Eau Claire Lake, Middle, Upper St. Croix and Eau Claire Rivers Watershed (SC18)
Eau Claire Lake, Middle, Upper St. Croix and Eau Claire Rivers Watershed (SC18)
Eau Claire Lake, Middle (2742100)
829.77 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.
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 headwater 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.
Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
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.


Eau Claire Lake, Middle, in the Upper St. Croix and Eau Claire Rivers Watershed, is a 879.72 acre lake that falls in Bayfield County. This lake is an outstanding/exceptional resource water under NR102 under the Fisheries Program. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently not considered impaired.

Date  2011

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

The three major lakes of this chain are the Upper, Middle and Lower Eau Claire Lakes.
Situated at the headwaters of the Eau Ciaire River these lakes have been long recognized as
outstanding, and indeed have been formally recognized as such by their nomination as
"Outstanding Resource Waters." These clear water lakes are connected by stream and the
middle and lower lakes are connected by a navigable channel with an assist from a mechanical
small boat lock.

There appears to be a slight decline in water quality down this chain with the Upper Lake
exhibiting oligotrophic characteristics and the Middle and Lower Lakes showing signs of perhaps
increasing levels of fertility. Because of this perception, the Upper and Lower Lakes were
chosen to be monitored as part of the Department's long term trend monitoring program.
Intensive monitoring has been ongoing on these lakes since 1986.
A self-help volunteer has been collecting water clarity data on the Middle Lake since 1988 and
volunteers on the Upper and Lower Lakes would be desireable to supplement the Department's
long term data. The lakes are represented by a regional association and this group has been an
enthusiastic participant in early lake management endeavors. "Swimmers itch," an infestation of
the "rusty" crayfish and lake water use conflicts are some of the problems confronting these

The preservation of the present high level of water quality and the development of
comprehensive long range lake management plans should be goals for this chain of lakes.
These three ORW nominated lakes should be considered as priority candidates for a protection
oriented Priority Lakes project.

Date  1992

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Eau Claire Lake, Middle, Upper St. Croix and Eau Claire Rivers Watershed (SC18) Fish and Aquatic LifeEau Claire Lake, Middle, Upper St. Croix and Eau Claire Rivers Watershed (SC18) RecreationEau Claire Lake, Middle, Upper St. Croix and Eau Claire Rivers Watershed (SC18) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Middle Eau Claire Lake (WBIC 2742100) was placed on the impaired waters list for phosphorus in 2014. This lake was evaluated in the 2022 cycle for phosphorus and levels were below criteria; the lake was delisted in the 2022 cycle and is on the Healthy Waters List.

Date  2022

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.



Lake Management Plan Development
In combination with two other planning grant applications for Upper and Lower Lake Eau Claire, the Town of Barnes proposes to develop a management plan for the lake system that integrates with the town comprehensive land use plan. The scope includes an investigation of shoreland buffer areas and recommend best management practices, review of town and county ordinances with recommendations for revisions, delineation and digital mapping of the lake watershed, watershed modeling, compilation of existing water quality and environmental information about the lakes, conducting and analyzing a social survey.

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

Middle Eau Claire Lake is located in the Upper St. Croix and Eau Claire Rivers watershed which is 277.89 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (83.90%), wetland (9.50%) and a mix of open (4.30%) and other uses (2.40%). This watershed has 153.93 stream miles, 7,654.41 lake acres and 13,694.48 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked for runoff impacts on lakes and Low for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Low. 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

Eau Claire Lake, Middle is considered a Two-Story under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results and 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 headwater lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.

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