Fish and Aquatic Life
Butternut Lake, in the Butternut Creek Watershed, is a 983.20 acre lake that falls in Ashland and Price Counties. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently considered impaired.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Source: 1983, Surface Water Resources of Price County,WI: WI-DNR Butternut Lake, T40N-T41N, RIW, Section 8 Surface Area = 1,006.2 acres, Maximum Depth = 32 ft, MPA = 69 ppm, Secchi disk = 6 ft.
A large, hard water, drainage lake located on Butternut Creek, this lake has six inlet streams of varying size and flow. Its estimated outlet flow to the Flambeau River is 15.5 ft(3)sec. Butternut Lake has a fishery of muskellunge, northern pike, walleyes, perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegills, black crappies, rock bass, pumpkinseeds, black bullheads, white suckers, redhorse, burbot, rock sturgeons and common shiners. The lake has a medium brown water color. In the past, a poorly operating sewage treatment plant upstream caused periodic algae blooms throughout the open-water season. Since that time, the problem has been corrected and the algae blooms decreased. Aquatic vegetation is sparse and scattered around the lake. The littoral bottom is mainly sand with small amounts of gravel, rubble, bedrock and muck. Swamps make up 15% of the shoreline, while the remainder is hardwood and pine. A large number of ducks nest each year by Butternut Lake, and other ducks, coots, geese and swans use the lake in fair lake numbers during spring and fall migrations. Furbearer use is insignificant. Private development consists of 9 resorts, 2 boat rentals and 160 cottages or homes. The lake has four public boat landings, one each on the north and east sides, and two on the west side.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Butternut Lake (WBIC 2283300) was placed on the impaired waters list for Mercury in 1998 and for total phosphorus/excess algal growth in 2012. The 2018 assessments showed continued excess algal growth; new chlorophyll-a sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use, and were only nearly below the FAL use thresholds. Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.
Author Ashley Beranek
Butternut Lake (2283300) was placed on the impaired waters list for Mercury in 1998 and for total phosphorus/excess algal growth in 2012. The 2016 assessments showed continued excess algal growth; chlorophyll sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use, however, total phosphorus did not exceed REC thresholds. Total phosphorus and chlorophyll data were clearly below Fish and Aquatic Life listing thresholds. Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.
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.
Water Quality Modeling
The Price County Land Conservation Dept will sponsor a project which will collect all needed data to create a response model for Butternut Lake including a water budget, detailed phosphorus budget, lake water quality modeling and evaluation of groundwater impacts.
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|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||513121||Butternut Lake - Deep Hole||7/19/1973||9/18/2019||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||10020263||Butternut Lake -- Carry-In||9/18/2013||9/18/2013||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||10039805||SW Tributary 1 to Butternut Lake at Cth B Near Park Falls WI||11/14/2002||5/13/2003||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||10019537||Butternut Lake - North Launch Access||6/24/2008||2/11/2020||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||513148||Butternut Lake - Deep Hole Near Park Falls WI||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||513195||Butternut Lake - Butternut Lake||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||10040950||Butternut Lake Piezometer No 1 near Park Falls WI||7/21/2004||7/21/2004||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||513120||Butternut Lake - N end near inlet||7/19/1973||10/10/1974||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||513149||Butternut Lake - Deep Hole Near Park Falls WI||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||10020262||Butternut Lake -- Grants Landing||6/5/2005||9/18/2013||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||10005263||Butternut Lake||4/20/1985||9/19/2019||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||513150||Butternut Lake - Deep Hole Near Park Falls WI||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||10019265||Butternut Lake -- Access at Cth B||6/17/2010||2/11/2020||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||513153||Butternut Lake - Deep Hole||Map||Data|
|2283300||Butternut Lake||10040955||Butternut Lake Piezometer No 6 near Park Falls WI||7/21/2004||7/21/2004||Map||Data|
Butternut Lake is located in the Butternut Creek watershed which is 77.66 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (58.30%), wetland (29.20%) and a mix of grassland (7.20%) and other uses (5.30%). This watershed has 80.85 stream miles, 1,375.00 lake acres and 13,529.86 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Ranked 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.