Michael Cain
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Madison, Wisconsin

Mr. Michael Cain served as an attorney with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) for over 30 years. He authored or co-authored all of Wisconsin’s wetland protection laws and was instrumental in using the Clean Water Act’s §401 Water Quality Certifications to protect Wisconsin’s wetlands. Mr. Cain also played an important role in authoring the state’s nonfederal wetlands law to protect areas that have lost federal jurisdiction. Since the adoption of Wetland Water Quality Certifications in 1991, the rate of loss has slowed from 1,400 acres annually to only 250 acres per year. His leadership has helped build common ground among many stakeholders and overcome obstacles that have prevented stronger wetland protection in other states, all of which has been instrumental in helping to streamline wetland permitting in Wisconsin. After assisting with the hiring, mentoring, and training of his successor, Mr. Cain officially retired from WDNR last fall and is now pursuing teaching positions within the University of Wisconsin’s law schools.