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Healthy Watersheds, High-Quality Waters

Protecting Wisconsin's Water Resources

Healthy Watersheds, High-Quality Waters will provide a road map for how to strike an improved balance between restoration and protection, all while emphasizing and celebrating the wonderful waters of Wisconsin.

The Healthy Watersheds, High-Quality Waters Kickoff Strategy document [PDF] is now available.

Wisconsin hosts nearly 17,000 lakes, 650 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, about 86,000 miles of streams and 5.3 million acres of remaining wetlands. How do we protect these water resources for future generations?

To draw attention to the state's finest waterbodies, the DNR's Water Quality Program has launched a Healthy Watersheds, High-Quality Waters (HWHQW) initiative. This new focus on the "already healthy" waterbodies and watersheds – or land area draining to a lake, stream or wetland – is intended to celebrate these treasures and draw attention to the ecological, financial and societal benefits of protecting clean water.

The goal of this initiative is to keep 100% of the priority healthy watersheds and high quality waters within them at or better than their current conditions through 2025. The success of the initiative depends on meaningful partnerships. In spring 2021, the DNR is engaging partners to help develop a five-year action plan with the following objectives.

  • Increase capacity to provide technical assistance to partners.
  • Increase utilization of funding for protection.
  • Leverage and adapt existing program tools to achieve results.
  • Increase external awareness of protection priority areas and activities.

Meeting information, information about how to participate and additional resources will be posted on this page. The Healthy Watershed, High-Quality Waters Action Plan should be ready for implementation in 2022.

Discussion Groups

  • Wednesday, May 5 (9-11 a.m.): Fish, Wildlife & Habitat Conservation Partners
  • Wednesday, May 12 (9-11 a.m.): Local, State & Federal Government Partners
    • NOTE: Due to staffing needs for this session, we have closed registration for this date.  To accommodate additional interested attendees, we have added the June 2nd event below.
  • Friday, May 14 (9-11 a.m.): Lake, River & Watershed Management Partners (webinar registration)
  • Wednesday, May 19 (9-11 a.m.): Business Partners, including Tourism, Real Estate & Agriculture (webinar registration)
  • Wednesday, June 2 (9-11 a.m.): Local, State, Tribal & Federal Government Partners (webinar registration)
    • NOTE: This is an additional government partners session for those who were not able to register for the May 12th meeting — not a second part to the May 12th meeting.  The formats and focuses for the two meetings will be identical.

Additional Resources