Proposed WCR Petenwell Habitat Evaluation


Lake Petewell, Wisconsin's 2nd largest lake, is a major attraction for anglers, wildlife enthusiast, boaters, sailors, and other tourists. Lake Petenwell is a flowage on the Wisconsin River, this inherently brings with it a heavy nutrient load. Studies have been completed that has identifies sources. However due to the size of the watershed, immediate action to control all the sources is impossible, thus it is necessary to use smaller localized controls to lessen the impact of nutrinet loading and the frequency of major blue-green algal blooms. In addition, the lake suffers from a lack of habitat due to a lack of aquatic vegetation brought on upon by the current water level management scheme. The flowage is managed by Wisconsin River Power Company (WRPCO) and regulated under FERC. FERC and WRPCO recognizes WDNR as a partner in the management of the flowage. According to the FERC license, WRPCO needs to develop an adaptive management plan that involves all stakeholders who are comprised of the public, conservation groups, WDNR and other county agencies. Through the planning process, WRPCO agreed to revise their water level management scheme and WDNR would evaluate the response from the flowage.


The objective of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of aquatic plant restoration, thereby habitat restoration, by revising the water level management scheme. The changes would occur over the winter of 2009-10. This growing season would be used to evlauate the aquatic plant community before the change (pre-drawdown modification) to establish a baseline. This will be used to compare the post drawdown modification to determine efficacy. SInce the last FERC licensing, WRPCO has been selling property nad development has now become a major threat to habitat of this flowage. These data can also be used for future critical habitat designations, which is sorely needed in light of the new development pressure on this flowage.


The result of this evlauation will be used in the adaptive management process of the flowage. It is believed that the current water level management scheme is detrimental to habitat. Data to show that will enable the WDNR and it's partners to proceed with further modifications of water level management that will benefit all users of the flowage and restore water quality by increasing nutrient attenuation and decreasing blue-green algal blooms.

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Targeted Monitoring
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Aquatic Plant Monitoring or Survey
Pre and post aquatic plant surveys to evlauate efficacy of revised water level management scheme