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State Facts

Miles of Coast: 820

Coastal Population (2000): 2,049,934

Lead Coastal Management Agency: Department of Administration, Bureau of Intergovermental Relations

Approval Date: 1978

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Ocean and Coastal Management in Wisconsin

Wisconsin's Coastal Management Program

The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program is administered by the Department of Administration, Bureau of Intergovernmental Relations. The Coastal Program is a networked program implemented in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies with management authority in the coastal zone which is comprised of the 15 counties fronting Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Green Bay. The Wisconsin Coastal Management Council, appointed by the governor, with representatives from local governments, state agencies, Native American tribes, and interest groups, sets the policy direction for the program.


Coastal hazards and addressing shoreline and bluff erosion are a priority issue for Wisconsin's Coastal Program.

The Coastal Program has identified wetlands protection, habitat restoration, public access, land acquisition, nonpoint source pollution control, land use and community planning, natural hazards, and Great Lakes education projects as program priorities. The Coastal Program also provides assistance to local governments, who play an important role in the management and protection of shorelands, wetlands, and floodplains through zoning and permitting.

Coastal hazards have been a high priority since the Coastal Program’s inception, and the Coastal Program works with state agencies and regional and local counterparts in a “Coastal Hazards Work Group” to develop tools and strategies that help state and local governments address Wisconsin’s high rate of bluff erosion and prevent property damage. The Coastal Program is currently working with other state agencies to develop a Wisconsin Great Lakes Strategy that will augment the federally directed Great Lakes Regional Strategy.

Program Achievements

Wisconsin’s Restoration Planning Projects

Wisconsin Produces Educational DVDs on Shoreline Hazards for Property Owners

Wisconsin CNP Funded Project Helps Door County Receive "Beach Buddy" Recognition from the Natural Resources Defense Council


Wisconsin Coastal Management Program — The website provides information on the Program including information on its coastal management grants program, federal consistency, planning guidance for local communities, and other coastal initiatives.

Marine Protected Areas — Search for marine protected areas in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Coastal Nonpoint Program Conditional and Final Approval Documents — The Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program encourages better coordination between state coastal zone managers and water quality experts to reduce polluted runoff in the coastal zone. The state received full approval in 2003.

Wisonsin Coastal Program Evaluation (2009) — The Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management conducts periodic performance reviews of federally approved state coastal management programs.

Wisonson Coastal Zone Enhancement Program Assessment and Strategy (2011-2016) — Every five years, the Coastal Zone Management Act encourages states and territories to conduct self-evaluations of their coastal management programs to assess significant changes in the state’s coastal resources and management practices, identify critical needs, and prioritize areas for enhancement under the Coastal Zone Enhancement Program.

Contact Information for Wisconsin’s Program

Wisconsin Coastal Management Program
Department of Administration
101 East Wilson Street, 10th Floor
PO Box 8944
Madison, WI 53708
(608) 267-7982