Fish and Aquatic Life
The Little Turtle River flows out of the Grand Portage. Martha, and Mercer Lakes system and into the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage. The Mercer Wastewater Treatment Plant discharges to the Little Turtle at the outlet of Mercer Lake. Dye studies have shown that effluent flows back into Mercer Lake (WRM). Abundant algal growth occurs in the lake near the discharge. Floating clumps of algae at nuisance levels are common throughout the lake during summer months. In addition to nutrient inputs from the treatment plant, failing septic systems and lawn fertilizers could also be contributing nutrients to the system. The Little Turtle River supports a warm water sport fish community and experiences runs of northern pike. It may have had sturgeon runs before the dam forming the Little Turtle Flowage was built.
Author Aquatic Biologist
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.
Lake Management Plan Development
The Mercer Lake Association in cooperation with the Town of Mercer and the US Geological Service (USGS) will conduct a lake/watershed evaluation and develop a final lake/watershed management plan.
Water Quality Planning
Evaluate recommendations from Mercer Lake Management (2014) and identify key recommendations for management.
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|
|2312800||Little Turtle River||10032397||Little Turtle River at Hwy. 51 Mercer||6/21/2017||9/26/2019||Map||Data|
|2312800||Little Turtle River||263125||Grand Portage Lake - Outlet||10/30/2007||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2312800||Little Turtle River||263002||Little Turtle River - Old Sth 51 Mercer||Map||Data|
Little Turtle River is located in the Flambeau Flowage watershed which is 247.18 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (56.80%), wetland (28.20%) and a mix of open (14.10%) and other uses (0.90%). This watershed has 190.98 stream miles, 10,199.06 lake acres and 43,978.35 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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.