About Wisconsin’s Healthy Lakes

Healthy Lakes includes 5 simple and inexpensive best practices that improve habitat and water quality on your lakeshore property.

We encourage do-it-yourselfers to use these practices but have also created a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Healthy Lakes grant for funding assistance. Local partners like qualified lake associations, lake districts, and counties may apply for Healthy Lakes funding on behalf of lakeshore property owners, or they may choose to integrate the Healthy Lakes initiative into their lake management, comprehensive planning, and shoreland zoning ordinance efforts.

Lakeshore Property Owners

Interested in grant funding? Partner with an eligible grant applicant like a local unit of government or qualified lake association for funding.
Learn more

Implementation Plan


Wisconsin’s Healthy Lakes Implementation Plan is the foundation for describing and promoting best practices for shoreland property owners. It’s important to consider this plan in the context of the lake and local community’s management complexity. The best practices’ effectiveness will increase cumulatively with additional property owner participation and depend on the nature and location of the lake. For example, if every property owner implemented appropriate Healthy Lakes best practices on a small seepage lake, also known as a pothole or kettle lake, within a forested area, the impact would be greater than on a large impoundment in an agricultural area.

Nevertheless, all lakes will benefit from these best practices, and even with limited impact, they are a piece of the overall lake management puzzle that lakeshore property owners can directly control. More lakeshore property owners choosing to implement Healthy Lakes best practices means healthier lakes for everyone.

This statewide initiative is a true, collaborative team effort. Your feedback drives the Plan and the initiative’s direction so we can learn with each other and adapt the Plan and our statewide strategy into the future. Let’s make Healthy Lakes together!

Goals & Objectives


Our Goals

To protect and improve the health of our lakes by increasing lakeshore property owner participation in habitat restoration and runoff and erosion control projects.

Our Objectives

  • Statewide

    Single-parcel participation in Healthy Lakes will increase 100% in 3 years (i.e. 2015 to 2017).

  • Individual lake

    Lake groups or other partners may identify their own habitat, water quality, and/or participation goal(s) through a local planning and public participation process.

  • Partners

    Partners may integrate the Plan into a complementary planning process such as lake management or comprehensive planning.

Our Team & Partners


Collaboration and participation were key in this team effort to create Wisconsin’s Healthy Lakes Implementation Plan and our statewide initiative. We would like to thank the staff, agency, business, and citizen partners, including Advanced Lake Leaders, who provided feedback for our team and the many partners who completed a customer survey and provided valuable comments during the public review of proposed Department of Natural Resources guidance.

Dave Ferris

Dave Ferris


Tom Onofrey

Tom Onofrey

Patrick Goggin

Patrick Goggin


Carroll Schaal

Carroll Schaal

Amy Kowalski

Amy Kowalski


Shelly Thomsen

Shelly Thomsen

Jane Malischke

Jane Malischke


Pamela Toshner

Pamela Toshner

We would like to express our gratitude to the following contributors and information sources:

Cheryl Clemens
Karen Engelbretson
John Haack
Dave Kafura
Jesha LaMarche
Eric Olson
Flory Olson
Tim Parks
Bret Shaw
Scott Toshner
Bone Lake Management District
Maine Lake Smart Program
Vermont Lake Wise Program

Contacts


We appreciate your continued feedback, please contact us if you have comments or questions.


Pamela Toshner

Pamela Toshner
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
T: 715-635-4073
Pamela.Toshner@wisconsin.gov


Lakes and Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Control Grant Contacts

For assistance with specific or science-related aspects of your project, contact the Lakes or AIS Grants Coordinator in your area. For assistance with financial aspects of your project, contact the Environmental Grant Specialist in your area.

Download contact list
Additional information on Lakes and AIS grants


River Planning and Management Grant Contacts

For assistance with specific or science-related aspects of your project, contact the River Coordinator in your area. For assistance with financial aspects of your project, contact the Environmental Grant Specialist in your area.

Download contact list
Additional information on River Planning and Management grants

Science of Healthy Lakes


The science of lake management has advanced significantly over the last few decades. We better understand natural science – how lakes function and the importance of shorelands to lake health, as well as the social science – how people and their attitudes and behaviors affect lakes.

Natural Science
Social Science