Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Planning & Development

Water Resource Regulations

The Dane County landscape is made up of many miles of rivers and streams and includes thousands of acres of open water and wetlands.  Shoreland zoning districts have been created to afford special regulations for the sensitive areas.

A bird at a boat launch walking toward a vegetated shoreline on Lake Mendota

Water Resources

In addition to Dane County, many other agencies work to protect and enhance our natural resources:

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

United States Environmental Protection Agency

United States Army Corps of Engineers

Natural Resource Conservation Service

Protecting Dane County’s lakes, ponds, streams, aquifers, wetlands and floodplains requires the efforts of several agencies at the county, regional, state and federal levels of government. This page is intended to help landowners and developers navigate the permitting process and answer some of the most common questions. If you can’t find what you need here, please feel free to contact the Department of Planning and Development, and we’ll be happy to go over your project in detail.


Shoreland and Wetland PermitsFloodplain Zoning Permits


Shoreland Information

Chapter 11: Shoreland Zoning RegulationsFrequently Asked Questions about Shoreland ZoningWisconsin Water Law: A Guide to Water Rights and RegulationsDane County Comprehensive Plan Water Resources Goals


Wetland Information

Finding a Wetland DelineatorThe importance of Wetlands


Floodplain Information

Floodplain ZoningFloodplain Ordinance


Manure Management, Erosion Control, and Stormwater Management

Chapter 14: Manure, Erosion Stormwater OrdinanceDane County Land and Water Resources


Sewer, Sanitary, and Drinking Water Regulations

Chapter 45: Private Water System OrdinanceChapter 46: Private Sewage System OrdinanceMadison & Dane County Environmental Health Division