Devils Lake, Lower Baraboo River Watershed (LW21)
Devils Lake, Lower Baraboo River Watershed (LW21)
Devil's Lake State Park - South Shore Beach, Devils Lake (980900)
0.02 Miles
0 - 0
Natural Community
Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results that use predicted flow and temperature based on landscape features and related assumptions. Ranges of flow and temperature associated with specific aquatic life communities (fish, macroinvertebrates) help biologists identify appropriate resource management goals. Wisconsin's Riverine Natural Communities.
Two-Story
Year Last Monitored
This date represents the most recent date of water quality monitoring stored in the SWIMS system. Additional field surveys for fish and habitat may be available subsequent to this date.
2017
Unknown
 
Sauk
Trout Water 
Trout Waters are represented by Class I, Class II or Class III waters. These classes have specific ecological characteristics and management actions associated with them. For more information regarding Trout Classifications, see the Fisheries Trout Class Webpages.
No
Outstanding or Exceptional 
Wisconsin has designated many of the state's highest quality waters as Outstanding Resource Waters (ORWs) or Exceptional Resource Waters (ERWs). Waters designated as ORW or ERW are surface waters which provide outstanding recreational opportunities, support valuable fisheries and wildlife habitat, have good water quality, and are not significantly impacted by human activities. ORW and ERW status identifies waters that the State of Wisconsin has determined warrant additional protection from the effects of pollution. These designations are intended to meet federal Clean Water Act obligations requiring Wisconsin to adopt an 'antidegradation' policy that is designed to prevent any lowering of water quality - especially in those waters having significant ecological or cultural value.
No
Impaired Water 
A water is polluted or 'impaired' if it does not support full use by humans, wildlife, fish and other aquatic life and it is shown that one or more of the pollutant criteria are not met.
No

Fish and Aquatic Life

Current Use
The use the water currently supports. This is not a designation or classification; it is based on the current condition of the water. Information in this column is not designed for, and should not be used for, regulatory purposes.
Two-Story
Shallow headwater lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.
Attainable Use
The use that the investigator believes the water could achieve through managing "controllable" sources. Beaver dams, hydroelectric dams, low gradient streams, and naturally occurring low flows are generally not considered controllable. The attainable use may be the same as the current use or it may be higher.
FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
Designated Use
This is the water classification legally recognized by NR102 and NR104, Wis. Adm. Code. The classification determines water quality criteria and effluent limits. Waters obtain designated uses through classification procedures.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.

Overview

Devils Lake is a seepage lake in Devils Lake State Park. The lake is a popular recreation area and has a diverse sport fishery. The lake can support a two-story brown trout fishery. Six feet below the thermocline, the water still has enough oxygen to support a population of brown trout. Devils Lake is oligotrophic and usually has excellent water clarity. The lake is designated an outstanding resource water (ORW). Problems in the lake are due to high levels of phosphorus, the prevalence of an invasive exotic plant species, and the presence of mercury in the water column. A fish consumption advisory exists on the lake for walleye due to the levels of mercury found in the fish tissue samples. The sources of the mercury are unknown, but may be naturally occurring or come from airborne deposition. Core sampling of bottom sediments in 1987 yielded little conclusive information. In addition, beds of Eurasian milfoil, an undesirable exotic plant species, have become problematic on the lake. High levels of phosphorus have also been attributed to this and other problems in the lake ecosystem. One of these other problems is the presence of the parasite that causes swimmer itch. It is suspected that this parasite lives on snails that feed on the algae that grows in the lake because of the phosphorus. Starting in 2002 and running for 10 to 15 years, the Department will be conducting a bottom draw program every September through December to remove oxygen depleted water, which isthe direct result of high phosphorus levels, from the bottom of the lake through a hypolimnetic withdrawal. This project will hopefully do 5 main things:

1. Decrease periphyton growth on rocks
2. Decrease filamentous algae growth in lake shallows
3. Decrease snails that feed on these algae and therefore, decrease the number of hosts
for the parasite that causes Swimmer Itch.
4. Improve aquatic habitat for the lake'd brown trout population that is currently in
danger as a result of the low oxygen levels
5. Decrease the amount of time that mercury in bottom sediments can methalize and bioaccumulate in aquatic species.

