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Wisconsin Pier Regulations

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources understands that piers are a popular focus for boating and waterfront recreation. What pier owners need to know
is that they can continue to place their existing piers on the water, the same as they’ve been doing for years.

  • All existing piers and wharves* are exempt from needing state approval and can be placed in lakes and rivers the same as they always have under a new law signed April 2, 2012

    *Piers or wharves first placed in the water before April 2012

  • Most Existing Piers & Wharves are Grandfathered

    The majority of existing piers already meet size limits or will not need a permit or state review.

    Newly Constructed Piers* that DO NOT meet the Pier Planner  (PDF), and the Piers Exemption Checklist  (PDF) will need to apply for a Individual Permit with state review. 

    *Piers or wharves first placed in the water AFTER April 2012

    The WDNR also has an interactive decision tool to help you determine if you will need to get a permit or simply do nothing:    Decision Tool: Do I Need A Permit?


    About Designated Waters

    A Designated Water is a waterbody that has special designations that affect permit requirements. Designated Waters include the following:

    Please note that Areas of Special Natural Resource Interest (ASNRI) waters and Public Rights Features (PRF) waters are also considered Priority Navigable Waters (PNW).

    To find out if your lake or stream is designated as an "Area of Special Natural Resource Interest" (ASNRI) and identify what you need to do regarding pier registration, visit this helpful web site provided by the WDNR:

    Bobbie Kocim,
    Jan 4, 2013, 10:34 PM
    Bobbie Kocim,
    Jan 4, 2013, 10:31 PM