NR 1.01 History History: Cr. Register, March, 1976, No. 243, eff. 4-1-76; r. and recr. Register, February, 1980, No. 290, eff. 3-1-80; r. and recr. (9), Register, March, 1994, No. 459, eff. 4-1-94; correction in (3) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, September, 1999, No. 525.
NR 1.015 NR 1.015 Management of wildlife, preamble.
NR 1.015(1)(1)The conservation act, s. 23.09 (1), Stats., requires the department of natural resources to provide an adequate and flexible system for the protection, development and use of forests, fish and game, lakes, streams, plant life, flowers and other outdoor resources in this state. Specific authorities and missions of the department for wildlife protection and use besides the general authority are:
NR 1.015(1)(a) (a) Protect and manage nongame species, particularly endangered, threatened and uncommon species;
NR 1.015(1)(b) (b) Acquire and lease lands;
NR 1.015(1)(c) (c) Conduct research and surveys;
NR 1.015(1)(d) (d) Establish long-range resource management plans and priorities;
NR 1.015(1)(e) (e) Manage wildlife habitat on public land;
NR 1.015(1)(f) (f) Provide regulations to govern the harvest of game species and furbearing mammals;
NR 1.015(1)(g) (g) Establish resource management information and education programs; and
NR 1.015(1)(h) (h) Propagate wildlife.
NR 1.015(2) (2)The primary goal of wildlife management is to provide healthy life systems necessary to sustain Wisconsin's wildlife populations for their biological, recreational, cultural and economic values. Wildlife management is the application of knowledge in the protection, enhancement and regulation of wildlife resources for their contribution toward maintaining the integrity of the environment and for the human benefits they provide.
NR 1.015(2)(a) (a) The department's wildlife program ranges from endangered and threatened species management to the production of huntable game. At its best, wildlife management is a process that requires a considerable degree of harmony between people and land to provide the quality landscapes and diverse habitats necessary to produce and support all types of wildlife.
NR 1.015(2)(b) (b) Public concern for the welfare of wildlife resources can help to instill a land ethic in what has become a predominantly urban population. Public support for the maintenance of native or near-natural plant communities, as necessary wildlife habitat, indirectly assures continued opportunities for a whole range of human interactions with nature that goes well beyond hunting or wildlife-oriented recreation.
NR 1.015(2)(c) (c) The department's wildlife management program is financed in large part by user contributions, particularly license fees and excise taxes on selected equipment purchased by hunters; however, management programs directed at hunted game species provide very significant indirect benefits for a wide range of other wildlife. New sources of funds are needed to supplement the existing financial base and provide more adequate programs for nongame fish and wildlife, especially threatened and endangered species.
NR 1.015(2)(d) (d) Larger quantities of wildlife habitat are required to meet management objectives for hunting and trapping than for most other uses. The future of hunting, however, depends upon more than wildlife habitat. It depends upon the quality, the behavior and sense of responsibility of today's hunter, the willingness of private landowners to provide access, and the tacit approval of people who don't hunt. Since many hunters do not own the land on which they hunt and because wildlife belongs to all citizens, mutually acceptable relationships between hunters, landowners and the nonhunting public are required for hunting to continue as a socially acceptable form of outdoor recreation.
NR 1.015(3) (3)The natural resources board directs the department to implement its statutory wildlife responsibilities through the execution of the state wildlife policy as set forth herein. For the purposes of this policy, wildlife means all varieties of birds, mammals and terrestrial vertebrates other than man and domestic animals.
NR 1.015 History History: Cr. Register, July, 1977, No. 259, eff. 8-1-77.
NR 1.02 NR 1.02 Inland fisheries management. The following actions are essential to carry out an effective fish management program.
NR 1.02(1) (1) Land acquisition and development. The department shall provide for the protection of habitat essential to the maintenance of fish populations and for providing quality fishing opportunities through the acquisition of lands by gift or purchase. These lands shall be developed to provide access or be maintained as wilderness areas according to their potential.
NR 1.02(2) (2) Habitat protection and improvement. The department shall actively protect and maintain habitat capable of supporting aquatic species. Management efforts include deterring point and nonpoint pollution, vegetation control, rough fish control, water level manipulation and limiting shoreline development. Habitat shall be improved where fish populations can be increased and such improvements are economically and ecologically feasible. Improvements include in-stream devices, wing deflectors, bank riprap, stream bank fencing, fish shelters, dredging and streamside brushing. The application of these techniques shall be consistent with the wild and wilderness policies of the board.
