Wazee Lake, Morrison Creek Watershed (BR05)
Wazee Lake, Morrison Creek Watershed (BR05)
Wazee Lake Beach, Wazee Lake (1670030)
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.
Not Determined
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
 
Jackson
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.
FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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 Wazee was created after reclamation of the Jackson County iron mine. Groundwater naturally filled the mine pit creating a deep, clear, cold lake. Jackson County Forestry and Parks Department received a lake protection grant in May 1995. The purpose of the grant was to assist in implementing a stormwater management plan and shoreland stabilization project in the southeast portion of the lake. These projects have been successful in protecting lake water quality. The stormwater management project involved the modification of surface drainage patterns to minimize the amount of land draining to the lake. Areas within the watershed that were graded have been planted with native grasses. The Lake Wazee surface watershed was reduced to less than 30 acres. Several hundred feet of severely eroding shoreline in the southeast portion have been stabilized along with the development of a swimming beach. The depth (~300 ft.) and clarity of the lake attracts scuba enthusiasts from the upper midwest.

Lake Wazee has outstanding water quality as indicated by very low phosphorus and algal levels with exceptional water clarity. Water chemistry was monitored in the lake during 1992 and 1997. Background low level metals monitoring was included in 1997.

A significant water quality change has occurred in Lake Wazee over the five year period between 1992 and 1997. Dissolved oxygen levels significantly decreased in the deepest portion of the lake. Dissolved oxygen concentrations of 2-3 mg/l was recorded at 97 meters (300 ft) in 1992. By 1997, a dissolved oxygen concentration of 2-3 mg/l level was encountered at 75 meters (246 ft) with concentrations near zero by 83 meters (272 ft). This zone of reduced dissolved oxygen can be expected to continue to move upward in the water column. Water temperature profile data from 1992 and 1997 indicated that the water column mixes at spring and fall turnover to a depth of about 30 meters (100 ft). The lack of mixing deeper than 30 meters prevents the reoxygenation of deeper portions of the lake. As organic matter continues to settle into and decompose in this portion of the lake, oxygen levels will continue to decline.

Date  1999

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Land Use

Wazee Lake is located in the Morrison Creek watershed which is 178.14 mi . Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (57.84%), wetland (23.18%) and a mix of grassland (10.15%) and other uses (8.85%). This watershed has 236.05 stream miles, 1,525.11 lake acres and 27,521.66 wetland acres.

Date  2013

Author  Lisa Helmuth

Wazee Lake, Morrison Creek Watershed (BR05) Fish and Aquatic LifeWazee Lake, Morrison Creek Watershed (BR05) RecreationWazee Lake, Morrison Creek Watershed (BR05) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Wazee Lake (1670030) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data were clearly below 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water is meeting these designated uses and is not considered impaired.

Date  2015

Author  Ashley Beranek

General Condition

The Wazee Lake Recreation Area is Jackson County's newest and largest County Park. The focal point of the 1300-acre recreation area is Wazee Lake. The lake is 146 acres in size and is the clearest and deepest inland lake in Wisconsin.Wazee Lake has become the most popular scuba diving site in the Midwest, attracting more than 1000 divers annually. For more information on scuba diving click here It is also host to a two-tier fishery including two species of trout, smallmouth bass, bluegills and walleye. The lake is non-motorized to ensure protection of the pristine water quality, and to promote a "quiet" recreational experience.The area offers 12 rustic campsites with pit toilets and water, 9 miles of hiking trail, 3 miles of surfaced bicycle trail, a large beach, picnic areas, handicap fishing pier, boat launch and several scenic vistas of the surrounding forest land. Reservations are accepted on 6 of the 12 campsites. Reservations can be made for camping Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. TO MAKE A RESERVATION PLEASE VISIT HTTP://WWW.JACKSONCOUNTYPARKS.US

