Partner Organizations


Build a Successful Program and Let’s Make Healthy Lakes & Rivers Together!

We surveyed our network of staff and technical partners to learn what it takes to help build a successful Healthy Lakes & Rivers program. We’re excited to share these lessons learned with you and will add more as we grow together!


Lesson 1

Lead by example.

This is a journey. If you want to personally be a champion, you need to begin by taking stock of your own property.

~ Be vulnerable and share your own shoreland journey.
~ Take the Score My Shore survey and share your results.
~ Acknowledge that starting small is ok!
~ There are many low cost ways to make a difference on your property (leave fallen trees in the water, minimize fertilizer, etc.). Example

Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.

Lesson 2

Build community and spread the word.

Contact folks around your lake or river to see if they are interested in implementing a Healthy Lakes & Rivers practice on their property. Successful recruitment tools include presenting at your lake or river organization meeting, surveying your community, hands-on workshops, and good ol’ door knocking.

~ Link to Healthy Lakes & Rivers from your website or social media page.   Example
~ Include an article in your newsletter. Examples
~ Include a property owner spotlight in your communications. Example
~ Peruse our Promotion Toolshed for ready-to-use publications.
~ Host an “open yard” demonstration tour of Healthy Lakes & Rivers practices.

Science shows that taking time to understand your neighbors’ attitudes and beliefs helps to create community. Learn more

Engage with like-minded lake and river groups, like Wisconsin Lakes.

Group of people at Grindstone Lake

Lesson 3

Seize the science.

Learning more about shoreland health and how it impacts your local lake or river is key to understanding where to start installing Healthy Lakes & Rivers best practices. Use these resources to help strategize next steps.

~ Shoreland Habitat Disturbance Viewer (Wisconsin DNR)
Shoreland habitat surveys have been completed on a number of lakes since 2016. You may view the overall condition of lakeshore habitat at the scale of the entire lake or individual parcels. The tool also recommends actions for protecting and restoring habitat based on the lake’s or parcel’s condition.

~ Wisconsin Water Explorer (Wisconsin DNR)
This tool allows users to explore characteristics of Wisconsin’s water resources and was designed as a companion tool to the Surface Water Data Viewer (SWDV) (the SWDV is a tool that shows maps related to Wisconsin’s water resources).

~ Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership Conservation Planner
The Conservation Planner provides information to support ecosystem-based conservation to benefit inland lake fish habitat. It is intended for use in addition to existing information for each lake.

MGLP Conservation Planner

Lesson 4

Track your progress.

The Score My Shore survey can help make this happen:
1. Create a Partner Page on the Score My Shore survey website.
2. Conduct a campaign to get shoreland property owners to complete the online Score My Shore survey. Encourage them to share their results with you (their local lake or river “partner organization”).
3. Follow up with your lake or river community to report waterbody-scale results and provide information about Healthy Lakes & Rivers best practices.

Score My Shore survey categories of Entry, Restoration, Enhancement, and Protection

Lesson 5

Connect with the experts.

You are not on your own! There are technical assistance providers throughout the state who can help your partner organization grow technical capacity to support Healthy Lakes & Rivers projects in your area. Do you need help with the following?

~ Designing Healthy Lakes & Rivers best practices
~ Site visit planning tools Example
~ Native plant suggestions
~ Finding local contractors or native plant nurseries in your area

Visit our Healthy Lakes & Rivers Resources page to see our list of partners who are available to help.


Drawing of a shoreland planting plan

Lesson 6

Apply for a Healthy Lakes & Rivers grant.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources can help with Healthy Lakes & Rivers Grants. Any eligible applicant can apply for these grants. Please note DNR cannot provide Healthy Lakes & Rivers funding directly to individual shoreland property owners. The grants provide up to $1,000 per Best Practice and up to $25,000 for an eligible applicant applying on behalf of multiple property owners.

Healthy Lakes & Rivers participants on Fox Lake