Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Land & Water Resources Department

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my project requires a Shoreland Mitigation Permit?

If your project is located within 300 feet of a navigable waterway (i.e., lake, pond, river, or stream) you will need to contact Dane County Zoning for a Shoreland Zoning Permit. Dane County Zoning staff will determine whether or not the project requires a Shoreland Mitigation Permit. You will receive written confirmation of their determination. You can use the Land & Water Resources Viewer to determine if your project is located within 300 feet of a navigable waterway. 

In most cases, yes. The stormwater management component of the mitigation permit must be designed by a professional engineer licensed in Wisconsin. Certain exemptions do apply for projects that do not require the stormwater management performance standards to be met. It is recommended that you work with a qualified professional that specializes in native plantings or shoreland restoration when buffer restoration is required.

After receiving your shoreland zoning permit determination letter from Dane County Zoning, submit two complete copies of all application and plan materials and the permit fee to Water Resource Engineering -- see our How to Submit webpage for more information. If the person submitting the application is not the landowner, a notarized statement signed by the landowner authorizing the applicant must be included.

The vegetative buffer zone must consist of species native to south central Wisconsin, and meet or exceed the density requirements and other standards described in NRCS Conservation Practice 643a “Shoreland Restoration” and Wisconsin Biology Technical Note 1. If you intend to utilize the existing vegetation, the vegetative buffer plan should include an inventory of the existing species, their locations, densities, photos and a landscape plan showing their approximate location. The plan must also include removal and replacement of undesirable species such that the standards referenced above can be met within the establishment period.

The use of native vegetation, matting and biological stabilization options are preferred. However, a boulder or rock retaining wall and/or terraces may be allowed in cases where it is shown to be structurally necessary for stabilization of a steep slope. A variance from the vegetative buffer standard may be necessary.

The buffer must meet the design standards and dimensional requirements within 3 years of permit issuance. The vegetative buffer plan should identify a specific planting schedule based on the methods of establishment and the needs of the site. It should be noted that native plantings can take years to successfully establish and delaying planting is not recommended. The buffer must be planted to complete the as-built plan process and release any financial security held for the project.