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Lakes Health

Aquatic Plant Reference Lakes

Monitoring Objectives

The objective of Aquatic Plant Reference Lakes is to document the variability in healthy aquatic plant communities in the absence of management actions. This information will then be used to refine the new aquatic plant biocriteria for lakes and will also serve as a benchmark as we begin assessing aquatic plant communities in lakes.

Monitoring Design

Three lakes will be selected in each of four lake categories for which a distinct biocriteria has been developed. The categories include: northern seepage lakes, northern drainage lakes, southern seepage lakes, southern drainage lakes. The break between north and south occurs at 44.84707°N. Each lake will be sampled annually. An effort will be made to select LTT Lakes, but only a handful of LTT lakes have plant communities in the best possible condition and do not have ongoing aquatic plant management. Monitoring will begin on some lakes in 2015. Final lake selection needs to be completed and staff capacity needs to be built before we are able to monitor all 12 lakes.

Water Quality Indicators

A plant point-intercept survey will be conducted on each lake annually. If not an LTT lake, efforts will be made to initiate water chemistry monitoring on the lake following WisCALM guidance (perhaps by initiating citizen-based monitoring on these lakes).

Quality Assurance

     Field Protocols (PI-Protocol-2010.pdf)
     Herbarium voucher specimens
     Field survey trainings (annual training exists, but more in-depth training is needed for select WDNR staff)

Data Management

Plant Point Intercept data are currently stored on individual desktop computers. An effort to build the capacity to house plant data in SWIMS has been initiated and must be completed. Second, there is a need to develop a program that will calculate plant biocriteria from raw plant point-intercept data..


Reporting templates need to be developed. Eventually, plant point intercept data will be reported on the Lakes pages and will be incorporated into the Integrated Report.

Programmatic Evaluation

This program will be evaluated annually as it is being developed.

Last revised:

Tuesday May 30 2017