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Map review

The first step in locating wetlands is reviewing maps.

Video Guide - Step 1

In the "Waking up to Wetlands" video guide, the "Step 1: Reviewing Maps" module shows what maps to look at, where to find them and how to use them.


Using the wetland inventory and wetland indicators maps can help determine if wetlands are likely present on a given property. Remember, maps are just guides and on-site investigation is required to verify wetlands.

Wisconsin Wetland Inventory

The Wisconsin Wetland Inventory shows wetlands that have been officially identified and recorded. Existing wetlands are outlined in yellow in online maps.

Wetland indicators map

This interactive map theme available through the DNR Surface Water Data Viewer shows wetlands and potential wetlands. The map shows wetlands that have been officially mapped through the Wisconsin Wetland Inventory process and areas that may be wetlands based on their soil types.

  • On Surface Water Data Viewer, click on "show layers" in the menu in the upper left
  • In the layers menu at your left, scroll down and click on "wetland indicators and soils"
  • Areas with wetland indicators will appear in purple outline on the map
  • Click on any wetland indicator on the map to show more information

Call a professional

If the map indicates a wetland or potential wetland, consult a wetland professional to verify it is a wetland and establish its boundaries.

If you're considering buying land, you may want to complete a wetland addendum with your offer to purchase. The addendum gives you more time to hire a professional to verify there is a wetland and allows you to renegotiate or rescind your offer.

Go to Step 2: Walk to search for wetland clues

Remember, maps are just guides. They may not show every feature or wetland on the ground. You must walk the land to see if the map accurately matches up with what you find on the ground and have a professional verify if wetlands are present. For a checklist describing physical clues to look for, see: Walk to search for wetland clues.

Contact information
For more about the Wisconsin Wetland Inventory, please contact:
Calvin Lawrence
GIS Specialist for the Wetlands Inventory