Ice Ridges

Lakeshore Property Owners With Newly Acquired Ice Ridges


Lack of snow cover provides area lakes with an ever-expanding mass of ice. The sounds of groaning and cracking ice are heard frequently throughout the winter. While not a major problem for most of us; those of you who own property along some of the larger lakes in Washburn, Sawyer, and Burnett Counties may have some new topography in your front yards - an ice ridge. Also called ice heaves or ice pushes, these mounds of soil are piled up as the ice continues expanding and growing. In the Spring when the ice melts the mounds of soil are left behind, compliments of Mother Nature.

What To Do


On most undeveloped lots the problem frequently goes unnoticed as it has for hundreds of years. If the lot is developed and you need relief from this pile of earth, you will be pleased to know that no Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permits are needed to remedy the problem, provided you follow a few simple rules:
  1. No soil may be pushed into the water. The ridge may be leveled on site provided you aren't pushing soil into water or a wetland area such as a swamp or marsh.
  2. No vehicle (farm tractor, skid loader, etc.) may be operated in the water or below the ordinary high water mark at any time.
  3. The ice ridge is a recent arrival on the site. The top of the ridge can be removed or graded without permits provided it is done the same year it formed, and you will not be removing any trees or underbrush.

Contact Information


If you have a situation on your property that requires additional work such as grading or tree removal, a permit may be required from either DNR or the County Zoning Administrator. Please contact Dave Kafura, DNR Water Management Specialist for Sawyer County, 715-634-9658, ext. 3523 if you have any questions.