Organizations & Networks in Coastal Resilience

Learning, sharing, and collaborating to build resilience together

Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan coastal communities face erosion and flooding hazards due to lake level fluctuations, coastal storms, waves, storm surges and extreme precipitation. Resilient communities plan, prepare for and adapt to these conditions so they can “bounce back” when hazardous events occur.

Many organizations, agencies, and networks in Wisconsin support coastal communities as they build resilience. These networks use a Community of Practice approach to bring together local governments with scientists, outreach specialists, state agencies and federal partners to discuss coastal hazards, share ideas and experiences, demonstrate decision-support tools, and develop approaches to address coastal hazard issues.

We are continually building this resource page. Check back for detailed profiles of the organizations, agencies, and networks tackling coastal resilience.

Organizations & Agencies

Wisconsin Coastal Management Program

The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program (WCMP) is aimed at preserving and improving access to the natural and historic resources of Wisconsin’s Great Lakes coasts. They aim to orchestrate the management of ecological, economic, and aesthetic assets of the Great Lakes coastal areas. Some of the objectives that WCMP tries to accomplish involve improving the implementation and coordination of regulations and policies affecting the coast, planning initiatives, assistance in coastal management, increasing public awareness, and involvement. Their grant program provides grant funding to local governments, nonprofit organizations, schools and universities, and state agencies for coastal resiliency projects. Projects that can be funded through this grant include categories such as wetland protection, pollution control, resource and community planning, education, and preservation projects.

Wisconsin Emergency Management

Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) is a division of the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs. WEM builds capabilities and coordinates resources to support a safe and resilient Wisconsin. The bulk of WEM is organized into two Bureaus: 1) Response and Recovery; 2) Planning and Preparedness. These two sectors are responsible for carrying out the process of emergency management as well as the support for it. WEM helps communities become more resilient and able to bounce back from all manner of adverse events, including coastal hazards. They also have opportunities for communities to bounce back from hazards by offering funding for hazard mitigation assistance programs and recovery programs.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is a state agency in charge of managing and conserving the State’s natural resources. They oversee development and administration of regulations related to wildlife, fish, forests, endangered resources, air, water, waste, and more. Within this large profile of responsibilities, the DNR has several programs that address Great Lakes coastal hazard issues like erosion and flooding for Wisconsin’s communities and residents including the Office of Great Waters, Great Lakes erosion control and permitting, coastal funding, floodplain management, and state wetland mapping programs.


East River Resilience Collaborative (EERC)

EERC is a community-driven approach to flood resilience planning in the East River Watershed, which is primarily in Brown County. The EERC brings local governments together with the goal of collectively achieving a common version of a more resilient, flood-prepared East River Watershed.

  • Community of Practice – Meetings and field trips help share flooding perspectives across the watershed and bring flooding expertise to stakeholders.
  • Flood Resilience Assessment – A framework to better understand the impacts of flood hazards in a community and identify opportunities to increase flood resilience.
  • Flood Scenario Modeling – New flood modeling analysis of extreme rainfall and Lake Michigan water level scenarios to guide the development of strategies to address flooding.

Northeastern Wisconsin Coastal Resilience Study

The Northeastern Wisconsin Coastal Resilience Study works with coastal communities in Sheboygan, Manitowoc, and Kewaunee Counties to examine their coastal hazards issues and identify opportunities to build resilience strategies into local planning efforts.

  • Achieving a Resilient Coast – A report summarizing Northeastern Wisconsin coastal hazard issues and needs, with a framework to help plan for resilience.
  • Resiliency Portal – Information hub with educational resources, maps, data, funding opportunities, and a virtual field trip of the region’s coastal hazard issues.