NR 1.02(3) (3) Surveys and research. Programs shall be based on sound surveys and research. The department shall survey lakes and streams to obtain information needed to develop and implement management programs. Research shall be conducted to evaluate and resolve problems that have been defined.
NR 1.02(4) (4) Propagation, rearing and distribution.
NR 1.02(4)(a) (a) The department shall rear fish for stocking in waters lacking adequate natural reproduction and where reasonable returns are demonstrated by surveys. Stocking priorities will be based on use opportunities, hatchery production capabilities, cost and habitat potential. Stocking of exotic species shall be thoroughly evaluated.
NR 1.02(4)(b) (b) The department shall implement fish stocking strategies that recognize economic impact by species, provide opportunities to resident and non-resident anglers, and ensure that fish stocked are best suited to survive and thrive in the unique ecological conditions found throughout the state. These strategies shall be developed in coordination and consultation with private aquaculturists to ensure effective coordination and partnerships in protecting, sustaining and improving the genetic integrity of native, nonnative and self-sustained populations of fish of the species defined in s. NR 40.02 (30) within the state.
NR 1.02(4)(c) (c) Preserving the genetic integrity of fish stocks that are documented and proven to survive and thrive in Wisconsin waters is a central goal of fisheries management in Wisconsin. All fish stocking in Wisconsin inland waters shall be authorized under a permit issued by the department and shall be conducted to maintain the genetic boundaries of fish best adapted to those waters. Stocking shall be considered an important restoration tool used to reestablish naturally reproducing populations and may not be conducted to the potential detriment of natural reproduction.
NR 1.02(4)(d) (d) In order to effectively meet statewide stocking goals, the department shall, on an annual basis, make available fish or fish eggs to private entities so they have access to the same genetic fish strains the state maintains in its hatchery system. This will provide additional resources and opportunities to ensure that statewide stocking needs are met through coordination and partnerships between the department and private entities.
NR 1.02(5) (5) Population manipulation. The department may, where feasible, control fish populations that are stunted or harmful to more desirable fish species. Control measures include mechanical removal, predator stocking, commercial harvest and chemical treatment.
NR 1.02(6) (6) Rules. The department shall regulate the sport and commercial harvest of aquatic resources to achieve optimum sustained yields. Pollution and habitat destruction shall be stringently opposed through the strict enforcement of all laws and administrative rules. Special regulations shall be used to provide diverse angling opportunities and to distribute use in heavily fished areas.
NR 1.02(7) (7) Trout stream classification. The department shall identify and classify trout streams as follows to ensure adequate protection and proper management of this unique resource.
NR 1.02(7)(a) (a) For the purpose of this subsection, the following terms are defined as:
NR 1.02(7)(a)1. 1. “Classification survey" means a fishery survey employing techniques generally accepted by fisheries biologists that:
NR 1.02(7)(a)1.a. a. Investigates the variety of habitat types present in the water being surveyed;
NR 1.02(7)(a)1.b. b. Provides a representative sample of the fish species present, and their relative abundance;
NR 1.02(7)(a)1.c. c. Provides the length distribution and the age structure of the trout population.
NR 1.02(7)(a)2. 2. “Trout spawning habitat" means areas of gravel, small rubble or coarse sand which are infiltrated by groundwater or stream flow of sufficient quantity and quality to allow successful hatching of trout eggs and emergence of fry.
NR 1.02(7)(a)3. 3. “Trout habitat" means those areas having sufficient quantity and quality of water, cover and food to allow trout to complete one or more life history stages.
NR 1.02(7)(b) (b) Classification of trout streams, as determined by classification surveys, shall be based on the following criteria:
NR 1.02(7)(b)1. 1. `Class I'. A class I trout stream is a stream or portion thereof with a self-sustaining population of trout.
NR 1.02(7)(b)1.a. a. Such a stream contains trout spawning habitat and naturally produced fry, fingerling, and yearling in sufficient numbers to utilize the trout habitat, or
NR 1.02(7)(b)1.b. b. Contains trout with 2 or more age groups, above the age of one year, and natural reproduction and survival of wild fish in sufficient numbers to utilize the available trout habitat and to sustain the fishery without stocking.
NR 1.02(7)(b)2. 2. `Class II'. A class II trout stream is a stream or portion thereof that:
NR 1.02(7)(b)2.a. a. Contains a population of trout made up of one or more age groups, above the age one year, in sufficient numbers to indicate substantial survival from one year to the next, and
NR 1.02(7)(b)2.b. b. May or may not have natural reproduction of trout occurring; however, stocking is necessary to fully utilize the available trout habitat or to sustain the fishery.
