Large Scale Lake Planning
The Lower Chain project group consists of Columbia, Ottman, Youngs, Beasley, Bass and Long 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 Plans); 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 subwatershed 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 subwatershed 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. Lower Chain water quality monitoring during Phases I and II indicated in-lake nutrient levels below those expected for the region. The shallower well mixed lakes (Ottman, Bass, Youngs) had relatively higher nutrient readings, but levels were near or slightly above those typical of lake type and regional location. Lower Chain characteristics (relatively large watershed and direct or indirect drainage from all Chain project groups) suggests a relatively high potential for nutrient and sediment input from nonpoint sources. Water quality, except for a slight increase in total nitrogen in a downstream progression, remains similar throughout the Chain and apparently reflects the substantial groundwater input to the system. Lower 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 beach, and were evenly divided regarding the need for more water accessible restrooms. Purple loosestrife, an exotic potentially nuisance plant, was present and locally abundant in the Lower Chain. Water quality protection and water use conflict minimization are priority management objectives for the Lower Chain and all Chain O' Lakes residents. Specific recommendations for the Lower Chain include private well testing for nitrates and/or pesticides, more event sampling (coordinated with flow and rainfall monitoring) and removal or management of the purple loosestrife beds. Other recommendations are applicable to the Lower 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 are designed to identify potential problem areas or conflicts before they become widespread or severe.
1) Review of existing data on Lower Chain O Lakes (Columbia, Beasley, Bass, Long, Ottman, and Youngs Lakes) and watershed to define data gaps and assess data gathering needs.2) Initiate public involvement/information program which may include workshops, public meetings, newsletters, local media, and fact sheet distribution.3) Perform water quality monitoring as described in application attachment.4) Macrophyte survey will be conducted as described in application.5) Prepare base maps of lakes and watershed; map land uses including soil disturbing uses, nonpoint pollution problems, and environmentally sensitive areas. Final Lake Mgmt plan will include summary of tasks above and management recommendations.
Data analysis, report production
Watershed Mapping or Assessment
Watershed Mapping or Assessment
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Lake Management Plan Development