White Mound Lake, Honey Creek Watershed (LW16)
White Mound Lake, Honey Creek Watershed (LW16)
White Mound Lake (1258100)
92.51 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.
This lake is impaired
Excess Algal Growth
Unknown Pollutant
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 Lowland
Shallow lowland 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.
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.


White Mound Lake is a 104-acre impoundment of a branch of Honey Creek in Sauk County. The lake is a major recreation resource in Sauk County and has suffered from water quality problems thought to be linked to nonpoint source pollution in the 4,474-acre watershed.

White Mound Lake is one of four small impoundments that the Department of Natural Resources monitored from 1999 through 2000. Monitoring has found that many problems in the lake and stream are the result of the impoundment. The water quality problems are mostly attributed to nonpoint sources of pollution from the watershed. This nonpoint pollution contributes to the high nutrient loading in the lake and monitoring has found that White Mound Lake has organically rich bottom sediments. This high level of nutrients causes the lake to be eutrophic. As a result, White Mound Lake tends to have problems with algae growth.

Algae growth and high nutrient load is not only a problem in the lake, however. The stream, both upstream and downstream of the lake, also experiences high algal production. Temperature and dissolved oxygen levels are also affected by the impoundment. Low dissolved oxygen levels have also been found which can also be linked to increased nutrient loading and algal production in the lake and the creek. Impoundments also warm the water and negatively affect the macroinvertebrate community.

In an attempt to rid the lake of some of its nutrients, the impoundment at White Mound Lake has been restructured with a hypolimnetic discharge. The discharge is designed to try to maintain cooler temperatures downstream. At White Mound Lake, monitoring has found that this discharge has increased algal growth as a result of the discharge of the nutrient rich lake water. In addition, the discharge water has been likened to untreated wastewater and is described to have a dark septic color and a strong odor.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

White Mound Lake is a 120-acre impoundment of a branch of Honey Creek in Sauk
County. The lake is a major recreation resource in Sauk County an has suffered from
water quality problems thought to be linked to nonpoint source pollution in the 4,474-acre
watershed (WDNR, 1991).

Date  1994

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Source: 1971, Surface Water Resources of Sauk County White Mound Lake, T10N R3E, Sec. 12

A newly constructed P.L. 566 Honey Creek watershed project located 5.5 miles north of Plain. This impoundment was created by an earthen dike with a 29-foot head across "Shannahon Valley Creek" in the summer of 1970. The dam was closed and the stream was treated with chemicals in the fall of 1970 to remove the forage fish population. The lake will be stocked with largemouth bass and northern pike which should provide an excellent fishery in the near future. Game species common to the watershed are frequently seen in the surrounding uplands. The entire lake lies within 1,248 acres of stateowned land which is being developed as a multiple use recreational area known as the White Mound Recreation Area. Picnic, camping and swimming areas will all be provided. A parking area, boat launching ramp and fishing pier will be located on the northern shore. Public frontage totals 2.25 miles.

Surface area 104.0 acres, S.D.F. = 1.51, Maximum depth 16 feet

Date  1971

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

White Mound Lake, Honey Creek Watershed (LW16) Fish and Aquatic LifeWhite Mound Lake, Honey Creek Watershed (LW16) RecreationWhite Mound Lake, Honey Creek Watershed (LW16) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

White Mound Lake (WBIC 1258100) was placed on the impaired waters list for excess algal growth in 2014. The 2018 assessments showed continued excess algal growth; new chlorophyll-a sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use. Total phosphorus data were clearly below the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use listing thresholds. Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

White Mound Lake (1258100) was placed on the impaired waters list for excess algal growth in 2014. The 2016 assessments showed continued excess algal growth; chlorophyll sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use, however, total phosphorus were clearly below REC thresholds. Total phosphorus and chlorophyll data were clearly below Fish and Aquatic Life listing thresholds. Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson


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.


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

White Mound Lake is located in the Honey Creek watershed which is 217.78 miĀ². 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.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.

Natural Community

White Mound Lake is considered a Reservoir 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.