Fish and Aquatic Life
Big Butternut Lake, in the Trade River Watershed, is a 384.48 acre lake that falls in Polk County. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently not considered impaired.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Big Butternut Lake is a shallow, 378 acre drainage lake situated on the southeastern edge of
the Village of Luck. A lake district was formed around this waterbody in 1981 and a feasibility
study was completed in 1986. This study documented the eutrophic status of Big Butternut
Lake and delineated the excessive phosphorus loading with both external sources and in-lake
recycling contributing to the trophic condition.
Suggested management alternatives from this study included land management practices in the
watershed, macrophyte harvesting, aeration, wetland protection and buffer zone maintenance.
The physical limitations of this lake basin may preclude any short term visible water quality
improvement, but this lake should be ranked as a high priority for funding of implementation
practices outlined in the 1986 report. The recruitment of a self-help observer would be a good
start to document any changes that may occur from any implementation work.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
This lake has a navigable outlet (1.3 cfs) flowing to Little Butternut Lake. This stream, Butternut Creek, has a one-foot dam situated on the lake outlet. The lake's fish population includes northern pike, walleyes, largemouth bass, bluegills, black crappies, perch and bullheads. It has 2,754 feet of public frontage bordering the city park. An access road with parking islocated near. Private development consists of two resorts, one boat livery and 21 private cottages. The 140 acres of adjoining wetlands are inhabited with muskrats and nesting mallards and wood ducks. Algae bloom is sometimes a problem on this lake, probably due to pollution of the water by domestic wastes. Source: 1961, Surface Water Resources of Polk County Big Butternut Lake T36N, R17W, Sec. 27, 33, 34 Surface Acres =387, S.D.F. = 1.17, Maximum Depth = 20 ft., M. P. A. = 83
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Not recommended for 2010 listing; this lake system is thought to be naturally eutrophic and studies are currently underway on the lake system to investigate sources. Big Butternut and Long Trade Lakes in Polk County and Round Lake in Burnett County are all part of the Trade River watershed, which has been known historically to be highly eutrophic. While the TP and chl a TSI values for the three lakes exceed the thresholds for 303(d) listing, this area of Polk and Burnett Counties is known to contain high-phosphorous glacial outwash till that causes naturally eutrophic lake conditions. Local lore has it that Big Butternut Lake was called Big, Stinky, Green Waters in Objibwe prior to European settlement. There are currently open grant projects investigating the watershed and in-lake sources of Big Butternut Lake nutrients and monitoring the aquatic plant and Eurasian watermilfoil communities. Therefore, we are flagging the lakes for further monitoring until the additional information can be analyzed and considered for listing.
Author James Kreitlow
Big Butternut Lake (WBIC 2641000) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2012. The 2018 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus and chlorophyll-a sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use. Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.
Author Ashley Beranek
Big Butternut Lake (2641000) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2012. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus and chlorophyll sample data exceeded 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use. Total phosphorus and chlorophyll data do not exceed Fish and Aquatic Life 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.
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|
|2641000||Big Butternut Lake||10018327||Big Butternut Lake -- Access||7/22/2003||6/18/2020||Map||Data|
|2641000||Big Butternut Lake||493106||Big Butternut Lake - Deep Hole||5/2/1995||8/18/2020||Map||Data|
|2641100||Unnamed||493133||Unnamed Stream T36 R17w S27 - Unnamed Stream T36 R17w S27||5/29/1997||3/31/1998||Map||Data|
|2641000||Big Butternut Lake||10005033||Big Butternut Lake||9/5/2000||8/29/2017||Map||Data|
|2641000||Big Butternut Lake||493162||Big Butternut Lake - East Half||5/3/2000||6/27/2005||Map||Data|
Big Butternut Lake is located in the Trade River watershed which is 194.93 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (56.40%), wetland (18.80%) and a mix of grassland (11.70%) and other uses (13.10%). This watershed has 166.68 stream miles, 2,902.48 lake acres and 21,757.05 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Medium 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.This water is ranked High Lake for individual Lakes based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.