Date  2013

Author   Jackson County

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

Lake Management Plan - Develop/Modify
Develop a watershed plan to reduce runoff to lake. Develop a design for shoreline stabilization. Develop a plan for beach construction. Develop a plan to improve fish habitat and boat access. Information will be disseminated to the public by videoprograms, public meetings, press releases to newspaper and radio stations.
Informational Meetings
Develop a watershed plan to reduce runoff to lake. Develop a design for shoreline stabilization. Develop a plan for beach construction. Develop a plan to improve fish habitat and boat access. Information will be disseminated to the public by videoprograms, public meetings, press releases to newspaper and radio stations.
Issue News/Media Release
Develop a watershed plan to reduce runoff to lake. Develop a design for shoreline stabilization. Develop a plan for beach construction. Develop a plan to improve fish habitat and boat access. Information will be disseminated to the public by videoprograms, public meetings, press releases to newspaper and radio stations.
Lakes Planning Grant
Wazee Lake should be considered high priority for receiving a lakes planning grant for developing lake management alternatives. (Type C)
Restore Hydrology, Morphology
DNR water program staff should discuss with Jackson County staff the possibility of routing cold water from Lake Wazee to Indian Grave Creek. (Type B)

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

Wazee Lake is located in the Morrison Creek watershed which is 178.14 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (57%), grassland (17%) and a mix of wetland (17%) and other uses (9%). This watershed has 236.05 stream miles, 1,525.11 lake acres and 27,521.66 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available for runoff impacts on lakes and Low for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Low. 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

Wazee Lake Beach, Wazee Lake 's natural community is not yet identified 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.

Fish Species

The state Department of Natural Resources is proposing to stock cisco a species of forage fish common to northern Wisconsin lakes into Jackson County’s Lake Wazee in an effort to improve sport fish populations.

The lake lies in the excavated pit that was once the Jackson County Iron Mine. Mining operations closed in 1983, and the lake gradually filled with water till it matched surrounding groundwater elevation. There is no lake outlet or inlet.

The spring-fed, 154-acre lake, with a maximum depth of 355 feet, is part of the Lake Wazee Recreation Area. Jackson County prohibits motors on Lake Wazee to protect its pristine water quality and to enhance a quiet, outdoors experience. The county park features public camping, year-round trails, lake swimming, scuba diving and fishing.

The lake is oligotrophic, which means it lacks nutrients and plant life but is high in dissolved oxygen. It currently supports a mix of cold water and warm water species, including brown and rainbow trout (cold) and smallmouth bass and walleye (warm) as a result of DNR fish stocking.

Current practice is to manage the lake as a put-grow-and-take fishery with regulations specific to Wazee. Studies show that sport fish in Lake Wazee have below average growth rates because food is scarce. The DNR proposes to collect several hundred cisco from a Vilas County lake with similar water quality and chemistry and introduce them to Lake Wazee.

Cisco survival will be monitored. If the stocking is successful it will establish a long-term, self-sustaining population of forage fish, which will in turn support larger populations of faster-growing game fish.

The stocking plan is supported by the Jackson County Forests and Parks Committee and the Jackson County Wildlife Club, partners in managing the Lake Wazee Recreation Area.

If inadvertently introduced to surrounding lakes or streams cisco would not survive due to their specific coldwater lake habitat requirements.

“There is no other body of water in Jackson County where they would have any chance of surviving,” said Pete Segerson, the DNR’s fisheries field team leader at Black River Falls.

If the project is approved, cisco would be netted out of the northern lake in October when fisheries biologists would expect to get a good mix of male and female fish. Some larger cisco, 9 to 10 inches long, will be in the mix. These fish will be less vulnerable to predation.

The plan will take a few years to prove out. Biologists will sample the lake three to four years after stocking to determine if the cisco are surviving and reproducing.

The proposed action is not anticipated to result in significant adverse environmental effects. DNR staff have made a preliminary determination that an environmental impact statement will not be required.

Date  2011

Author   Fisheries Staff

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