Half Moon Lake, Balsam Branch Watershed (SC05)
Half Moon Lake, Balsam Branch Watershed (SC05)
Half Moon Lake (2621100)
550.34 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 Lowland
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 Lowland
Deep lowland lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. 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.


Half Moon Lake T35N, R17W, Sec. 25, 24, 23 Surface Acres= 562.5, S.D.F.=2.31, Maximum Depth=60 ft., M.P.A.=81 Situated on Harder Creek, this lake has a navigable inlet and outlet. It has northern pike, walleyes, largemouth bass, bluegills, pumpkinseed, perch, rock bass and bullheads. Public frontage on the lake consists of one access road (49.5 feet)without parking space, three unimproved platted access roads, (66, 33 & 33 feet), and approximately 7,320 feet of town - village unimproved frontage on the west end near the inlet. There are 2 resorts, a boat livery and 53 cottages on the lake. One hundred seventy-nine acres of predominately wooded Wetlands adjoin it. Mallards and bluewing teal nest here. There is a 2-foot dam at the outlet to maintain a stable water level.


Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

This 579 acre lake has an intermittent outlet which flows to Balsam Lake. The feasibility study
conducted for this lake district in 1980 documented "reasonably good" water quality. The
management alternatives suggested by this study concentrated on the protection of a high
quality resource by the control of real or potential nutrient sources in the watershed. Half
Moon Lake should be ranked high for the funding of a Lakes Implementation Grant to
preserve and protect the water quality of this lake.

Half Moon Lake should receive high priority for a lakes Planning Grant to continue water
quality monitoring or assess current watershed conditions or analyze the priorities of the lake
community. The lake district has communicated to us that they are at a stage of locally trying
to determine their best course of action. We should be ready to assist them in developing a
course leading to a long range lake management plan.

Date  1992

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin


Land Acquisition
The Half Moon Lake Conservancy is sponsoring a project involving the acquisition of two lake lots totaling 31.5 acres and a conservation easment on 8.14 acres on Tamarack Bay of Half Moon Lake and inlcuding portions of Tamarack Creek, a tributary to Tamarack Bayall in the town of Milltown in Polk County.
TMDL Implementation
WDNR, USACOE, Polk County Land and Water Conservation Department and the Cedar Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District are implementing a project to assess internal phosphorus loading processeses in polymictic lakes with high internal phosphorus loadings.

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

Half Moon Lake is located in the Balsam Branch watershed which is 104.07 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (31.60%), agricultural (28.40%) and a mix of grassland (18.70%) and other uses (21.30%). This watershed has 63.62 stream miles, 6,301.67 lake acres and 5,248.51 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, High 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.This water is ranked High Lake for individual Lakes based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.

Natural Community

Half Moon Lake is considered a Deep Lowland 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 lowland lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.

Maps of Watershed