NR 1.02(7)(b)3. 3. `Class III'. A class III trout stream is a stream or portion thereof that:
NR 1.02(7)(b)3.a. a. Requires the annual stocking of trout to provide a significant harvest, and
NR 1.02(7)(b)3.b. b. Does not provide habitat suitable for the survival of trout throughout the year, or for natural reproduction of trout.
NR 1.02(7)(c) (c) After classification or reclassification of a stream or portion thereof under this subsection, the department shall, as soon as is feasible or reasonable, give notice in a newspaper or such other media the department selects in the area affected which is likely to inform the local residents. The department shall provide the information to all clerks of the county, town, city or village in which the stream or portion thereof is located. The department shall notify the legislators whose districts include the affected stream and the chairpersons of the committees of the legislature with jurisdiction for natural resources issues.
NR 1.02(7)(d) (d) The notice shall contain the location and description of the stream and the basis for its classification. If a hearing is not requested in writing within 30 days after the mailing of the notice, the department may waive the hearing. Upon receipt of a request for a hearing, the department shall, not less than 10 days before such hearing, mail written notice thereof to each person notified under par. (c).
NR 1.02(7)(e) (e) At each hearing, the department shall take evidence offered by persons in support of or in opposition to the stream classification. If the department finds the stream is not properly classified, the stream shall be reclassified on the basis of the criteria specified under par. (b).
NR 1.02(7)(f) (f) The department shall maintain a list of classified trout streams for public information. This list shall not be assumed to be exhaustive but will include all trout streams surveyed and classified.
NR 1.02 History History: Cr. Register, February, 1980, No. 290, eff. 3-1-80; cr. (7), Register, July, 1981, No. 307, eff. 8-1-81; correction in (7) (b) 3. made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 1., Stats., Register, September, 1999, No. 525; CR 19-007: renum. (4) (intro.) to (4) (a), cr. (4) (b) to (d) Register January 2020 No. 769, eff. 2-1-20; correction in (4) (d) made under s. 35.17, Stats., Register January 2020 No. 769.
NR 1.03 NR 1.03 Mississippi river fisheries management. In carrying out an effective management program for fish and aquatic resources, the department shall:
NR 1.03(1) (1)Regulate sport and commercial harvest to provide an optimum sustained yield.
NR 1.03(2) (2)Promote cooperative agreements with Iowa, Minnesota and the U.S. fish and wildlife service in an effort to maintain:
NR 1.03(2)(a) (a) The unique habitats on the river;
NR 1.03(2)(b) (b) Programs to maintain and improve public access;
NR 1.03(2)(c) (c) Cooperative research and surveys of populations and harvests, especially those related to endangered or threatened species.
NR 1.03 History History: Cr. Register, February, 1980, No. 290, eff. 3-1-80.
NR 1.04 NR 1.04 Great Lakes fishery management. The board endorses a flexible management system for the protection, development and utilization of the waters and fish populations of the Great Lakes for the maximum public benefit.
NR 1.04(1) (1)Management of the Great Lakes is of intrastate, interstate, federal and international interest; therefore, cooperation with managing agencies shall be sought in developing management objectives and measures for fish stocks of common concern.
NR 1.04(2) (2)The Great Lakes fisheries are to be considered part of a diverse community. The department shall promote efforts to maintain and enhance the quality of this community and its environment.
NR 1.04(3) (3)Management of the fishery resources shall be based on a sound understanding of the dynamics of interacting fish stocks. The department shall conduct research and resource base, inventories, and collect harvest and utilization statistics on which to base sound management decisions.
NR 1.04(4) (4)The fishery resources of the Great Lakes, though renewable, experience dynamic changes and are limited. The resources will be managed in accordance with sound biological principles to attain optimum sustainable utilization. Management measures may include but are not limited to seasons, bag and quota limits, limitations on the type and amount of fishing gear, limitation as to participation in the fisheries and allocation of allowable harvest among various users and the establishment of restricted areas.
NR 1.04 History History: Cr. Register, February, 1980, No. 290, eff. 3-1-80.
NR 1.05 NR 1.05 Identification of areas of special natural resource interest.
NR 1.05(1)(1)To fulfill its affirmative duty to protect public trust waters, the department shall identify and designate by rule areas that possess significant scientific value under s. 30.01 (1am) (c), Stats., as areas of special natural resource interest under s. 30.01 (1am), Stats.
NR 1.05 Note Note: Section 30.01 (1am) (c), Stats., was repealed by 2015 Wis. Act 387.
