Kusel Lake, Pine and Willow Rivers Watershed (WR02)
Kusel Lake, Pine and Willow Rivers Watershed (WR02)
Kusel Lake (189600)
73.73 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.
Deep Seepage
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.
Deep Seepage
Deep seepage lake describes the depth and hydrologic charactertistics of the lake. 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.


Kusel Lake, in the Pine and Willow Rivers Watershed, is a 73.73 acre lake that falls in Waushara County. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently considered impaired.

Date  2011

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Source: 1970, Surface Water Resources of Waushara County Kusel Lake T-20-N, R-11-E, Sections 26, 27, 34, 35

A moderate-sized, landlocked, seepage lake that exhibits an irregular basin with an elongated shoreline. The lake has three deep water basins, one in the western portion, one in the central portion and one in the eastern portion. For the most part the physiography of the basins in the shallow water areas is characterized by gradual drop-off s. The littoral zone is extensive around the lake and has bottom materials consisting primarily of sand, with minor amounts of muck. A midsummer thermocline develops in the lake at twenty feet. The unbalanced and slow-growing fish population in this lake has posed a management problem. The fishery of the lake includes bluegill, northern pike, largemouth bass, and walleye. Kusel Lake was chemically treated in 1960 to eradicate the entire fish population composed mainly of stunted bluegills, perch, and crappies. Following the rehabilitation, the lake was restocked with northern pike, walleyes, largemouth bass and bluegills. Each year since the 1960 treatment, fish surveys have been conducted on the lake to follow the growth, development and overall condition of the fish population. Although all game fish species planted were successfully established, only the largemouth bass have been successful in producing hatches each year. Since their introduction in 1961, natural reproduction of bluegills has been highly successful. At no time did enough bluegills ever obtain desirable size for the creel. In an attempt to harvest large numbers of stunted bluegills, the lake was partially chemically treated in September of 1967. The results of this partial treatment are still being evaluated. The presence of one resort, 55 cottages, 2 boat liveries, and one private camp on the shoreline is indicative of the popularity of this lake. The campground is private and can accommodate at least 300 units at the present time. Cottage and homesite development is most intensive along the north shore. The southern shoreline is owned by a church camp and is presently undeveloped. The lake receives heavy recreational use primarily for water skiing and swimming during the summer months. There is public access. The township owns approximately 55 acres (approximately 500 feet of frontage) on the east end of the lake that has potential for being developed into a multiple-use area.

Surface Acres = 79; S.D.F. = 1.85; Maximum Depth = 29 feet

Date  1970

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Kusel Lake, Pine and Willow Rivers Watershed (WR02) Fish and Aquatic LifeKusel Lake, Pine and Willow Rivers Watershed (WR02) RecreationKusel Lake, Pine and Willow Rivers Watershed (WR02) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Kusel Lake (189600) was placed on the impaired waters list due to Mercury in fish tissue in 1998. This water is impaired for Fish Consumption use; a special consumption advisory is in effect for Kusel Lake. This water was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data were clearly below 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use. Chlorophyll data did not exceed REC or FAL listing thresholds. This water was also assessed for chlorides and sample data were clearly below 2016 WisCALM chronic and acute listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water is considered to be meeting both Recreation and Fish and Aquatic Life uses.

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.



Land Acquisition
Waushara county will acquire approximately 30.78 acres of land with 1,150 feet of shoreline to preserve and protect the shoreline and water quality of Kusel Lake.
Monitor Fish Tissue

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

Kusel Lake is located in the Pine and Willow Rivers watershed which is 302.08 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (34.40%), agricultural (27.80%) and a mix of wetland (19.20%) and other uses (18.70%). This watershed has 377.48 stream miles, 11,273.01 lake acres and 33,136.61 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High 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

Kusel Lake is considered a Deep Seepage 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.

Deep seepage lake describes the depth and hydrologic charactertistics of the lake. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.