Lake Wisconsin, Lake Wisconsin,Honey Creek,Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW16, LW18, LW19)
Lake Wisconsin, Lake Wisconsin,Honey Creek,Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW16, LW18, LW19)
Lake Wisconsin (1260600)
7197.26 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.
Impounded Flowing Water
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.
2020
Poor
 
This impoundment is impaired
Low DO, Eutrophication, Recreational Restrictions - Blue Green Algae, Mercury Contaminated Fish Tissue, PCBs Contaminated Fish Tissue
PCBs, Total Phosphorus, Mercury
 
Columbia, Sauk
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.
No
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.
No
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.
Yes

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.
Impounded Flowing Water
This classification includes waterbodies created by dams (mill ponds, reservoirs, flowages, and other impoundments) with a residence time of 14 days or more (under summer (June – Sept) mean low flow conditions with a 1 in 10 year recurrence interval (US EPA 2000)). Many natural lakes also have dams or water level control structures. However, to be included in the Impounded Flowing Waters category, the dam or water level control structure, must account for more than half of a waterbody’s maximum depth. Impoundments with a residence time of less than 14 days should be covered under the rivers and stream assessment methodology process.
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.
WWSF
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
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.

Overview

Lake Wisconsin is a large impoundment of the Wisconsin River created by the hydroelectric
dam at Prairie du Sac. It has a good sport fishery and is used extensively for recreation.
Because it is an impoundment, sedimentation and nutrient loading to the lake, and toxic
substance accumulation in bottom sediments, are concerns. The nutrient loading impacts the
lake by fostering algae blooms and affecting dissolved oxygen levels. Low levels of mercury,
and high levels of PCBs have been detected in sturgeon from the lake. A fish consumption
advisory for PCBs has been issued for the lake's sturgeon. Contaminated sediment sites exist
in Grubers Grove Bay, an arm of the lake near the Badger Army Ammunition Plant (BAAP).
Grubers Grove Bay received process waste water from the BAAP wastewater treatment
facility in the past. Sediment samples were found to have extremely high mercury
concentrations as well as high levels of lead and ammonia. In response to this, a major
dredging project was conducted to remove the contaminated sediment. There are plans to
restore the aquatic habitat in the Bay through the planting of rooted aquatic plants and
shoreline trees as well as fish crib deployment.
The Harmony Grove Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District recently received a Lake
Planning Grant to conduct a sediment study on the sediment in the bay. Harmony Grove Bay
is located on the Columbia County side of Lake Wisconsin north of Pine Bluff.
Wisconsin Power & Light Company, owner of the Prairie Du Sac Dam, as part of the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicensing process conducted water quality, algal,
fisheries and sediment contaminant studies during 1992. Continuous dissolved oxygen
monitoring at the dam tailrace showed the water quality standard of 5 mg/l was violated more
than half of July, a good portion of August and a few days in September, 1992. The worst
two-day period occurred July 27-28, when the maximum dissolved oxygen was 3.6 mg/l, the
minimum 1.7 mg/l. The suggested cause of the problem is a combination of the existence of
the dam and the high nutrient loads in the river. This leads to excessive algae growth in Lake
Wisconsin. When the algae die off, they deplete oxygen near the dam. Nutrient loading can
come from barnyard runoff and other forms of nonpoint source pollution. One dairy farmer
has been found to have multiple manure discharges to the lake. These sources of pollution
need to be addressed and curtailed to help improve the health of Lake Wisconsin. In addition,
fluctuating water levels below the Dells and Prairie du Sac dams remain a major concern on
the Wisconsin River. Fish passage at all dams on the Wisconsin River is important to the fish
communities and the river ecosystem as a whole.
In addition, long term database studies are in progress to look at walleye and sturgeon
reproduction. A no harvest 20-28ý slot regulation is proposed to improve fishing for larger
size walleye. Sturgeon harvest has been curtailed by implementing an alternating season size
limit of 50ý and 70ý. The lake sturgeon resource in the lake and river both up and downstream
needs to be carefully managed. This is a rare and long lived fish of which there are few
remaining fisheries in North America. Efforts are underway to expand the fishery upstream to
its original home range. Pollution had eliminated it upstream from the Kilbourn Dam at
Wisconsin Dells. A significant shovelnose sturgeon fishery also can be found in the lower
Wisconsin River below the Prairie du Sac dam. In addition, it is imperative to continue to
monitor the walleye population.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Lake Wisconsin is a large impoundment of the Wisconsin River created by the
hydroelectric dam at Prairie Du Sac. The lake is eutrophic (WDNR, 1991). It has a
good sport fishery and is used extensively for recreation. Because it is an impoundment,
sedimentation and nutrient loading to the lake, and toxic substance accumulation in
bottom sediments, are concerns. Low levels of mercury, and high levels of PCBs have
been detected in sturgeon from the lake (WDNR, 1991). A fish consumption advisory
for PCBs has been issued for the lake's sturgeon (WDNR, 1991). Sensitive areas were
identified in the lake during summer and fall of 1991 and a report is underway (Sesing,
1991-1992). The city of Portage moved its municipal discharge from the Fox River to
the Wisconsin River just above Lake Wisconsin. A 1985 study found no adverse impacts
on lake water quality due to the Portage discharge (Marshall, 1985). Contaminated
sediment sites exist in Grubers Bay, an arm of the lake near the Badger Army
Ammunition Plant (BAAP) (WDNR, 1991). Grubers Bay received water for the BAAP
wastewater treatment facility in the past. Wisconsin Power & Light, owner of the Prairie
Du Sac dam, has put together a "comprehensive water quality plan." The plan will look
at water chemistry, chlorophyll a, sediment, phytoplankton and zooplankton, benthic
macroinvertebrales, and aquatic plants in Lake Wisconsin. Data will be provided to the
DNR (Water Regulation and Zoning, 1993).

