Silver Lake, Yellow River Watershed (LC09)
Silver Lake, Yellow River Watershed (LC09)
Silver Lake (1881100)
330.71 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
Mercury Contaminated Fish Tissue
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 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.


Silver Lake is a 337-acre seepage lake about five miles northeast of Cumberland. This lake was selected in 1986 as a Long-Term Trend Monitoring lake. Intensive water quality monitoring since that time has revealed that Silver Lake has exceptional water quality with Trophlc State Index values of about 42. This hgh quality aquatic resource has also been classified as an outstanding resource water under the provisions of Chapter NR 102.10 of the Wis. Adm. Code. A volunteer has been collecting water clarity data under the self-help lake monitoring program. The residents around Silver Lake have organized a lake association. This lake does experience fluctuations in water level of several feet in response to the long-term variations in the precipitation and groundwater cycles. Fish tissue analysis for mercury has been conducted, resulting in a fish consumption advisory for walleye 15 to 26 inches long (Categories 2 and 3). This hgh quality lake is susceptible to any increase in phosphorus loading and is a high priority for protection management.

Date  1996

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Source: 1964, Surface Water Resources of Barron County Silver Lake T36N, R13W, Sections 24, 25

A soft water seepage lake, landlocked and having a fish population of northern pike, walleyes, largemouth bass, perch, bluegills, black crappies, rock bass, bullheads, whitefish and white suckers. It is managed as a two-story trout lake and has rainbows present. The lakeshore vegetation consists mainly of upland hardwoods and open farmland with a few scattered white pine. It is accessible at the south end of the lake by county access. Plans are being made for developing a park with swimming facilities here. Total public frontage amounts to 0. 18 miles. Private development consists of 25 cottages and homes.

Surface Acres = 338.5, S.D.F. = 2.25, Maximum Depth = 78 feet

Date  1964

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Silver Lake, Yellow River Watershed (LC09) Fish and Aquatic LifeSilver Lake, Yellow River Watershed (LC09) RecreationSilver Lake, Yellow River Watershed (LC09) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Silver Lake (1881100) was placed on the impaired waters list for Mercury in fish tissue in 1998. This water 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 lake is considered impaired for Fish Consumption use and meeting REC and FAL uses.

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.



Protect Riparian or Shorelands
Silver Lake Association is sponsoring a project to implement shoreline stabilization, restoration, runoff reduction, and wetland restoration practices. Project tasks: 1) Design/stabilization on approximately 10 shoreline sites; 2) Shoreline restoration design technical assistance; 3) Design/installation on approximately 6 runoff reduction sites; 4) Install woody habitat improvement (Fish Sticks) on approximately 4 sites; 5) Design/implement wetland restoration; 6) Landscaper training/education.
Diagnostic/Feasibility Assessment
The Barron County Soil & Water Conservation Department, in cooperation with the US Geological Survey, Dept. of Nat. Res., and a private consultant, will conduct a comprehensive diagnostic/feasibility study of Silver Lake and it's watershed and develop a lake management plan.

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

Silver Lake is located in the Yellow River watershed which is 239.35 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (38%), forest (28.40%) and a mix of grassland (20.50%) and other uses (13.00%). This watershed has 415.31 stream miles, 2,929.80 lake acres and 11,565.29 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.

Natural Community

Silver Lake is considered a Two-Story 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.

Shallow headwater lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.