Introducing: Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission

Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission provides planning and technical services through various programs.


Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission

Who Are They?

The Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission (Bay-Lake RPC or Commission) provides planning and technical services through various federal, state, and local programs to their member local governments in northeast Wisconsin. They partner with state and federal governments to help these local governments create and execute successful community projects.

The Commission works with Brown, Door, Florence, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Oconto, and Sheboygan County and assists 185 units of government within those seven counties. The region has over 400 miles of coastal shoreline along Lake Michigan and Green Bay and contains 12 major watershed areas that drain into Green Bay and Lake Michigan.

How Does Bay-Lake RPC Support Coastal Resilience?

Bay-Lake RPC provides the following services that support coastal resilience planning:

  • Community Planning (Community)
  • Planning for the Environment (Environmental)
  • Assistance with Economic Development (Economic Development)
  • Mapping and Visualization 
  • Northeast Wisconsin Coastal Resiliency Portal 


The Community Assistance program provides professional planning services on a contractual basis to help strengthen local planning activities. If local planning agencies and technical staff exist at the community level, the Commission’s program will supplement and complement the local planning programs. For communities without a planning program, the Commission’s program will encourage the development of local planning activities. There are two ways the community assistance program can help with coastal resiliency planning:

Hazard Mitigation Planning

Provide communities and counties with hazard mitigation planning assistance by helping develop hazard mitigation plans and updates and submitting grants to FEMA. Coastal hazards can be included in the plan’s risk assessment and mitigation strategy sections similar to the Sheboygan County Wisconsin Hazard Mitigation Plan 2020-2025.

Comprehensive Planning

Provide local governments with assistance when updating comprehensive plans that guide that community’s physical, social, and economic development. Coastal resources, hazards, and resilience can be discussed within the nine required elements of a plan defined by the Comprehensive Planning Law (s. 66.1001).


Bay-Lake RPC provides assistance with environmental projects to preserve, protect, and enhance the Bay-Lake region’s natural environment and tourism opportunities. The Commission is currently supporting work for coastal planning, watershed planning, outdoor recreation, invasive species management, and sewer service area reviews. 

Coastal Planning

Assist with preparation of grants to the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program (WCMP), acquiring information, promoting coastal issues, and  providing technical assistance on coastal projects and issues. There are also planning document resources that provide guidance for coastal resources planning:

Watershed Planning

Assist with creating a watershed-wide planning framework involving the cooperative efforts of local governments within the watershed. Bay-Lake RPC will help address flooding and water quality issues and restoration and management planning. 

Outdoor Recreation Planning

Provide guidance, principles, and approaches for the planning and management of outdoor recreation resources and opportunities. The Commission helps with water trail planning, trail and park site designs, park and trail master planning, comprehensive outdoor recreation plans, and trail inventories. The WCMP can help fund these plans.

Invasive Species Management

Commission has local and regional projects to manage or mitigate invasive species, such as phragmites. 

Sewer Service Area/Water Quality Management Reviews

Required to review public and private sanitary sewer extensions to determine if it conforms with area-wide plans. The Commission is a ‘Designated 208 Water Quality Planning Agency.’

Economic Development

The Economic Development program assists member counties and communities by finding project funding and helping with grant writing and administration. Besides reaching out for assistance, the program has a Funding and Grant Opportunities Portal with information on state and federal funding opportunities. The portal has six broad categories (Community/Economic Development, Business, Environmental, Housing, and Transportation) and a “grant deadline calendar” tool that can prioritize grants nearing their deadline. The Environmental category will have grants specific to coastal resources. 

Mapping and Visualization

The Commission provides GIS data (e.g., Land Use Data), custom maps, and visualizations (e.g., inventories, online maps, interactive applications, Story Maps, brochures, and graphics). Some visualization examples include:

Northeast Wisconsin Coastal Resiliency Portal 

The Northeast Wisconsin Coastal Resiliency Portal was created to provide resources and tools to assist with coastal resiliency along the coastline of Lake Michigan for coastal communities, particularly those in Sheboygan, Manitowoc, and Kewaunee Counties. Types of resources and tools include data and maps and information on community resources and funding opportunities.

Connect with Bay-Lake RPC

Bay-Lake RPC is active in supporting coastal communities addressing planning needs to mitigate coastal hazards, build coastal resiliency, and improve outdoor recreation abilities. Visit Bay-Lake’s website to learn more about their services described above and projects the Commission has completed or is currently working on. 

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