Wisconsin Lakes

We Speak for Lakes

WI Lakes


AB6565/SB680, a bill introduced by Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R-Tomahawk) and Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) would set maximum statewide standards on the regulation of wakesurfing and wakeboarding, providing a prohibition of the watersports within 200′ of the shore and 100′ of other anchored boats, landings, or marked swimming areas. Local governments would be allowed to pass ordinances the lessen or remove these prohibitions, but could not enact stronger standards.


The bill’s standards fall far short of what is needed to reduce the impacts of these watersports to the aquatic environment, private property, and public safety and enjoyment of our surface waters. Sound science sets a distance from shore of at least 500-700 feet and depths of upwards of 30 feet for safe conduct of wakesports. Wisconsin needs meaningful minimum standards with authority retained by local governments to pass ordinances stronger than those minimums.

The bill also fails to address an equally pressing need. The wakeboats most often used in these sports typically contain ballast tanks engineered in a way that they cannot be fully drained of lake water. This leads these boats to be an increased risk of transport of aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels or spiny water flea from one waterbody to the next, violating the spirit, if not the letter of Wisconsin law in regards to spreading non-natives.

Help us celebrate Wisconsin Water Week 2024, April 8-12! Follow our companion website at wisconsinwaterweek.org!


2024 Wisconsin Lakes & Rivers Convention
April 10-12, 2024 – Stevens Point Holiday Inn and Convention Center

We’re ready to celebrate in 2024 with this theme:
“Chapter 33 Golden Jubilee: 50 Years of Partnering for Our Waters” 

2024 marks the 50th anniversary of Wisconsin’s unique lake law, Chapter 33: Public Inland Waters. The legislature and governor worked together in the early 1970s to establish a collaborative research and management framework that lives on today as the Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers Partnership. The law also created the pathway for landowners around lakes to form Public Inland Lake Protection and Rehabilitation Districts. Today, over 250 lake districts exist in the state, and they all operate under the same policies and rules laid out in Chapter 33. As we gather in Stevens Point for our annual Convention, we’ll look back at the progress made over 50 years of partnering to protect and restore waters, and we will collectively look ahead to the next 50 years to ensure that the next generations of water lovers will continue our legacy of proactive lake, river, and watershed management.

See our convention page for more information

Important Convention Deadlines:

ENDING SOON! 12/01/2023 – Nomination deadlines for Lakes Stewardship Awards and Stream Monitoring Awards

03/01/2024 – Lightning Talk submissions due

03/24/2024 – Photo Contest submissions due

04/01/2024 – Poster submissions due

Sponsorship information now available

Exhibitor and general registration will open in January

Your Statewide Lake Association

We Speak for Lakes!

Wisconsin Lakes, formerly known as the Wisconsin Association of Lakes, is the only statewide non-profit organization working exclusively to protect and enhance the quality of Wisconsin’s 15,000 lakes. For more than 20 years, Wisconsin Lakes has worked toward statewide solutions for the challenges faced by our abundant natural water resources while supporting strong local protection efforts. We represent citizens and lake groups like you who care about Wisconsin’s lakes as a shared resource, and who appreciate the value lakes bring to our quality of life, tourist economy, and property tax base. Wisconsin Lakes seeks to protect the natural wonder of our lakes, and preserve our collective right to boat, fish, hunt, ice skate, swim and enjoy the scenic beauty of our shared public waters.


Make a contribution to protect Wisconsin’s legacy of lakes.

Become a Member or Renew Membership

Add your voice to the chorus “speaking for lakes.”