Lake Desair, Brill and Red Cedar Rivers Watershed (LC10)
Lake Desair, Brill and Red Cedar Rivers Watershed (LC10)
Lake Desair (2104500)
79.48 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.
Deep Lowland
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.
This lake is impaired
Eutrophication, Excess Algal Growth
Total Phosphorus, Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
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.
Deep Seepage
Deep seepage lake describes the depth and hydrologic charactertistics of the lake. 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.


Desair Lake is an 81-acre drainage lake about three miles northwest of Rice Lake. This lake has an active lake association and is sparsely developed. Water quality is impaired. Algae blooms are a problem during the summer. A volunteer has been collecting water clarity information since 1991 and began collecting phosphorus and chlorophyll information in 1993. Though small, the lake has a relatively large watershed of 6.59 square miles and a resultant high, 521, watershed-to-lake surface ratio. Historically the watershed had a significant percentage of agricultural land uses, 75 percent in 1964. By 2012 cropland was 44 percent of the watershed and pasture, still shrinking, was 17 percent.

Desair Lake Restoration, Inc. was formed in 1993 by 22 lake residents and much work has been done by this group including water quality monitoring, shoreline restoration, slow no wake zone establishment, and aerator installation to prevent fish kills. The group has also done a lot of work on reducing sediment erosion in the lake's watershed by building over 700 feet of stream bank restoration, detention pond construction (three as of 2014 with more scheduled), rain garden construction, gabion dam construction, increased lake lot size with larger set backs, re-vegetation of historically pastured marsh and stream areas, and working with local farmers to implement farming techniques that reduce field soil erosion.

Date  2014

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Source: 1964, Surface Water Resources of Barron County Lake Desair T35N, R11W, Section 6

A soft water seepage lake with an intermittent outlet flowing to Bear Creek. Its fish population consists of northern pike, largemouth bass, bluegills, crappies and bullheads. Walleyes are also present. Five acres of wetlands provide habitat for muskrats, nesting mallards, black ducks, blue-winged teal, wood ducks, hooded mergansers, coot and loon. Canada geese also use the lake during migratory periods. It is accessible from a county road access on the west shore. Private development consists of four cottages. It has no other public frontage other than the access. The land surrounding the lake is pastured upland hardwood.

Surface Acres = 73.7, S.D.F. =1.66, Maximum Depth = 33 feet

Date  1964

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Lake Desair, Brill and Red Cedar Rivers Watershed (LC10) Fish and Aquatic LifeLake Desair, Brill and Red Cedar Rivers Watershed (LC10) RecreationLake Desair, Brill and Red Cedar Rivers Watershed (LC10) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Lake Desair (WBIC 2104500) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus and sediment/total suspended solids in 1998. Lake Desair was assessed during the 2018 Impaired Waters listing cycle, using data collected between 2007 and 2016. Impairments were determined based on water quality standards outlined in Wisconsin 2018 Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (WisCALM). Assessment results show water conditions that are not suitable for Aquatic Life and Recreation uses.

Total phosphorus and chlorophyll-a data were reviewed during the assessment of this lake. All values fall into the range expected for an aquatic community in poor health. Because of this, this lake is still listed as impaired due to total phosphorus, eutrophication, and excess algal growth.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek


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.



Partnership Project
Lower Turtle Lake Mgt. District, in partnership with Upper and Lower Turtle Lake Associations and Barron Co. SWCD, will sponsor a project to reduce erosion, improve habitat and water quality, continue monitoring efforts, and expand information and education outreach in the Turtle Lakes watershed. Activities include: 1) initiate farmer incentive program for "no till" and other agricultural BMPs; 2) restore shorelines and implement residential BMPs ; 3) complete whole-lake, point-intercept aquatic plant surveys and management plans on both lakes; 4) monitor tributary and lake water quality and quantity; 5) expand outreach efforts, including annual lake fairs and farm progress events.
Monitor Paleocore
Three cores were taken from three different sites within Lake Desair. Analysis of the diatom community was performed.

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

Lake Desair is located in the Brill and Red Cedar Rivers watershed which is 297.68 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (49.40%), agricultural (20.30%) and a mix of grassland (10.70%) and other uses (19.60%). This watershed has 264.90 stream miles, 6,282.34 lake acres and 15,832.05 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Medium for runoff impacts on streams, Medium 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 Lakes based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.

Natural Community

Lake Desair is considered a Deep Lowland 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.

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

Fish Stocking