Big Roche a Cri Lake, Big Roche A Cri Creek Watershed (CW06)
Big Roche a Cri Lake, Big Roche A Cri Creek Watershed (CW06)
Big Roche a Cri Lake (1374800)
216.51 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.
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.
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.
Streams capable of supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.


Big Roche a Cri Lake is a hard water drainage impoundment located on Big Roche-a-Cri Creek. The dam has a 17 foot head and it was recently sold by the Wisconsin Power and Light Company to Adams County. The clear water is alkaline and has a high transparency. Northern pike, largemouth bass, bluegills, black crappies, yellow perch, black and brown bullheads and white suckers comprise the fishery. Brown trout are caught occasionally near the upper end of the flowage. Carp are also present, but have not caused a management problem. The lake contains slow-growing panfish, especially bluegill. Aquatic vegetation is a problem during the summer months. There is public access from STH 13 and from a boat launching site immediately east of the highway crossing. Commercial resort facilities are available and there are 99 dwellings around the flowage. Muskrat are present. Mallard and blue-winged teal broods may be observed during the summer.

Source: 1966, Surface Water Resources of Adams County Big Roche-a-Cri Lake, T18N, R6E, Section 5 Surface Acres = 122.3, S.D.F. = 3.9, Maximum Depth = 20 feet

Date  1966

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Big Roche a Cri Lake, Big Roche A Cri Creek Watershed (CW06) Fish and Aquatic LifeBig Roche a Cri Lake, Big Roche A Cri Creek Watershed (CW06) RecreationBig Roche a Cri Lake, Big Roche A Cri Creek Watershed (CW06) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Big Roche a Cri Lake (1374800) 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.

Date  2015

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.



Educate and engage residents
Watershed Mapping or Assessment
Monitor Invasive Species
Lakes Planning Grant
Project Deliverable
hire interns to inventory waterfront properties on Big Roche-a-Cri Creek and Big Roche-a-Cri Lake to identify areas contributing to lake sedimentation, phosphorus inputs and invasive species infestation. Major project elements to include: a) shoreline inventory, b) mapping, c) development of GIS layers, and d) project administration.
Shoreland Monitoring, Assessment, Inventory
Shoreland Monitoring, Assessment or Inventory
Cost-Share Agreement
Adams County proposes to provide up to 75% of the cost of shoreland restoration practices to lake front property owners with highly erodible shorelines on Big Roche-a-Cri Lake. Grant funds will be distributed to the property owners to install shoreline protection, riparian buffers and stormwater management practices.
Lake Classification
Adams County proposes to wrap up its county-wide lake classification effort. Major project elements to include: 1) completion of water sampling, 2) development of lakes classification report and individual lake summaries, 3) development of a powerpoint presentation, 4) four public meetings, 5) expansion of shoreline restoration packet.
Lake Classification
Adams County continue its lake classification efforts through collecting and assessing chemical and biological data on all lakes within the county that afford public access. Major project componants to include: 1) collection and assessment of chemical and biological data, 2) development of a "library" of information for public use, 3) development of management recommendations, 4) I&E for riparians and lake users.
Lake Classification
Adams County proposes to initiate a Lakes Classification effort to assist in comprehensive plan development for communities surrounding its lakes with public access. Phase 1 elements, to be funded with this grant, include: 1) delination of surface watersheds and flow patterns, 2) delineation of ground watersheds, 3) identification and mapping of land uses, 4) inventory and mapping of shoreline erosion and development problems, 5) identification and mapping of sensitive/critical areas and natural heritage habitats, 6) verification of wetland delineations, 7) delineations of lake watersheds, 8) development of lake maps

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

Big Roche a Cri is located in the Big Roche A Cri Creek watershed which is 177.00 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (51.50%), agricultural (31.10%) and a mix of wetland (7.10%) and other uses (10.30%). This watershed has stream miles, lake acres and 11,429.84 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Low 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

Big Roche a Cri Lake is considered a Reservoir 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.