Large Scale Lake Planning
The Upper Chain project group consists of Otter, Taylor, George, Sunset and Rainbow Lakes of the Chain O' Lakes, a group of 22 mostly interconnected relatively small lakes in Waupaca County, Wisconsin. Water quality is good to very good and related to substantial groundwater inflow. Water quality, along with the Chain's proximity to population centers, contribute to highly developed shoreline areas (many permanent residential) and periodic high to excessive non-resident recreational use. An initial resource assessment was made in 1992 (Phase I Chain O' Lakes Management Plan); this document supplements the 1992 report with Phase II efforts toward development of a comprehensive lake management plan. The Chain O' Lakes watershed, primarily agricultural but with significant forested and wetland areas, is a sub watershed of the Tomorrow/Waupaca River basin which has recently been granted Priority Watershed Project Status. Variable, but generally low groundwater nitrate levels were observed in the Chain sub watershed during the appraisal phase of the Priority Watershed Project. Overland flow nutrient and sediment inputs were estimated to be lower than expected, but field estimates for nutrients were substantially higher. Lake modeling for some Chain lakes indicated a natural process of phosphorus removal by marl precipitation. Upper Chain water quality monitoring during Phases I and II indicated in-lake nutrient levels below those expected for the region. Otter Lake continued to have relatively higher nutrients, which may reflect basin differences between it and other Upper Chain lakes. The King storm sewer was estimated to contribute a relatively small amount of nutrients. Upper Chain recreational use survey results were similar to those of the Chain O' Lakes overall and various resident user groups. Results indicated periodic excessive use during summer weekends or holidays with perceived safety problems and diminished recreational enjoyment of the resource related primarily to non-resident or commercial watercraft. Water safety enforcement was considered adequate at all times, slightly less so during periods of peak use, and no clear consensus was evident regarding the need for additional regulation. Residents agreed there was adequate access, disagreed with the need for a public park or swimming beach, and were evenly divided regarding the need for more water accessible public restrooms. Purple loosestrife, an exotic potentially nuisance plant, was present and locally abundant in the Upper Chain. Water quality protection and water use conflict minimization are priority management objectives for the Upper Chain and all Chain O' Lakes residents. Specific recommendations for the Upper Chain include private well testing for nitrates and/or pesticides, more event sampling (coordinated with flow and rainfall monitoring) at the storm sewer inflow, and removal or management of the purple loosestife beds. Other recommendations are applicable to the Upper and other Chain project groups and emphasize continued focus and expanded involvement (designated Chain O' Lakes Property Owners Association individuals or committees) in watershed-wide surface water and groundwater quality issues, use management, and exotic species control. These recommendations, which include trend monitoring for water quality, are designed to identify potential problem areas or conflicts before they become widespread or severe.
Lakes Planning Report
Review existing data on lakes and watershed to define data gaps. Initiate public involvement/information program. Water quality monitoring. Prepare analysis of current recreational use management techniques. Base maps of lake and watershed to be prepared. Draft and final lake management plans to be developed.
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Data analysis, report production
Information and Education
Watershed Mapping or Assessment
Lake Management Plan Development