Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Land & Water Resources Department

Stream Restoration & Protection

Dane County is home to more than 435 miles of streams and rivers which play a vital role in the quality of life for residents and visitors and are important habitat for fish and aquatic organisms. Whether it’s fishing, paddling, or just talking a stroll along the banks, the opportunity to interact with water is cherished by many. Our department uses a number of tools and resources to restore and protect streams and rivers so that they can be enjoyed now and for generations to come.

Stream restoration is broadly defined by the county as any work conducted to improve the environmental health of a river or stream, in support of water quality, biodiversity, recreation, flood management, and/or landscape development.

Department Initiatives

Restoration on County-owned Lands
We follow Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan recommendations which include the following priorities:

  • Restore stream corridors based on the designated biological use, current level of protection or enhancement, and the likelihood of establishing conservation within the stream corridor
  • Restore streams with protection or resource plans in place in conjunction with local municipality or qualified non-profit organizations
  • Continue to increase public fishing access through acquisition of permanent easements on prioritized streams

Streambank Easements
Dane County works with private landowners to secure easements for public access through an easement purchase or donation. The easements are open to public fishing, hiking, and wildlife observation; the lands are not owned by the county and some can only be accessed via the stream. The easements typically extend 33 feet from the streambank and are primarily located within the unglaciated Driftless Area of Dane County. To learn more, visit our Streambank Easements webpage.

Current Projects
View our Current Projects webpage to find information on current projects happening within the Dane County Park System. To find projects on stream or river restoration, click the arrow under Search, then select "Ecological Restoration" from the dropdown, then click the blue Search button to see the results.

Restoration on Privately-owned Lands
Our department works with private landowners on projects by providing both technical as well as cost-share assistance. To learn more please visit our Conservation Funding Opportunities webpage.