Skip to main content

Lake levels

Waterway protection

NOTES ON WATERWAYS PERMITS

For each project type below, if an exemption or a general permit is available, you will find a link to a checklist of requirements. If your project does not meet exemption eligibility criteria, review the general permit checklist. If your project does not meet general permit eligibility criteria, you must apply for an individual permit.

To start a permit application, use the DNR Water ePermitting System. A WAMS ID is required.

To determine if a local permit or a federal permit is required for your project, contact your city or county zoning authority [exit DNR] and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – St. Paul District Office [exit DNR].

State law requires a landowner with a project site that is 1 acre or larger in size to obtain a construction site stormwater permit. To submit a notice of intent, visit the DNR Stormwater Runoff Permitting page.

Applicable state statutes and code include and ss. 30.18 [exit DNR] and 31.02 [exit DNR], Wis. Stats. 

Permitting for Lake Levels on a Flowage

  • A DNR permit is required for establishing or changing levels on a lake with a dam or other water control structure 
  • In the DNR Water ePermitting System, choose the "Waterway and wetland" tab and then find activity "Lake levels."

Permitting for Lake Levels on a Lake with No Dam

  • Diverting water from a lake that does not have an outlet (e.g., seepage lake) to change water levels may not require a permit. Although permits may be needed if the diversion involves discharging into a waterway or reaches a certain volume threshold.
  • Diversions from seepage lakes that average greater than 100,000 gallons per day in any 30-day period you must register and report the diversion with DNR Water Use.
  • Diverting water from a lake with an outlet to change water levels requires a permit if you are pumping water either from the lake itself or from the outlet stream.
  • In the DNR Water ePermitting System, choose the "Waterway and wetland" tab and then find activity "Lake levels."