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Contact information
For information on this page, contact:
WI Department of Natural Resources
Water Use Section DG/5
PO Box 7921
Madison WI 53707-7921

Central Sands Lakes Study

The Central Sands region is a contiguous area east of the Wisconsin River with sand and gravel deposits greater than 50 feet. The Central Sands region spans several counties and includes more than 800 miles of trout streams and 300 lakes – which provides for water-related recreational activities and supports the local tourism industry. Water withdrawn from this aquifer, primarily through high capacity wells, provides water for local municipalities, private wells, industries and agriculture.

Under 2017 Wisconsin Act 10 [exit DNR], the department will evaluate and model the potential impacts of groundwater withdrawals on three specific lakes in the Central Sands region through the Central Sands Lakes Study. The three lakes in the study are all in Waushara County – Long Lake and Plainfield Lake near Plainfield, and Pleasant Lake near Coloma.

The study will include the use of a groundwater flow model to evaluate cumulative impacts from existing and potential groundwater withdrawals on the three lakes. The groundwater flow model will involve data collection and compilation across the region. As required by Act 10, field studies will also be utilized to evaluate the impact of groundwater withdrawals on lakes.

The department will determine if there is the potential for significant impacts to the lake's average seasonal levels as a result of groundwater withdrawals. If the potential for significant impacts exist, as determined by the study report, the department will provide recommendations for special measures to mitigate those impacts to the legislature. If special measures are recommended an economic impact analysis of those measures will be conducted.

Find out more

Additional resources about the Central Sands and related groundwater information are available on this website, and the department will continue to post information about the Central Sands Lakes Study as it becomes available. Emails with comments or questions regarding the study can be sent to

Central Sands area and Act 10 Study lakes

The Central Wisconsin Sand and Gravel Aquifer is defined as a contiguous area east of the Wisconsin River with sand and gravel surficial deposits greater than 50 feet deep.

Central Sands Lakes Study Area and Lake Locations
Last revised: Tuesday October 31 2017