Lake Saint Croix, Lower Willow River Watershed (SC02)
Lake Saint Croix, Lower Willow River Watershed (SC02)
Troy Beach, Lake Saint Croix (2601500)
0.10 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.
Deep Lowland
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
 
Saint Croix
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.
Deep Lowland
Deep lowland 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

Lake St. Croix is impacted by phosphorus from point and nonpoint sources in the basin. Rapid population growth and accompanying land-use changes have affected the water resources of the St. Croix River Basin. Based on a 39-percent projected population growth in the Basin by the year 2020, water resources will continue to degrade under the current circumstances. In response to this threat, the St. Croix Basin Planning Team conducted a detailed review of nutrient and sediment research and developed recommended water quality goals that would return Lake St. Croix to conditions that existed prior to 1950, before major ecological changes were experienced. These goals will require a 20-percent reduction in total phosphorus loading within the St. Croix Basin.

Date  2013

Author  James Cahow

Overview

Lake Saint Croix is a hardwater, drainage lake extending from Hudson to Diamond Bluff in Pierce County, where an 8 foot head dam (Red Wing #3 U. S. Government lock and dam) heightens the original lake level. The lake is fed by the St. Croix, Apple, Willow, Kinnickinnic, Big and Wind Rivers in Wisconsin and the Mississippi River from Minnesota. The latter stream is the lake's outlet, having a mean low flow of 4,900 CFS. Though managed for walleye, bass and panfish, this lake has a variety of fish species available to the angler. The most abundant is the white bass, followed by walleye, sauger, perch, smallmouth bass, black crappies, white crappies, rock bass, pumpkinseeds, channel catfish, carp, white suckers and redhorse. Less common species include muskellunge, northern pike, largemouth bass, bluegills, flathead catfish, black bullheads, buffalo, quillbacks, longnose gar, shortnose gar, bowfin, mooneye, burbot, sheepshead, rock sturgeon, shovelnose sturgeon and paddlefish.

There are two resorts and two boat liveries available at Hudson. Ninety cottages and dwellings are scattered along the Wisconsin lakeshore. Access may be had at a public landing at Hudson (a charge is made on weekends here), two public accesses at Prescott and three other accesses from town roads that extend to the lake between the public landings already mentioned. The total public frontage is 664 feet. A wetlands area of 665 acres of predominantly willow, tag alder and sedge provides nesting habitat for mallards, while large numbers of coot, other ducks of the puddle and diver.groups, and a few Canada geese also use this lake. Most of the lakeshore has sandy soil occasionally mixed with gravel and rock.

Lake St. Croix T. 25, 30 N., R. 19, 20 W. Surface Acres 4,668.0 (Wis.) S.D.F. = 1.84 Maximum Depth - 60 feet

Source: 1961, Surface Water Resources of St.Croix Co.

Date  1961

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Lake St. Croix is impacted by phosphorus from point and nonpoint sources in the basin.

Rapid population growth and accompanying land-use changes have affected the water resources of the St. Croix River Basin. Based on a 39-percent projected population growth in the Basin by the year 2020, water resources will continue to degrade under the current circumstances. In response to this threat, the St. Croix Basin Planning Team conducted a detailed review of nutrient and sediment research and developed recommended water quality goals that would return Lake St. Croix to conditions that existed prior to 1950, before major ecological changes were experienced. These goals will require a 20-percent reduction in total phosphorus loading within the St. Croix Basin.

On April 6, 2006, an agreement was signed by Sheryl Corrigan, Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Scott Hassett, Secretary, WDNR committing their agencies to work cooperatively to achieve the 20-percent phosphorus reduction goal. This goal will form the basis for future TMDL and implementation efforts. The agreement is summarized in the following document: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/publications/wq-b6-04.pdf

The report found at: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/publications/reports/stcroixbasin-phosreport04.pdf summarizes the need for a 20 percent reduction in phosphorus loads to Lake St. Croix. Since the lake is currently impacted by phosphorus loading, resulting in algae blooms and eutrophication, WCR and NOR recommend it be placed on the Wisconsin 303d impaired waters list. MPCA is also proposing to add Lake St. Croix to its 303d list.

