Fish and Aquatic Life
Crystal Lake, in Strum, is a 45 acre impoundment of the Buffalo River with a watershed of approximately 52,000 acres. The Upper Buffalo River Watershed (BT08) map in this plan shows its location. Crystal lake was created in 1937 and covered roughly 80 acres with a volume of 330 acre ft. Fifty years of sedimentation have reduced the lake's volume to less than 120 acre ft.
In 1980, WDNR staff conducted a lake rehabilitation feasibility study (WDNR, 1982) in response to complaints over diminished recreational opportunities in Crystal Lake. Sedimentation, rough fish, turbidity and periodic algal blooms were degrading the lake. The study revealed the following:
·Maximum depth in the millpond was 6.5 feet with an average depth of 2.7 feet.
·Volume was approximately 121.5 acre ft.
·Water residence time during average flow conditions (93 cfs) was about 16 hours.
·Sediment trap efficiency was 15 20 percent.
·About 15 percent of the watershed area was contributing nearly 60 percent of upland soil loss.
The report recommended:
·Removal of 175,000 cubic yards of soft sediment, preferably by mechanical dredging, to avoid the need for settling pond sites required for hydraulic dredging.
·Installation of erosion control measures on a minimum of 6,500 acres with greater than 10 ton/acre/year soil loss rates and repair 16 major stream bank erosion sites.
·Eradication of rough fish during drawdown; refill and stock bass and panfish.
In 1992, the Village of Strum conducted a lake restoration project on Crystal Lake. The project included mechanically dredging approximately 200,000 cubic yards of sediments and installing fish cribs and a sand blanket on the public beach. The dredging project enhanced fish habitat within the lake by contouring the lake bottom to a variety of depths. Largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, yellow perch and trout have been stocked. A sediment trap was also constructed near the mouth of Johnson Valley Creek where it enters the impoundment. Periodic dredging of this trap will likely prolong the life of Crystal Lake.
A citizen volunteer is currently monitoring the Secchi depth of Crystal Lake through the WDNR Self-Help Lakes Monitoring program. Adopt-A-Lake participants on this lake could aid in increasing awareness about and protective actions for this lake.
WDNR staff inspected the Strum Dam in August 1989. WDNR recommended repairing the concrete dam and adjoining embankment as well as adding warning signs around the dam. Recommendations also included developing a written plan for dam operation and maintenance (Coke, 1989). WDNR had received no such plan as of April 1996. Continued maintenance of this dam would prolong its life and likely reduce the risk of dam failure or removal orders.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Strum Lake is a soft water, drainage impoundment located on the Buffalo River at the Village of Strum. The water is clear, alkaline, and has a low transparency. The Town of Unity owns the dam and the structure has a height of eight feet. This impoundment was chemically treated in 1963 to eradicate the fish present and was restocked with largemouth bass and bluegill. Other fish present include green sunfish, brook, brown, and rainbow trout. Carp are present but are not a problem. Aquatic vegetation, including algae, is a problem and chemical treatment has been used as a control measure. A village park on the south side of the lake and a county park on the north side of the lake provide public access in addition to navigable access via the river. Muskrat are significant and beaver are present. Waterfowl use includes nesting mallard and teal and migrant puddle ducks.
Source: 1970, Surface Water Resources of Trempealeau County Strum Lake, T24N, R8W, S18 Surface Acres = 31.1, S.D.F. = 1.54, Maximum Depth = 7.5 feet.
Author Aquatic Biologist
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.
1.The Village of Strum should continue to raise funds annually to maintain the sediment trap for Crystal Lake and support future dredging projects (Type C).
2.WDNR Watershed Management (WT) staff should consider Crystal Lake a high priority to receive a Lake Management Planning Grant (Type B).
3.Strum should consider applying for a Lake Management Planning Grant to develop long-term solutions for lake management (Type C).
4.Strum should conduct all repairs listed in the 1989 WDNR Dam Safety Inspection Report (Type C).
5.Strum should submit a written operation and maintenance plan to WDNR for the Strum Mill Dam as requested in the 1989 Dam Safety Inspection Report (Type C).
6.The Eleva-Strum School District or community youth organizations should consider developing an Adopt-A-Lake program for Crystal Lake to increase lake awareness and understanding among youth (Type C).
7.WT staff should conduct additional water quality testing on Crystal Lake to build on existing data (Type B).
Author Aquatic Biologist
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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|1825100||Strum Lake (Crystal)||10005942||Strum Lake||8/29/2000||8/19/2017||Map||Data|
|1825100||Strum Lake (Crystal)||10043923||Strum Lake Beach||6/21/2015||8/30/2021||Map||Data|
Strum Lake (Crystal) is located in the Upper Buffalo River watershed which is 194.36 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (41.70%), agricultural (33.70%) and a mix of grassland (17.50%) and other uses (7.10%). This watershed has 438.86 stream miles, 85.35 lake acres and 6,107.52 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available 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.