Fish and Aquatic Life
Birch Lake is a 368-acre drainage lake on the Red Cedar River connected to and downstream from Lake Chetac. The village of Birchwood is adjacent to the south and west shorelines of this lake. A 19-foot water control structure is located on the outlet of the lake. Current water quality data is lacking on this lake and it would be desirable to document the trophic condition of ths important headwaters area lake.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Source: 1978, Surface Water Resources of Washburn County Birch Lake, T37N, R9,10W, Section 19, 24, 25,
A hard water, drainage lake in southeast Washburn County, and partly in Sawyer County between Balsam and Chetac Lakes. It is the headwaters area of the Red Cedar River watershed. A 19-foot headwater control structure is located on the outlet, Birch Creek. The structure, a concrete roller dam, formerly owned by Northern States Power, is now owned by Washburn County with maintenance agreements with the local towns. The normal estimated outlet flow is 35 cubic feet per second. This deep, clear-water lake has a fishery of walleyes, northern pike, largemouth bass, a few smallmouth bass, bluegills, black crappies, pumpkinseed, perch, white suckers, bowfin, and several minnow species. The lake is irregularly shaped and has a rocky, gravel shore in most places, and is steeply sloped along the northwest shore, parts of the south shore and the inlet. West of the inlet off the north shore is a bay with an abundance of aquatic vegetation. There is little that can be called wetlands near the lake, but a few dabbler ducks and loon nest near the wild parts of the lake. Furbearer use is insignificant. There are 11 resorts and 42 cottages and homes on the lakeshore, which is partly in the Village of Birchwood. A county park, Doolittle Park, offers swimming, picnicking, camping, and a public boat launching ramp. Another public access is located east of the dam on the south shore. Public frontage amounts to 0.56 mile of which 0.19 mile is the frontage of four state-owned islands within the lake.
Surface Acres-368.0, Maximum Depth-73 feet, M.P.A.-56 ppm
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
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.
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Insufficient TP data to make assessment. Further TP monitoring recommended.
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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|2113000||Birch Lake||10018252||Birch Lake -- Access Nr Doolittle Rd||7/4/2013||8/4/2020||Map||Data|
|2113000||Birch Lake||10020124||Birch Lake -- Ramp Near Dam||8/10/2004||8/17/2020||Map||Data|
|2113000||Birch Lake||583094||Birch Lake - Deep Hole||7/23/1995||9/4/2020||Map||Data|
|2113000||Birch Lake||10006892||Birch Lake (Washburn County)||9/5/2000||10/7/2020||Map||Data|
|2113000||Birch Lake||10048295||Birch Lake at CTY F Bridge||4/23/2017||10/24/2020||Map||Data|
|2113000||Birch Lake||663060||Birch Lake at Deep Hole||Map||Data|
Birch Lake is located in the Red Cedar Lake watershed which is 140.01 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (74%), wetland (11.20%) and a mix of open (7.40%) and other uses (7.40%). This watershed has 167.65 stream miles, 6,893.24 lake acres and 7,428.58 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Low for runoff impacts on streams, Medium for runoff impacts on lakes and Low for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Low. 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.