Huiras Lake, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05)
Huiras Lake, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05)
Huiras Lake (9600)
20.58 Acres
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 Natural Communities.
Shallow Seepage
Year Last Monitored
This is the most recent date of monitoring data stored in SWIMS. Additional surveys for fish and habitat may be available subsequent to this date.
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.
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.
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.

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.
Shallow Seepage
Shallow seepage lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.
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.
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.


Huiras Lake, in the North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed, is a 20.58 acre lake that falls in Ozaukee County. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently not considered impaired.

Date  2011

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Water Resources. The Huiras Lake Subwatershed contains a diffuse drainage system through wetlands and two lakes, Huiras and Lake Twelve. The unnamed stream begins as an intermittent outlet of a small pond and flows through
extensive wetlands before joining the North Branch of the Milwaukee River. The middle reaches have been extensively channelized as have several intermittent tributaries. This tributary also receives general marsh seepage outflow from
Lake Twelve. A diffuse area of drainage also exists in the eastern part of this subwatershed draining to Huiras Lake.

The unnamed tributary to the North Branch in this subwatershed is currently capable of supporting a warm water sport fish community (FAL-B) from the confluence of the North Branch upstream to Jay Road (northern intermittent)
and Pioneer Road (southern intermittent). Those portions of the intermittent tributaries above the respective road crossings are capable of supporting a community of pollution tolerant or limited aquatic life (MAR-E) due primarily to
uncertain flow. The extensive wetlands draining this area not only provide abundant wildlife habitat but important spawning and nursery areas for fishes such as northern pike in the North Branch proper.

Huiras Lake is a %-acre seepage lake with a maximum depth of 7 feet. Due to its shallow depth, Huiras Lake periodically experiences fish winterkill. This lake may be more valuable to wildlife than fisheries because abundant emergent vegetation makes it an important waterfowl nesting and migration stopover.

Lake Twelve is a 53-acre kettle lake with a maximum depth of 19 feet. Lake Twelve is surrounded by extensive wetlands on all but the south shore. Phosphorus loading to Lake Twelve is not considered excessive, but nutrient concentrations are at a level which creates the potential for algal blooms. Water quality data indicate observed chlorophyll g concentrations exceeded expected concentrations threefold which suggests further phosphorus reductions are necessary.

Neither of the lakes in this subwatershed have public access. Because of its small size, the unnamed perennial tributary supports only partial-body contact types of recreation. No toxic screening has been conducted on streams in this drainage system.

Fisheries. Northern pike and central mudminnow are the only fish species known to inhabit lower portions of the primary, unnamed tributary of this subwatershed. Small stream size, low gradient, and stream channelization are all factors which limit the diversity and quality of fish habitat in this stream. Seasonal use by northern pike appears to be the most notable value of this stream to the fisheries resource. Lake Twelve currently supports a warm-water sport fishery, but is limited by an abundant carp population.

Wildlife. Ektensive wetland drainage in the subwatershed prevents full wildlife potentials, yet habitat is good. Riparian habitat is predominantly forest and wetland covertypes, with 14% of the remaining corridor devoted to row crop production.

Date  1990

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Parks and Recreation. Two large organization-owned campgrounds comprise over two-thirds of the open space in this subwatershed. One camp is located on Lake Twelve. The Ozaukee County 1987 park and open space plan calls for
linking municipal and county parks with those in Milwaukee County.

Forestry. Presently, there are no CRP tree piantings but 84 acres are enrolled in the Forest Tax Laws. Swamp hardwood timber types surround Huiras Lake and Lake Twelve.

Solid and Hazardous Waste. While there are no landfills within this drainage system, residents have access to privately owned landfills in neighboring areas. However, under new federal regulations, the cost of operating small landfills may
precipitate closure early in the 1990's. Timely planning is important for Huiras Lake Subwatershed residents because the design and permitting process for a new landfill requires five years. Long-range solid waste management planning will safeguard surface and groundwater resources in the North Branch Watershed.

Water Supply. Private wells supply the water needs of residents in this drainage system. The Department regulates only community or municipal water supply systems and does not have the authority to require well monitoring or prohibit the use of contaminated water. To ensure safe, potable water supplies, owners of private wells should sample well water for bacteria and nitrate levels on a yearly basis. Testing kits are available from the State Hygiene Laboratory or commercial firms at a cost of $7 to $30. Routine inspection of well caps, pumps and casings will also safeguard health of humans and livestock.

Water Regulation and Zoning. Regular.program activities occur on a case-by-case basis and are in response to actions or requests from individuals. These include protection of wetlands through oversight of county wetland/shoreland ordinances and incorporation of watershed objectives into projects requiring water regulation permits. The Department has had no recent involvement in this subwatershed.

Wastewater. The Ozaukee County Sanitary District staff is responsible for wastewater management in this drainage way because there are no municipal wastewater treatment plants located here.

Nonpoint Source. Phosphorus loading to surface waters is the most significant nonpoint pollution source. Barnyard runoff contributes 114 pounds of phosphorus annually, one of the highest amounts in the North Branch. Winter spreading of manure on critical acres is relatively high, 88 acres, primarily because of the extent of wetlands in the subwatershed. Upland erosion is moderate, contributing an estimated 171 tons of sediment per year. Refer to the Nonpoint Source Control Plan for the North Branch of the Milwaukee River for specific, detailed nonpoint source
pollution reduction goals and recommendations.

Date  1990

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

A small, landlocked seepage lake contained within a large wooded marshy area. This area consists of interlobate morainal deposits of the Lake Michigan Glacier. The shoreline is sparsely wooded. Due to lush growths of emergent vegetation and partial seclusion, waterfowl nesting and migration use are the predominant values. Fishery value is low due to its shallow depth. This is a winterkill lake which at one time supported northern pike and green sunfish. Hunting is permitted by the landowners but no public access is provided. One farmhouse overlooks the lake from highland to the south. Source: 1963 Surface Water Resources of Ozaukee County Huiras Lake T12N, R21E, Sections 15,16 feet Surface Acres = 25.6, S.D.F. = 1.68, Maximum Depth = 7 feet

Date  1963

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Huiras Lake, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05) Fish and Aquatic LifeHuiras Lake, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05) RecreationHuiras Lake, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05) Fish Consumption


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 2018. See also the 'monitoring and projects' tab.


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 or implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load analysis, a Nine Key Element Plan, or other restoration work, education and outreach and more. If specific recommendations exist for this water, they will be displayed below online.


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

Huiras Lake is located in the North Branch Milwaukee River watershed which is 149.67 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (45.40%), grassland (20.30%) and a mix of wetland (15.50%) and other uses (18.80%). This watershed has 159.81 stream miles, 886.38 lake acres and 13,793.69 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, High for runoff impacts on lakes and High for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of High. 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

Huiras Lake is considered a Shallow Seepage under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model resultsand DNR staff valiation processes that confirm or update predicted conditions based on flow and temperature modeling from historic and current landscape features and related variables. Predicated flow and temperatures for waters are associated predicated fish assemblages (communities). Biologists evaluate the model results against current survey data to determine if the modeled results are corect and whether biological indicators show water quaity degradation. This analysis is a core component of the state's resource management framework. Wisconsin's Riverine Natural Communities.

Shallow seepage lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.