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Public Trust Doctrine

The Public Trust Doctrine applies to all navigable waters, which are defined as any waterway on which it is possible to float a canoe or small watercraft at some time during the year. 

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Shoreland Zoning – Chapter 21

The Shoreland Zoning chapter from the Zoning Board Handbook discusses the purpose of shoreland zoning, where shoreland zoning applies, and the minimum Wisconsin statewide shoreland zoning standards.

The Shoreland Zoning: Legislative Changes 2015-2016 available on this webpage cover the changes to shoreland zoning standards that occurred since the publication of the Shoreland Zoning chapter.

View the chapter.

Shoreland Zoning: Legislative Changes 2015-2016

The Wisconsin Legislature has made major changes to shoreland zoning in 2015-16. These changes are explained in three short video presentations.

Shoreland Zoning Update – Part 1 – Introduction to shoreland zoning and recent changes to required shoreland lot sizes.

Shoreland Zoning Update – Part 2 – Changes to shoreland setbacks, vegetation protection and impervious surface standards.

Shoreland Zoning Update – Part 3 – Changes to standards for buildings located close to the shoreline.

Wisconsin Shoreland Zoning Over the Years

A historical summary of Wisconsin shoreland zoning from 1787 – 2019.

Read the history.

Shoreland Science Workshop Cards

These shoreland science cards in pdf format contain topics that are helpful in explaining why we have shoreland zoning regulations. Some of the cards provide source information including studies and links.

View the cards