Fish and Aquatic Life
Rock River Water Quality Management Plan, Lower Rock River Appendix. WT-668-2002. South Central Region, WDNR.
Lake Ripley, a small kettle lake, has good water quality and a very good sport fishery. Much of the lake's shoreline is developed with the village of Cambridge on the west end and summer cottages and year-round homes on the north and south shores. There is a wetland on the east end of the lake that remains undeveloped. Agricultural runoff contributes nutrients and sediments to the lake, and the village of Cambridge and lake cottages and homes also degrade the lake's water quality. Excess nutrients has spurred the growth of Eurasian water milfoil, an aggressive non-native plant, in the lake. a 1989 aquatic plant survey indicates milfoil, which grows in the lake in depths from roughly 2 to 12 feet, has spread to about 50 percent of the lake, concentrating boat traffic in the lake's middle.
Lake Ripley has been the subject of a small-scale priority watershed project since 1994, when its appraisal report was published. The appraisal work indicates that the lake's water quality is on a continued steady decline due to excess phosphorus and sediment inputs. In former years these inputs were almost exclusively from agricultural fields. Residential development of the lake's immediate subwatershed, including 70 percent of its direct shoreline, contributes to high levels of phosphorus and sediment, has lowered aquatic species diversity, and threatens the survival of the Blanding's turtle, an endangered species in Wisconsin.
In 1993 the lake experienced its first reported blue-green algae bloom. High precipitation levels that year and ensuing years have contributed to the influx of pollutants, reflecting the primary source of nutrients--watershed contributions. Lake Ripley is dimictic, meaning it stratifies twice yearly, becoming anoxic in its hypolimnion during winter and summer. This condition likely contributes phosphorus from in-lake sediment during spring and fall mixing; WDNR researchers are involved in estimating in-lake sediment contributions to overall phosphorus loading rates. The lake's priority watershed plan should guide management efforts into the future.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Source: 1968, Surface Water Resources of Jefferson County (Lake) Ripley, T6N, R13E, Section 7, 8
A small, deep, compound kettle lake in the end moraine at Cambridge. The lake drains to Koshkonong Creek, over a low-head rubble sill at the outlet. The water is clear and very hard, over a bottom primarily composed of sand and gravel. A good fishery exists for northern pike, walleye, yellow perch, largemouth bass, bluegills and black crappies. Access is provided by several road ends, generally unimproved. A village park on the south shore provides multiple use access. Boat liveries and a scout provide multiple use access. About 130 acres of marshland provide for mallard and blue-winged teal nesting and northern pike spawning.
Surface Acres = 433.0, S.D.F. = 1.40, Maximum Depth = 50 feet
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Lake Ripley Beach was assessed for the 2018 listing cycle; E. coli data sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use. This beach was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.
Author Ashley Beranek
Lake Ripley (809600) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus and chlorophyll sample data were clearly below 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water is meeting these designated uses and is not considered impaired.
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.
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
|Project Name (Click for Details)||Year Started|
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
Lake Ripley is located in the Lower Koshkonong Creek watershed which is 265.61 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (54.20%), wetland (11.60%) and a mix of grassland (10.50%) and other uses (23.70%). This watershed has 283.47 stream miles, 1,735.65 lake acres and 18,171.94 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High 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 InlandBeachs based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.