Program Initatives

Coastal Coordination

The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program helps to coordinate the many state and local government programs impacting coasts through financial assistance, staff activities, and various other support tools. WCMP works closely with partners on many additional initiatives.



Wisconsin Clean Marina Program

The purpose of the Wisconsin Clean Marina Program is to protect coastal resources by providing best management practices, compliance and technical information, and educational material to marina and boatyard operators and boaters.

The goal of the voluntary program is to encourage informed decision making that leads to a reduction in marina, boatyard and boating-related pollution.

The Wisconsin Marina Association coordinates and maintains the program with assistance from a collaborative partnership that includes University of Wisconsin (UW) Sea Grant Institute, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, UW-Extension Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Coast Guard.

A Best Management Practices Guidebook (PDF) is available for marinas and boatyards interested in becoming a certified Clean Marina. Chapters in the Guidebook address siting considerations, marina design and maintenance, stormwater management, vessel maintenance, petroleum control, sewage handling, waste management, marina management, and laws and regulations. Educational clean boater tip sheets are also available.

Natural Hazards

Natural Hazards were the backbone of the Wisconsin Coastal Managemnet Program (WCMP) when it was created due in part to high lake levels in early 1970s. Natural hazards continue to be a priority for the WCMP.

Since 1994, WCMP has been updating methodologies and data to understand, visualize and develop mitigation measures to deal with shore erosion in the Great Lakes.

Current work focuses on developing and implementing shoreline and bluff erosion policies for Wisconsins coasts. The WCMP seeks to accomplish this through expanding mapping and technical tools, providing education and outreach, and cooperating with coastal communities and other agencies.

WCMP coordinates with partners (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Emergency Management, UW-Madison) through the Coastal Natural Hazards Work Group.

WCMP coordinates with other federal partners with interest in shore erosion such as Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and others. Additional information on coastal natural hazards can be found through WCMP’s partners, including:

Great Lakes Beaches

  • Partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state and local governments to implement the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (Beach) Act of 2000.

  • Support for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) in building operational nowcast models for Lake Michigan beaches including education, training and technical assistance to local beach managers.

  • Support for the WDNR in modifying and linking the Long-Term Hydrologic Impact Assessment (L-THIA) and Virtual Beach (VB) modeling tools into a single, user-friendly decision-support tool.

  • Support for the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department with beach contamination source identification research at municipal beaches and the development and implementation of nonpoint pollution abatement and beach management plans.

  • Support to the City of Racine Health Department in water quality research using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (QPCR), a rapid testing methodology used to shorten the time period between when a water sample is taken and when water quality results are generated and publicly announced. (More on QPCR.)

  • Support for the Great Lakes WATER Institute investigations of Cladophora nuisance algae at Lake Michigan beaches and the development of Lake Michigan nearshore Cladophora and phosphorus models.

  • Assistance to municipalities in support of high beach health standards as exemplified by Blue Wave certifications.

  • Sponsorship of Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup in Wisconsin through support of Alliance for the Great Lakes September Adopt-a-Beach TM.  Beach cleanup activities occur throughout the year.