Since the lake is fed mostly by groundwater seeps and through precipitation, this withdrawal of water does have the potential to lower the lakes level. This problems has been addressed and it is planned to re-charge the lake through the re-connection of a previously diverted stream. This project is funded through a Lake Planning and a Lake Protection Grant. There is a USGS gauging station on Devil's Lake.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Devils Lake is a seepage lake in Devils Lake State Park. The lake is a popular recreation
area and has a diverse sport fishery. Devils Lake is oligotrophic and usually has
excellent water clarity (Betz, 1990). The lake has been nominated for addition to the
state's antidegradation list as an outstanding resource water. The lake is perceived by
some to have declini~lg water quality and the lake did experience some algal blooms
during the mid 1980s (Betz, 1990, Lange, 1992). The state park wastewater
treatment facility was a suspected source of pollution to the lake, but no conclusive
evidence supported this belief (WDNR, 1991). A recent study of historic data shows
no clear trend toward declining water quality, although changes in biological
communities may have led to, or be related to water quality decline (Lillie, 1986). Beds
of Eurasian milfoil, an undesirable exotic plant species, have declirled in size recently
Lange, 1992) . A fish consumption advisory exists on the lake for walleye taken on the
lake due to the levels of mercury found in walleye tissue samples. The sources of the
mercury are unlrnown, but may be naturally occurring or come from airborne
deposition. Core sampling of bottom sediments in 1987 yielded little conclusive
information (Marshall, 1985).

Date  1994

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Devils Lake, Lower Baraboo River Watershed (LW21) Fish and Aquatic LifeDevils Lake, Lower Baraboo River Watershed (LW21) RecreationDevils Lake, Lower Baraboo River Watershed (LW21) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Devil's Lake State Park North Shore Beach and South Shore Beach were assessed for the 2018 listing cycle; E. coli data sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use. These beaches were meeting this designated use and were not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

General Condition

Devils Lake (980900) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; chlorophyll sample data were clearly below 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was also assessed for chlorides and sample data were clearly below 2016 WisCALM chronic and acute listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water is meeting these designated uses and is not considered impaired.

Date  2015

Author  Ashley Beranek

Condition

Wisconsin has over 84,000 miles of streams, 15,000 lakes and milllions of acres of wetlands. Assessing the condition of this vast amount of water is challenging. The state's water monitoring program uses a media-based, cross-program approach to analyze water condition. An updated monitoring strategy (2015-2020) is now available.

Compliance with Clean Water Act fishable, swimmable standards are located in the Executive Summary of Water Condition in 2016 . See also 'monitoring' and 'projects'.

Reports

Recommendations

Protect Headwaters and Springs
Improve the pumping system that both removes nutrients to restore water quality and helps manage lake levels to protect shoreline, buildings, parking lots, and downstream homes and communities during floods.

Management Goals

Wisconsin's Water Quality Standards provide qualitative and quantitative goals for waters that are protective of Fishable, Swimmable conditions [Learn more]. Waters that do not meet water quality standards are considered impaired and restoration actions are planned and carried out until the water is once again fishable and swimmable

Management goals can include creation and implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load Analysis, habitat restoration work, partnership education and outreach and more. If specific recommendations exist for this water, they will be displayed below.

Monitoring

Monitoring the condition of a river, stream, or lake includes gathering physical, chemical, biological, and habitat data. Comprehensive studies often gather all these parameters in great detail, while lighter assessment events will involve sampling physical, chemical and biological data such as macroinvertebrates. Aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish communities integrate watershed or catchment condition, providing great insight into overall ecosystem health. Chemical and habitat parameters tell researchers more about human induced problems including contaminated runoff, point source dischargers, or habitat issues that foster or limit the potential of aquatic communities to thrive in a given area. Wisconsin's Water Monitoring Strategy was recenty updated.

Grants and Management Projects

Monitoring Projects

Watershed Characteristics

Devils Lake is located in the Lower Baraboo River watershed which is 150.54 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (42%), forest (26%) and a mix of wetland (18%) and other uses (15%). This watershed has 268.11 stream miles, 904.18 lake acres and 15,973.85 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, Low for runoff impacts on lakes and High for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of High. This value can be used in ranking the watershed or individual waterbodies for grant funding under state and county programs.However, all waters are affected by diffuse pollutant sources regardless of initial water quality. Applications for specific runoff projects under state or county grant programs may be pursued. For more information, go to surface water program grants.

Natural Community

Devil's Lake State Park - South Shore Beach, Devils Lake is considered a Two-Story under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results that use predicted flow and temperature based on landscape features and related assumptions. Ranges of flow and temperature associated with specific aquatic life communities (fish, macroinvertebrates) help biologists identify appropriate resource management goals. Wisconsin's Riverine Natural Communities.

Shallow headwater lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.