Lake Emily, Lower Grand River Watershed (UF11)
Lake Emily, Lower Grand River Watershed (UF11)
Lake Emily (161600)
268.24 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.
Shallow Headwater
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, Eutrophication
Total Phosphorus
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
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.


Lake Emily, in the Lower Grand River Watershed, is a 268.23 acre lake that falls in Dodge County. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently considered impaired.

Date  2018

Author  Ashley Beranek

Historical Description

Source: 1965, Surface Water Resources of Dodge County

Emily Lake T13N, R13E, S4,5
Surface Acres = 268, S.D.F. = 1.27, Maximum Depth 12 feet

A shallow, fertile lake originally formed when the Green Lake
recessional moraine blocked the outlet stream from a marshy
depression. The lake is principally fed by seepage and springs,
although runoff from a small watershed no doubt contributes to
maintain water levels. The intermittent outlet stream drains
westward to the Grand River, making Emily the only lake in Dodge
County which lies in the Great Lakes Drainage System; the others
drain to the Mississippi River. A newly constructed 4-foot dam
located on this run has raised and maintained water levels while
preventing the entry of undesirable species from the Grand River
system. Littoral materials range from silt, sand and gravel to
coarse rubble. Most portions of the lake support luxuriant growths
of rooted vegetation. The fishery consists primarily of perch,
bluegills, largemouth bass, northern pike and several other species
in lesser numbers. Mallards, teal, wood ducks, and coot have been
observed to raise broods here, and hunting has been good in recent
years. Public access is provided by an unimproved launching ramp
and parking area on the northeast side of the lake Off County
Highway A. Although 17 dwellings are located on or near the
shoreline, the presence of a beaver lodge in 1964 attests to the
existence of some largely undeveloped areas.
History shows Lake Emily has suffered from severe winterkills
on several occasions, the most recent occurring in 1958-59 and
1961-62. An excessive population of carp in the 1950's resulted in
a decline of game fish, vegetation, and water clarity. A Wisconsin
Conservation Department chemical treatment project in June of 1959
led to striking changes. Fishing has been improving steadily
following restocking. Waterfowl use increased greatly with the
return of submergent vegetation, and it was common to see up to
3,000 ducks on the lake the following autumn. Unfortunately, a
washout around the old outlet dam allowed the reentry of carp;
reoccurrence of which is now prevented by the new dam. A second
chemical treatment program will be initiated should carp again
become a problem. Regardless of the ever present winterkill
potential, the benefits derived during the good years overshadow
natural setbacks and justify the continuance of intensive

Date  1965

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Lake Emily, Lower Grand River Watershed (UF11) Fish and Aquatic LifeLake Emily, Lower Grand River Watershed (UF11) RecreationLake Emily, Lower Grand River Watershed (UF11) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Lake Emily has been on the Impaired Waters List for phosphorus since the 2014 cycle. Evaluations every two-year cycle from 2016 to 2022 confirmed the phosphorus listing.

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.



Shoreland Ordinance
Dodge County Planning & Development Department is interested in revising the Dodge County Shoreland Zoning Regulations and adopting a "waterway" classification system to better regulate and manage the county's water resources.

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

Lake Emily is located in the Lower Grand River watershed which is 109.39 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (44.50%), wetland (23.10%) and a mix of forest (15.90%) and other uses (16.50%). This watershed has 185.16 stream miles, 1,264.36 lake acres and 13,715.30 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Ranked 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

Lake Emily is considered a Shallow Headwater 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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