Conservation Almanac

Almanac

:

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Profile of State Programs and Policy Framework

Highlighted Local Programs

Wisconsin

Highlighted State Programs

Wisconsin

State Policy Framework

Wisconsin

Disclaimer

To avoid double counting acres where multiple programs contributed to the acquisition of a single parcel, the acreage is only aggregated under the program that provided the majority of funding. For example, if the table below displays a dollar amount greater than $0 for a given year but shows 0 acres, the program was not the primary contributor for any parcels in that year. As a result, a prolific program may show very low acreage figures on this page. To see customized program information please visit the map viewer tab or contact the Conservation Almanac Team.

Highlighted Local Programs

Local Conservation Programs Include:

    Dane County, WI




Visit
LandVote.org for detailed information on this program.

YearAcresDollars
2011 189.0 $874,555
2010 231.5 $5,340,983
2009 84.8 $587,783
2008 302.7 $4,890,361
2007 752.6 $11,973,798
2006 484.1 $3,232,390
2005 883.0 $4,287,095
2004 118.8 $1,783,301
2003 437.8 $2,581,149
2002 199.6 $1,035,995
2001 298.9 $2,093,303
2000 270.9 $3,447,505
1999 313.2 $1,125,350
1998 35.9 $1,026,091
Totals 4,602.8 $44,279,664

Highlighted State Programs

Wisconsin Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program

Wisconsin's Stewardship Program uses general obligation bonds to fund land conservation. When the program was first established in 1989, it was funded at $23.1 million per year. In 1993, the Stewardship Program was renamed the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship Program. In 2000, it was re-authorized to be funded at $46 million per year, and in 2002, funding was increased to $60 million per year.

In 2007, Governor Doyle re-authorized the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund through 2020. Beginning July 1st, 2010 program funding was to increase from $60 million to $86 million per year in general bonding authority to support and ensure continued conservation by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), nonprofit conservation organizations, and local governments. Starting in 2010, DNR was required to use $12 million a year in matching grants to non-profit organizations, and local governments became eligible to receive up to $11.5 million annually. In 2011, the state budget reduced funding back to $60 million. About 1.5 million acres are currently in stewardship. Until May 2015, the program was limited to funding property development, including repair and maintenance of roads and boat access sites, and the renovation of a fish hatchery, as the governor had placed a moratorium on land acquisition. After much lobbying from local conservation organizations, the Joint Committee on Finance voted to restore funding for land acquisition in May 2015. The 2015-2017 funding for the Stewardship program was set at $33.5 million per year, including $9 million for Department of Natural Resources land acquisition, $7 million for Nonprofit Conservation Organizations (land trusts), and $6 million for Local Governments.

Fifty percent of the funds available in the Local Assistance Program are set aside for projects that improve community recreation areas and acquire land for public outdoor recreation. Twenty percent of the funds available in the Local Assistance Program are set aside for the Urban Rivers Program. Grants to local governments and nonprofit conservation organizations are generally grouped into two categories: grants to purchase land or conservation easements or grants to purchase land or fund recreational development on public lands.

Grants to purchase land or conservation easements

The Natural Areas Program makes grants to nonprofit conservation organizations for the acquisition of land or conservation easements to be included in the State Natural Area Program. Each fiscal year, $4.8 million is available for Natural Areas grants. Grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. The other portion must come from non-state sources.
The Habitat Areas Program makes grants to nonprofit conservation organizations for the acquisition of land or conservation easements that protect wildlife-based recreation and wildlife habitat. Each fiscal year, $4.8 million is available for Habitat Areas grants. Grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. The other portion must come from non-state sources.

The Streambank Protection Program makes grants to nonprofit conservation organizations for the acquisition of land or conservation easements that protect water quality and fish habitat. Each fiscal year, $1.2 million is available for Streambank Protection grants. Grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. The other portion must come from non-state sources.
The State Trails Program makes grants to nonprofit conservation organizations for the acquisition of land or conservation easements that expand designated state trails. Each fiscal year, $1.2 million is available for State Trails grants. Grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. The other portion must come from non-state sources.

