The water publications on this page are available for download in pdf format. Many of these water publications, along with the children's books, are available for purchase through the Extension Lakes bookstore

Questions on publications or purchasing? Call 715-346-2116 or email uwexlakes@uwsp.edu 

Waterfront Property Owners   

Value of Shoreland Zoning

Learn how Shoreland Zoning helps protect water quality, fishing, and home values. View or download this PDF graphical handout.

View or dow​nload the handout.

Value of shoreland zoning graphic references

Value of Shoreland Zoning Video - This short animated video demonstrates how Shoreland Zoning helps protect water quality, fishing, and home values.​

Choosing the Right Waterfront Property  choosingrightwaterproperty.png

If you are thinking about buying waterfront property in Wisconsin, this guide is meant f​or 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 Shoreland Stewardship Practices

Healthy watersheds make healthy lakes and higher property values. Created for people who live on a waterfront lot or plan to buy one, this publication describes a menu of opportunities to protect your property investment. 

Protecting Your Waterfront Investment - 2021 PDF Booklet


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 Property owners can increase fish habitat by leaving trees that fall in the water in place. 
Available book formats:

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

How do impervious (hard) surfaces impact lakes and streams? This publication was developed 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 fish, abundant wildlife, and clear, clean water all depend on the decisions that we make on our waterfront properties. Learn about how impervious (hard) surfaces impact fish, wildlife and waterfront property values.

Impervious Surfaces Materials:

- Poster, only in PDF format
- Impacts of Impervious Surfaces on Fish, Wildlife, and Waterfront Property Values - Video

Shoreland Development Density and Impervious Surfaces 

This 19 page publication describes how shoreland development density and impervious surfaces affect the quality of our lakes and streams.

The Water's Edge

This introduction to life at the water's edge reveals the advantages of a natural, wildlife-friendly shore, and describes how you can restore, create, or maintain a natural shore without needing to give up your lawn and dock. In short, you can have your lawn, your dock, and wildlife too

The Water's Edge PDF Booklet


3 Simple Steps to Create a Lawn That's Healthy for Kids, Pets, Wildlife and Water Quality

How we manage our lawns affects the health of our children, pets, wildlife and water quality. This one page information sheet outlines three simple steps for creating a lawn that’s healthy for all.  

Children's Books and Videos  

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.    ​​​

Fish Hotel Children's Picture Book - Reading

Listen to Fish Hotel. A children's book about Tessa and her cousin Hugo who go on an underwater adventure learning that trees in the water are helpful to fish. A friendly neighbor teaches them how downed trees are like a fish hotel, providing shelter, food and a place to lay their eggs. When the kids find out Uncle Henry is going to remove a downed tree from the water, they make the case to keep it in the lake as a fish hotel. This story of cooperation and friendly neighbors captures the spirit of "up north" and teaches us how leaving trees in the water helps fish and lakes.

Fish Hotel Reading: link to stream file


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 make magical discoveries.
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.

To order, visit the UW-Extension Lakes online bookstore. Cost: $8.00 includes shipping and handling. 


Magic Goggles Picture Book Reading

Listen to The Magic Goggles as you view the story of Maggie and her little brother Tate as they explore the lake making new discoveries with their magic goggles. 

The Magic Goggles Reading: link to stream file


Keeping Lakes in the Family - Sharing the Magic Through Stories 

A collection of book recommendations orginally run in the UW-Extension Lake Tides newsletters. Each year brings a new selection of books for adults and children. 

2018 Tradition

2013 Frogs and Turtles   
2012 -  Wetlands 
2011 Lakes  
2010 Lakes  
2009 Lakes   
2008 Lakes 

Shoreland Zoning 

Wisconsin Waters Belong to Everyone - Public Trust Doctorine

pr35.jpgWisconsin Waters Belong to Everyone - Public Trust Doctrine

Wisconsin Shoreland Zoning Timeline History 

wi shoreland zoning timeline.PNG 
A historical summary of Wisconsin shoreland zoning from 1787 - 2019.

Shoreland Zoning: Legislative Changes 2015-16

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

Introduction to shoreland zoning and recent changes to required shoreland lot sizes.

Changes to shoreland setbacks, vegetation protection and impervious surface standards.
Changes to standards for buildings located close to the shoreline.

Shoreland Zoning - Shoreland Science Workshop  


Does Shoreland Zoning Work?

This fact sheet describes the approaches of two states to shoreland zoning and if they are working to protect lakes.

Zoning Board Handbook: Shoreland Zoning Chapter



Groundwater and Comprehensive Planning Fact Sheet 1 by the Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council


Protecting Wisconsin’s Groundwater Through Comprehensive Planning by the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the U.S. Geological Service, Wisconsin Water Science Center

Well Water for Rural Residential Subdivisions by Madeline Gotkowitz, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey


Zoning Board Handbook: Floodplain Zoning Chapter

Addressing Your Community's Flood Problems 

A guide for elected officials on flood disaster preparation by the Association of State Floodplain Managers, Inc., and the Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force
Land Use and Wetlands  by Wisconsin Wetlands Association
Online training for watershed management  by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Flood Resilience Scorecard

The Flood Resilience Scorecard is a comprehensive, whole community-approach focused tool that can be used to evaluate flood vulnerability through three different lenses: environmental, institutional and social. View the Flood Resilience Scorecard.

Stormwater Management

Addresses high water issues in a changing Wisconsin climate.


An Examination of Local Ordinances for Wetland Protection

Wetlands provide important local ecosystem services but they have declined worldwide. To get a handle on wetland management, it’s critical to understand their governance.

In Wisconsin, wetlands are protected through land use regulations. Local governments are required to establish shoreland/wetland zoning and follow minimum standards promulgated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

This report summarizes Wisconsin’s county-level wetland zoning ordinances. In addition, the report examines subdivision or land division regulations as these local level laws can address wetlands. Finally, the report looks at county comprehensive plans to understand the future importance of wetlands under county jurisdiction.

An Examination of Local Ordinances for Wetland Protection pdf file.

Agricultural Water Connections

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.
How agriculture affects water quantity and quality is discussed on pages 9-11. 

Wisconsin Land Use Megatrends: Water

This publication is intended for local government officials and others interested in investigating the connection between water and land use.  

The Importance of Water - A seven minute video disusses the value of water. This video compliments the Megatrends Water publication.


Groundwater Quality: Agricultural Chemicals in Wisconsin Groundwater

 Ag chemicals and WI GW - DATCP 2007

This study of 398 private drinking water wells was completed to obtain a current picture of agricultural chemicals in groundwater and compare the levels in the 2007 survey with levels found in earlier surveys.
This study conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services and Wisconsin Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2008.