Dane County Office of Lakes & Watersheds
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Lake Property Numbering System

The Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission and the Dane County Sheriff’s Department, working with the Dane County Land Information Office and Dane County Public Safety Communications, have created a lake property numbering system to provide a more rapid response to emergencies and enhance the personal safety of everyone who uses the lakes.

Each lakeshore property on Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa has been assigned a unique "lake address." The Mendota addresses begin with the letter "A"; Monona with "B"; Waubesa "C"; and Kegonsa "D". These numbers have been cross-referenced in the 911-computer system with the property street address.

The program began in the spring of 2003, when the Lakes and Watershed Commission began sending periodic letters to lake property owners providing them with their "lake address" and requesting that they voluntarily post this address on a sign at the end of their piers where it will be visible from the water. In 2008, properties on Lake Mendota within the Village of Maple Bluff were added to this program upon completion of the village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) parcel mapping. The metal signs are similar to those used in the Dane County rural numbering system; however, the lake signs are blue in color. The cost of these signs and letters/numbers is $10.

This is an entirely voluntary program. As of fall 2009, just over 30% of the properties in the Yahara River chain of lakes have posted lake property numbering signs. The highest rate of participation is on Lake Kegonsa, where almost 40% of the properties have been posted.

With this system in place, a boater in distress can report his or her location by cell phone using the nearest lake property "address" as a reference point. Similarly, a landowner who observes an emergency on the water can dial 911 and the dispatcher will be able to translate the street address to a water location. For an emergency in a lakefront home, the nearest response may be the Sheriff's recreation patrol.

An added benefit to lakeshore residents is that the lake address can assist in locating by water the home of friends. Instead of providing directions such as "the large white house located between the big willow tree and the brown boat house,” lakeshore residents are able to give friends their pier address. With that number, friends are immediately able to navigate to the correct area of the lake and find the exact pier.

Any questions about this program should be directed to Sue Jones, Lakes and Watershed Commission staff at 224-3764.

Example of lake property numbering

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