Fish and Aquatic Life
Big Lake, in the Lower Apple River Watershed, is a 244.71 acre lake that falls in Polk County. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently not considered impaired.
Author Aquatic Biologist
These lakes' communities formed a lake management district approximately a decade ago. They
have financed an independent feasibility study which was completed by "Lim Tech Consultants"
in Oct., 1987. These connected lakes are somewhat unique in that the water quality in
Churchpine is markedly higher than that of Big Lake and to a degree Round Lake. Some of
this difference can be attributed to basin morphometry but it appears that watershed sources
may be impacting the nutrient budget of Big Lake.
A self-help volunteer has been monitoring conditions on these lakes since 1985. It is
recommended that this lake district receive high priority for planning grants or other study
funding to document watershed conditions and plan for possible non-point source remedial
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Source: 1961, Surface Water Resources of Polk County Big Lake T33N, R18W, Sec. 36 Surface Acres = 244.3, S.D.F. = 1.42, Maximum Depth = 25 ft., M.P.A. = 96 A lake with an intermittent outlet, Horse Creek. Fish species present include northern pike, walleyes, Largemouth bass, bluegills, black crappies, rock bass, pumpkinseed, perch and bullheads. Public frontage consists of two 20-foot town roads without parking and four unimproved platted access roadways (190 feet). Private developments include 17 cottages. Muskrats are common. Mallards and blue-winged teal may nest here.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Big Lake (WBIC 2615900) was placed on the impaired waters list for excess algal growth in 2014. The 2018 assessments showed continued excess algal growth; new chlorophyll-a sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use. Total phosphorus data were clearly below the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use listing thresholds. Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.
Author Ashley Beranek
Big Lake (2615900) was placed on the impaired waters list for excess algal growth in 2014. This water was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data were clearly below 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use. Chlorophyll sample data were clearly below FAL use listing thresholds and did not exceed REC listing thresholds. This water will remain listed for excess algal growth because chlorophyll data was not clearly below REC 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 not meeting Recreation use and meeting Fish and Aquatic Life use.
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.
Habitat Restoration - Shoreland
The following practices are dispersed along all three lakes: fish sticks on 1 and 350 ft2 native plantings on 8 lakeshore properties.
ATTAINS Water Identified for Protection
Church Pine, Round, and Big Lake P & R District will implement best practices described in Wisconsin's 2014-2017 Healthy Lakes Implementation Plan. Practices include: fish sticks on 1 and 350 ft2 native plantings on 8 lakeshore properties, respectively. The best practices require a contract to remain in effect for 10 years and must include minimum operation and maintenance requirements and data collection as described in grant condition #17.
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Nutrient Budget Development
ATTAINS Implementation Initiated
Round & Big Lake Protect. & Rehab. Dist. Proposes to implement several parts of Big Lake Macrophyte Management Plan. The project activities include : A) a complete Lake District Homeowners education of the management plan implementation. B) The pilot treatment program to reduce plant density and control curly leaf pondweed. C) the third part of this project is a complete evaluation of all of parts of the pilot treatment programs (part B).
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
|Project Name (Click for Details)||Year Started|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: Big, Round, Church Pine Aquatic Plant Management Plan||2009|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: Big and Church Pine Aquatic Plant Surveys||2009|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: Church Pine, Big, & Round Lakes Macrophyte Management Plans||1996|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: Church Pine, Round and Big Lake Clean Boats Clean Waters Project 2015||2015|
|CHURCH PINE, ROUND AND BIG LAKE P & R DIST.: LMI-Big Lake Macrophyte Plan Implementation||1997|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: APM Plan Implementation||2013|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: HLk-Church Pine, Round, & Big Lakes Healthy Lakes Project||2015|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: Church Pine, Round and Big CLP, PL, and Knotweed Control||2018|
|Fish Propagation Actions||2001|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: Church Pine, Round, Big Lake Clean Boats Clean Waters Project 2014||2014|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: Church Pine Round & Big Lake P&R District 2017 CBCW||2017|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: APM Plan Implementation||2011|
|POLK COUNTY LWRD: Church Pine, Round, & Big Lakes Water Quality & Biological Assessment||2012|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: Big Lake Internal Load Study||2015|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: Church Pine, Round, Big Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District 2016 Clean Boats Clean Waters||2016|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: Church Pine, Round, & Big Lake AIS Education, Prevention & Planning||2009|
|CHURCH PINE ROUND & BIG LAKE P & R DISTRICT: Church Pine Round & Big Lake P & R District 2019 CBCW||2019|
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|2615900||Big Lake||10042128||Big Lake - [Herbicide Sampling Site 15B]||5/22/2014||5/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2615900||Big Lake||10042124||Big Lake - [Herbicide Sampling Site 1]||5/22/2014||5/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2615900||Big Lake||10004774||Big Lake||8/7/2001||6/23/2018||Map||Data|
|2615900||Big Lake||10042127||Big Lake - [Herbicide Sampling Site 15A]||5/22/2014||5/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2615900||Big Lake||10018329||Big Lake -- Access at Highway K||7/22/2003||9/2/2019||Map||Data|
|2615900||Big Lake||10039624||Big Lake Access at County Road K near landing||5/7/2012||6/4/2012||Map||Data|
|2615900||Big Lake||493107||Big Lake - Deep Hole||4/16/1986||7/30/2019||Map||Data|
|2615900||Big Lake||10042126||Big Lake [Herbicide Sampling Site 12]||5/22/2014||5/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2615900||Big Lake||10042125||Big Lake - [Herbicide Sampling Site 2]||5/22/2014||5/1/2015||Map||Data|
Big Lake is located in the Lower Apple River watershed which is 202.16 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (31.20%), agricultural (28.20%) and a mix of grassland (25.70%) and other uses (14.80%). This watershed has 151.64 stream miles, 4,391.99 lake acres and 9,095.80 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Medium 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.