiting their grandparents’ lake cabin when they discover two pairs of really weird, old goggles with leather straps in a dusty old trunk in the attic. Down at the lake with their goggles, the kids discover the magic goggles make them as light as a damselfly and let them see right through lily pads to the underwater forest below.                  
When a mother wood duck befriends the duo and sees how they like exploring the shoreline, she takes them for a flying ride around the lake to get a bird’s-eye view. From this viewpoint they see that the deep blue jewel of a lake is surrounded by a forest of green, a summer camp, and a few houses located way back from the water. Based on what they’ve seen, Mama Duck explains how all the trees make the lake a good spot to raise a family.
This book’s descriptive text and rich, detailed illustrations will boost readers’ understanding about the importance of forests around lakes, while luring them into discovering their own magic at the lake. A single copy costs $8 including shipping and handling. To order, call 715-346-2116 or email uwexlakes@uwsp.edu.

Shorelands, Wetlands, and Floodplains

This fact sheet describes two states' approaches to shoreland zoning and whether they're working to protect lakes.

This fact sheet explores the existing road system in Wisconsin and its cost per person, and specific tools for minimizing pollutant sources and pollutant delivery to lakes and streams.

Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission
Assocation of State Floodplain Managers, Inc., and the Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force
Wisconsin Wetlands Association
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This volume of the guidebook serves as a 'how-to' guide for County Zoning Administrators and local groups that want to educate shoreland property owners about shoreland stewardship practices and related regulations.


This volume provides shoreland educational plans for 10 Wisconsin counties and the process they went through to develop them.

  • The purpose of the River Owner’s Handbook and the Conservation Easement brochure is to educate landowners living along river corridors on the benefits of conservation easements and to describe the best conservation methods developed for riparian lands.   These publications also address issues on the long-term benefit of various types of preservation techniques, and frequently asked questions concerning shoreland protection

The River Owner's Handbook 

The River Owner's Handbook References

Conservation Easement Brochure

This publication can be printed and redistributed to any individual who is concerned and/or interested in learning about protecting the aesthetic beauty, water quality and overall landscape in and around a water resource.



Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council

How Food Choices Affect Drinking Water Safety and Human Health


Center for Land Use Education. 2005 CropScape data from USDA was multiplied by the 2005 Wisconsin average pesticide use per acre for each crop from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Center for Land Use Education. Data from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and 2005 CropScape data from USDA.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
  • Wisconsin Land Use Megatrends: Agriculture This publication is intended for local government officials and others interested in investigating the connections between agriculture and land use. Statewide trends for various agricultural sectors are explored together with economic impacts, environmental and human health impacts, and state and local policies to manage agriculture.

  • Community Supported Agriculture in Wisconsin: Supporting Local Farmers and Protecting Drinking Water Every “eater” affects groundwater quality through the farming practices they support when they purchase food. Buying food from local CSA farms protect farmland, supports sustainable farming practices, and conserves natural resources, including groundwater.