Date  2008

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Saint Croix Lake is a 8,209 acre wide area in the St. Croix River extending from just downstream of Stillwater, Minnesota to just downstream of Afton, Minnesota. The lake receives some of the highest levels of recreational usage of any surface waters in Wisconsin.

A significant amount of long-term water quality data has been collected in and near Lake St. Croix. Lake St. Croix was included in the 1974 National Eutrophication Survey, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has a long term monitoring station near Hudson, Wisconsin and the Metropolitan Waste Control Commission (MWCC), St. Paul, Minnesota has two monitoring stations near the lake. The Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources provided funding to the Minnesota-Wisconsin Boundary Area Commission and University of Minnesota to conduct an aquatic ecosystem assessment in the St. Croix River from Taylor Falls, Minnesota downstream to the mouth of the river. Components of this study include a paleolimnological assessment of lake sediments and assessment of existing water quality data for Lake St. Croix.

Lake St. Croix is currently considered a eutrophic lake. The MPCA has recommended a 40 ug/l mean total phosphorus concentration as a phosphorus goal for the lake. This goal represents a 50% reduction in the long term mean total phosphorus concentration of 83 ug/l based on data collected by MPCA and the MWCC. The MPCA has identified that achieving the 40 ugA total phosphorus concentration is dependent on implementing a 1 mgA or lower effluent limit for the City of Hudson WWTP.

Date  1992

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Lake Saint Croix, Lower Willow River Watershed (SC02) Fish and Aquatic LifeLake Saint Croix, Lower Willow River Watershed (SC02) RecreationLake Saint Croix, Lower Willow River Watershed (SC02) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Kinnickinnic State Park Beach was assessed for the 2018 listing cycle; E. coli data sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use. This beach was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

General Condition

Brown's Beach was assessed for the 2018 listing cycle; E. coli data sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use. This beach was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

General Condition

YMCA Beach was assessed for the 2018 listing cycle; E. coli data sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use. This beach was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

General Condition

Pembles Beach was assessed for the 2018 listing cycle; E. coli data sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use. This beach was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

General Condition

Troy Beach was assessed for the 2018 listing cycle; E. coli data sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use. This beach was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

On the state's 303(d) impaired waters list since 2008 for Total Phosphorus.
This water was assessed during the 2012 listing cycle, and total phosphorus sample data were insufficient to assess against 2012 WisCALM listing criteria for the recreation use; however, chlorophyll a levels exceed recreation use listing thresholds. Additional monitoring is recommended to identify the pollutant causing excess algal growth. Fish and aquatic life thresholds for total phosphorus and chlorophyll were not exceeded, per 2012 WisCALM.

Date  2013

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

TMDL Approved (USEPA)
EPA approves Minnesota's and Wisconsin's one TMDL for total phosphorus on Lake St. Croix. The designated use impairment in the lake is aquatic recreational use, and Lake St. Croix is classified as a Class 2B water and is defined as and protected for aquatic life (warm and cool water fisheries and associated biota) and recreation (all water recreation activities including bathing).
TMDL Implementatoin
Move the TMDL from draft to approved and begin implementation.
Stormwater Planning, Implementation
Urban runoff and stormwater management are important, regardless of the size of the community. A portion of the City of Hudson’s stormwater collection system drains to Lake Mallalieu. Best management practices to capture, infiltrate, and clarify stormwater should be implemented in each of the communities in the Upper and Lower Willow. Improved practices for construction site erosion control are needed in the both the urban, industrial, commercial and rural sectors.
Action Migrated from WATERS
Conduct a water quality assessment in the St. Croix River to determine if sources of PCB's are present. Three procedures that may be applicable for the river are deployment of caged fish, lipid bags and hexane bags (Type B).
Monitor Fish Tissue
Continue to sample for fish PCB and mercury tissue analysis (Type B).
Monitor with Baseline Survey
WDNR should participate in any interstate water quality assessments in Lake St. Croix.

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

Lake Saint Croix is located in the Lower Willow River watershed which is 164.38 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (52%), forest (22%) and a mix of suburban (13%) and other uses (14%). This watershed has 99.33 stream miles, 2,139.74 lake acres and 2,482.81 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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

Troy Beach, Lake Saint Croix is considered a Deep Lowland 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.

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