Erosion Control & Stormwater Management


What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is untreated runoff from rainfall and snowmelt. It flows across impervious surfaces, through fields and over construction sites, crossing municipal boundaries and carrying contaminants to our lakes and streams. These contaminants can include sediment, excess nutrients, heavy metals, oil, pesticides and bacteria. Because runoff is often warmer than our lakes and streams, it can raise their temperatures and degrade fish habitat.  There are a number of practices (PDF) that landowners can use to control runoff and erosion from their properties.


Stormwater Management Ordinance

The Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission, after more than two years of careful and collaborative work, developed a stormwater management ordinance to control damaging stormwater runoff. During that time, the Commission turned for help, input, advice and expertise to a number of stakeholders throughout the county, including technical experts, local officials, builders and citizens.

The ordinance (Chapter 14 (PDF) of the Dane County Code of Ordinances) initially went into effect in 2002, and applies countywide in towns, villages and cities. The shoreland erosion control requirements of Chapter 11 (PDF) are consistent with Chapter 14.

The Water Resource Engineering Division administers the stormwater and erosion control requirements in Chapter 14, as well as county erosion control and stormwater management requirements for the shoreland zone of navigable waters within unincorporated areas. See section 11.05 of the Dane County Code of Ordinances (PDF) for these erosion and stormwater requirements.  All other aspects of Chapter 11 are administered by Dane County Zoning.

The Dane County Erosion Control and Stormwater Management Manual (PDF) can help landowners, developers and consultants meet the requirements of Dane County’s Erosion Control and Stormwater Management Ordinance and aid in the erosion control and stormwater management permit process.

Since 2005, Dane County has made cost-sharing funds available to municipalities via the Urban Water Quality Grant Program (Water Resource Engineering). The goals of this program are to improve the quality of urban stormwater runoff entering Dane County lakes, rivers and streams; increase public awareness of urban water quality issues; and provide public education about urban stormwater quality improvement practices.

Find out where to apply for a permit within cities and villages in Dane County on the Water Resource Engineering website.


Madison Area Municipal Storm Water Partnership

Rather than submit individual applications to comply with the storm water discharge permit regulations contained in Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 216, 21 municipalities in central Dane County formed the Madison Area Municipal Storm Water Partnership and submitted one permit application jointly. Find out more about the Madison Area Municipal Storm Water Partnership on the Ripple Effects website.


Dane County's Group Municipal Storm Water Discharge Permit Annual Reports