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A buffer strip of dense, native vegetation is the best option for waterfront landscaping. Native plantings promote infiltration and prevent pollutants from running into the stream. They also protect the shoreline during high water & storm events and create habitat for birds and other native species. The easiest way to get started is simply to stop mowing near the stream. (Turf grasses will grow 12-24 inches tall.)

When you’re ready, beds of native plants can be created for beautiful, natural yard views. These can be shaped and integrated with mowed areas of turf grass for activity space in the yard. They require almost no care once established, so yard work is minimized. University of Wisconsin Extension has created a brochure that provides detail on how to get this done. A second brochure, Protecting Your Waterfront Investment" offers practical suggestions for maintaining and managing waterfront property.

In La Crosse County, a shoreland zoning ordinance protects public and private shorelines. It is necessary to obtain a permit before carrying out any of the following activities:
  • Aquatic weed control
  • Construction of any kind, including docks
  • Boat lift or shelter installation
  • Grading, filling or dredging
La Crosse County municipalities with navigable water frontage regulate shoreland zoning within their boundaries. Outside of municipalities, permits are obtained from the County. If you plan to undertake any of the activites listed above, start the process by calling your City (if you're in city limits) or the County:
  • La Crosse County
    Zoning, Planning & Land Info: 608.785.9722

  • City of La Crosse
    City Clerk: 608.789.7510

  • City of Onalaska
    Planning & Zoning: 608.781.9590

  • Village of Holmen
    Village Clerk: 608.526-4336

  • Village of West Salem
    Village Administrator: 608.786-1858

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