NR 1.05(2) (2)Exemptions listed in ss. 30.12 (1g) (a) to (km), 30.123 (6) (d) and 30.20 (1g) (b) 1. and 2., Stats., do not apply in areas of special natural resource interest. General or individual permits are required.
NR 1.05 Note Note: Activities not exempted in areas of special natural resource interest under ss. 30.12 and 30.20, Stats., are: deposits less than 2 cubic yards; seasonal structures other than piers or wharves; fish habitat structures; bird nesting platforms; dry hydrants; pilings; riprap repair or replacement; biological shore erosion control structures; intake or outfall structures; dredging to place or maintain an exempt structure; dredging without auxiliary power. Activities not exempted in areas of special natural resource interest under ch. NR 320 are culvert replacements. However, new and existing piers may be exempt in areas of special natural resource interest under s. 30.13, Stats., as set forth in ch. NR 326.
NR 1.05(3) (3)All of the following waters are identified as areas of special natural resources interest under s. 30.01 (1am), Stats.:
NR 1.05(3)(a) (a) A state natural area designated or dedicated under ss. 23.27 to 23.29, Stats.
NR 1.05(3)(b) (b) A surface water identified as a trout stream by the department under s. NR 1.02 (7).
NR 1.05(3)(c) (c) A surface water identified as an outstanding or exceptional resource water under s. 281.15, Stats.
NR 1.05(4) (4)All of the following are determined to be areas of special natural resources interest under s. 30.01 (1am) (c), Stats., as areas with significant scientific value:
NR 1.05 Note Note: Section 30.01 (1am) (c), Stats., was repealed by 2015 Wis. Act 387.
NR 1.05(4)(a) (a) Waters or portions of waters that contain endangered or threatened species or aquatic elements as defined and identified in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory.
NR 1.05 Note Note: The definitions and scientific protocols for their identification are available on the department's website at keyword “NHI" or by contacting the Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation.
NR 1.05(4)(b) (b) Wild rice waters as identified in a written agreement between the department and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.
NR 1.05(4)(c) (c) Waters in areas identified in a special area management plan, abbreviated SAMP, approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or special wetland inventory study, abbreviated SWIS, identified under s. NR 103.04.
NR 1.05 Note Note: Special area management plans exist for the City of Superior, Douglas County and Chiwaukee Prairie, Kenosha County. A Special Wetland Inventory Study exists for the area bordering the bay of Green Bay.
NR 1.05(4)(d) (d) Waters in ecologically significant coastal wetlands along Lakes Michigan and Superior as identified in Publication # ER-002-00, Data Compilation and Assessment of Coastal Wetlands of Wisconsin's Great Lakes, March 2000.
NR 1.05(4)(e) (e) Federal or state, under ss. 30.26 and 30.27, Stats., designated wild or scenic rivers.
NR 1.05(5) (5)Areas of special natural resource interest shall be designated by the Natural Resources Board by rule.
NR 1.05(5)(a) (a) The Natural Resources Board may designate by rule categories of waters as areas of special natural resource interest. The status of waters added or removed from designated categories by independent listing processes shall be effective at the time that the name or location of the water is made available in the listing on the department's website as required in sub. (6) and no earlier than the effective date of any rule or required report to the legislature designating a water or portion of a water as an Area of Special Natural Resource Interest.
NR 1.05(5)(b) (b) The Natural Resources Board may designate by rule individual waters or portions of waters as areas of special natural resource interest.
NR 1.05(6) (6)The department shall maintain on its website and make available at its offices a consolidated list of areas of special natural resource interest along with all other waters designated under ss. NR 1.06 and 1.07 so that a person may readily determine the applicability of all exemptions or permit requirements under ch. 30, Stats. For categories of waters with ongoing independent listing processes, notice of waters or portions of waters added or removed shall be provided at the website as soon as the name or location of the water is made available. Notice shall be maintained for 3 months after the initial listing.
NR 1.05 Note Note: See the department's website at under the topic “Waterway and Wetland Permits."
NR 1.05(7) (7)The department shall report to the chairs of the standing natural resource committees of the Legislature and to the co-chairs of the joint committee for review of administrative rules in July of each year the aquatic-dependent species of special concern that may be added or removed from the state's list and those bodies of water that may be impacted by the addition or removal of those species. The department will notify the chairs of the standing natural resource committees of the Legislature and the co-chairs of the joint committee for review of administrative rules in January of those bodies of water that have been added to or removed from the consolidated list of areas of special natural resource interest as required in sub. (6) that result from identification of special concern species. This notification shall be included in an annual report on waterway and wetland permit program performance that is provided to all members of the legislature and the clerk of each county.
Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.