Wisconsin Power & Light Company, as part of the Federal Enera Regulatory
Commission (FERC) relicensing process conducted water quality, algal. fisheries and
sediment contaminant studies during 1992. Continuous dissolved oxygen monitoring at
the dam tailrace showed the water quality standard of 5 mgll was violated more than
half of July, a good portion of August and a few days in September, 1992. The worst
two-day period occurred July 27-28, when the maximum dissolved oxygen was 3.6 mgll,
the minimum 1.7 mgll. The suggested cause of the problem is a combination of the
existence of the danr and the high nutrient loads in the river. This leads to excessive
algae growth in Lake Wisconsin. Wlen the algae die off, they deplete oxygen near the
dam.

Date  1994

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Source: 1965, Surface Water Resources of Columbia County (Lake)Wisconsin, T10, 11N, R7, 8E,

A major impoundment of the Wisconsin River in southern Wisconsin in 1914. The lake is maintained by a dam of 38-foot head owned by the Wisconsin Power Light Company. The water is brown and moderately fertile. Largemouth bass, panfish and walleye are most common in the fishery. Other species contributing to the catch are muskellunge and northern pike and sturgeon. This lake is the most southerly lake in Wisconsin having a sturgeon population, and one of only a few. Use problems are weeds, algae, carp, and pollution. The shallow bays and backwaters are subject to winterkill during severe winters. This situation amplifies the pollution problem and the surviving fish often have a disagreeable flavor that lasts until the spring thaw. Public access is provided at many sites, and numerous commercial facilities provide additional use opportunities. Unique access and fishing situations are provided by roads which cross arms of the impoundment. Also, it is crossed by one of the few remaining inland ferries. Nearly one thousand acres of lowland marsh adjoin the lake. Waterfowl are numerous, important visitors year-round. In winter one may observe American eagles below the dam at Prairie du Sac.

Surface Acres = 9,000, S.D.F. = 4.38, Maximum Depth = 24 feet

Date  1965

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Lake Wisconsin, Lake Wisconsin,Honey Creek,Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW16, LW18, LW19) Fish and Aquatic LifeLake Wisconsin, Lake Wisconsin,Honey Creek,Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW16, LW18, LW19) RecreationLake Wisconsin, Lake Wisconsin,Honey Creek,Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW16, LW18, LW19) Fish Consumption

Condition

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.

Reports

Recommendations

Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Follow-up monitoring after sediment cleanup in Gruber's Grove Mercury site.
Land Acquisition
The Town of Merrimac will purchase the Clingman Property on Lake Wisconsin in the County of Sauk (approx. 15.1 acres).
Land Acquisition
The Town of Lodi proposes to acquire 8.5 acres of land in the Okee Bay area of Lake Wisconsin for recreational opportunities and lake protection.
Monitor Fish Tissue
Confirm FCA: IW listed from pre-year 2000 FCA data
Rivers Planning Grant
Lake Wisconsin Alliance will undertake a River Planning Grant project that will expand outreach and education of Lake Wisconsin natural and recreational resources, and lake water quality issues. The goal is to increase membership, provide identity to the LWA, and inform citizens living within the Lake Wisconsin watershed. Deliverables: 1. The Lake Wisconsin Alliance technical advisory team will provide action items to LWA members to help attain goals and objectives to protect and enhance L. Wisconsin. 2. Communicate the LWA mission and organizational roles through brochures and website development. 3. Develop a logo to give the alliance identity. 4. Website membership development to assist in expansion of membership, and develop a calendar of activities hosted by the alliance. 5. Host workshops and seminars to educate the public on lake water quality and strategies that help protect/enhance lake water quality.

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

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

Lake Wisconsin is located in the Honey Creek watershed which is 217.78 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (39.50%), agricultural (33.20%) and a mix of grassland (15.80%) and other uses (11.40%). This watershed has 430.53 stream miles, 301.07 lake acres and 9,324.41 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Medium for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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.This water is ranked High Lake for individual Impoundments based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.

Natural Community

Lake Wisconsin is considered a Impounded Flowing Water 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.

This classification includes waterbodies created by dams (mill ponds, reservoirs, flowages, and other impoundments) with a residence time of 14 days or more (under summer (June – Sept) mean low flow conditions with a 1 in 10 year recurrence interval (US EPA 2000)). Many natural lakes also have dams or water level control structures. However, to be included in the Impounded Flowing Waters category, the dam or water level control structure, must account for more than half of a waterbody’s maximum depth. Impoundments with a residence time of less than 14 days should be covered under the rivers and stream assessment methodology process.

Fish Stocking