The Acquisition and Development of Local Parks Program makes grants to nonprofit conservation organizations, towns, villages, cities, counties, and tribal governments for land acquisition projects and development projects that provide nature-based outdoor recreation. Nonprofit conservation organizations may only apply for funds for land acquisition. Each fiscal year, $4.0 million is available for Local Park grants. Grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. The other portion must come from non-state sources. Funds are allocated on a regional basis with 70 percent distributed on the basis of each county’s proportionate share of the state population, and 30 percent distributed equally to each county.

The County Forest Land Acquisition Program to counties who have lands in the County Forest Program. Funding allocated each year to this grant program varies, but grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs, with counties matching at least 50 percent of project costs with non-state funds.

Grants to purchase land or fund recreational development on public lands

The Urban Green Space Program makes grants to nonprofit conservation organizations, towns, villages, cities, counties, tribal governments, lake sanitary districts, and public inland lake protection and rehabilitation districts to provide open natural space within or in proximity to urban areas, protect scenic or ecological urban areas from development, and provide land for urban agriculture. Each fiscal year, $1.2 million is available for Urban Green Space grants. Grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. The other portion must come from non-state sources.

The Urban Rivers Program makes grants to nonprofit conservation organizations, towns, villages, cities, counties, and tribal governments to restore or preserve the character of urban riverways through the acquisition or development of land adjacent to rivers. Each fiscal year, $1.6 million is available for Urban Rivers grants. Grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. The other portion must come from non-state sources. Funds are allocated statewide so applicants complete against other applicants statewide. No sponsor can receive more than 20 percent of the funds allocated in any fiscal year.

The Acquisition of Development Rights Program makes grants to nonprofit conservation organizations, towns, villages, cities, counties, and tribal governments to fund the acquisition of conservation easements to protect natural, agricultural or forest lands that enhance and/or provide nature-based outdoor recreation. Each fiscal year, $800,000 is available for the acquisition of development rights. Grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. The other portion must come from non-state sources.

The Friends Groups Program makes grants to friends groups and nonprofit conservation organizations to fund development projects and habitat restoration on state property. Each fiscal year, $250,000 is available for friends groups. Grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs.


YearAcresDollars
2011 1,628.4 $2,394,164
2010 15,910.8 $38,103,886
2009 7,347.6 $23,291,676
2008 9,808.6 $36,943,390
2007 5,913.4 $16,568,218
2006 58,832.9 $58,255,273
2005 31,921.6 $42,627,220
2004 19,695.1 $27,863,746
2003 10,781.9 $18,450,419
2002 4,560.7 $9,041,183
2001 20,571.1 $31,001,778
2000 9,430.5 $15,164,169
1999 10,995.4 $7,408,719
1998 5,736.1 $8,316,833
Total213,134.0 $335,430,679

Wisconsin Working Lands Initiative

The Wisconsin Working Lands Initiative (WLI) was signed into law in 2009 as part of the 2009 - 2011 state budget. The program has three main components: updates to the state's current Farmland Preservation planning and zoning policy; the ability for farmers and local governments to establish voluntary Agricultural Enterprise Areas (AEA); and a state program to aid farmland conservation through the Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements (PACE).

The PACE program is the land acquisition arm of the WLI. Funding for PACE funding comes through the state's bond-funded Stewardship Fund, and provides up to 50% of the cost of the easement. A total of $5.2 million was allocated for the program. Of this, approximately $4.82 million was spent to acquire 18 conservation easements and the balance returned to the WI DNR. At present, no further funding is available for further PACE acquisitions.

YearAcresDollars
2011 2,035.2 $2,479,068
Total2,035.2 $2,479,068

State Policy Framework

Substantial State Investment

Enable Local Financing

State Incentive for Local Land Conservation

Public-Private Partnerships

Conservation Tax Credits

Federal Partnerships

Some data was not provided on a yearly basis, but rather as an aggregate figure. In this case we have distributed total acres acquired and/or dollars spent evenly by year.