In 1989, Governor Tommy Thompson signed Wisconsin Act 31 which created the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. This historic action represented the culmination of years of planning and followed hundreds of hours of public meetings. The Riverway legislation was born from a compromise crafted by legislators from both political parties. The Riverway extends 92.3 miles from below the dam at Prairie du Sac to the confluence with the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien and encompasses 95,893 acres. The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for administering a land acquisition program within the project boundaries.
The Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board, was created to administer the new law. The Board is composed of nine members of which six must be local residents or local elected officials from the affected counties (Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Grant, Iowa, Richland and Sauk). The agency administers a system of "performance standards" which are designed to protect the aesthetic integrity of the Riverway. Permits are required for structures, timber harvesting, utility facilities and other activities. A number of activities are now prohibited within the Riverway.
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board
Printed Wednesday, February 28, 2024