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Protecting our fisheries, water quality, and riparian areas for the future

Streambank Protection Program

Easing into the future brochure
Brochure available for download. [PDF]

The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship - Stream Bank Protection Program (SBP) aims to provide public access for angling and protect water quality and fish habitat along quality streams threatened by agricultural and urban runoff.

The program purchases easements directly from landowners. In return for payment, the landowner allows public fishing and DNR management activities along the stream corridor on their property. The easement area is generally 66 feet of land from the stream bank on either side of the stream. Easements are perpetual and remain on the land even if it sold or deeded to an heir. The SBP program has been popular with landowners and anglers. Landowners enjoy the ability to sell part of their rights in their property and in some cases get assistance from the Department or local conservation clubs in restoring the stream corridor, while anglers enjoy access to streams that provide high-quality recreational experiences.

Streambank protection program's roadmap to success

The streambank protection goal in 2014-2015 [PDF] is to provide angling access and habitat protection along many of the premier stream fisheries in our state. The Department’s specific objective in these focus areas [PDF] is to purchase riparian easements along 100 miles of the stream over the next two years. The ability of the Department to meet this objective will be influenced by the effectiveness of the Department’s local implementation teams, our outreach efforts, coalition building, a streamlined acquisition process and local real estate markets.

Interested in an easement on your property?

Driftless area stream

Easements protect and restore corridors along cold and warmwater streams to improve water quality and provide public access. Consider leaving a legacy to those who come after. Get application materials [PDF].

Accomplishments - 2014-2016: traveling in the right direction

The Department has recently re-tooled the Stream Bank Protection Program. As part of the re-tooling, the Department set forth a goal to purchase stream bank easements along 100 miles of the stream over a 2-year period. The Natural Resources Board approved this new strategy in October 2013. Department staff began implementation in June of 2014. The ability of the Department to meet this objective is influenced by the effectiveness of the Department’s local implementation teams, our outreach efforts, coalition building, a streamlined acquisition process, funding, and local real estate markets.

For the 2-year period of July 2014 through June 15, 2016, 9 Local Implementation Teams have worked with conservation partners across the state to buy easements directly from landowners within their focus areas. During this 2-year period. a total of 81 easements have been purchased from riparian property owners on 47 different streams [PDF]. These transactions resulted in a total of 454.5 easement acres encompassing 32.08 miles of the stream at a cost of $1,882,965; approximately one-third of the 100-mile acquisition goal set by the DNR in 2014.

Once the easements are purchased their specific locations are available via the Department’s Public Access Lands Mapping Application; Public Access Lands Mapping Application.

Local implementation teams

Local implementation teams will be critical to the success of the program. Initially, there will be 7 local implementation teams statewide. As acquisition in existing focus areas ceases, and new focus areas are defined, this number may change.

Name Team Leader Name Team Leader
Baraboo Crew Nate Nye Black River Team Dan Hatleli
Chippewa Valley Heath Benike La Crosse/Bad Axe/Kickapoo Jordan Weeks
Northern Kettles Travis Motl SW Driftless Smallmouth bass Bradd Sims
SW Driftless Trout David Rowe Northeast Streams Jonathan Pyatskowit

Streambank protection program eligible streams

The Department maintains maps for streams and DNR properties that are eligible for streambank protection funding. Over 4,500 miles of streams located in 47 counties are eligible.

Adams Grant Marquette Sheboygan
Barron Green Monroe St. Croix
Buffalo Green Lake Outagamie Trempealeau
Burnett Iowa Ozaukee Vernon
Chippewa Jackson Pepin Walworth
Columbia Juneau Pierce Washington
Crawford La Crosse Polk Waukesha
Dane Lafayette Portage Waupaca
Dodge Langlade Richland Waushara
Dunn Lincoln Rock Winnebago
Eau Claire Manitowoc Sauk Wood
Fond Du Lac Marathon Shawano