Wood Lake, Wood River Watershed (SC11)
Wood Lake, Wood River Watershed (SC11)
Wood Lake (2649800)
521.24 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.
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.
This lake is impaired
Total Phosphorus, Unknown Pollutant
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.
Shallow headwater 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.
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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.


Wood Lake, in the Wood River Watershed, is a 521.23 acre lake that falls in Burnett County. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently considered impaired.

Date  2015

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

A drainage lake located on the Wood River, this lake has an active lake association and a seifhelp
volunteer monitoring water clarity since 1986. Wood Lake shows some signs of trophic
stress and experiences algae blooms and excessive weed growth.

This lake group should be encouraged to pursue a lakes planning grant to assess the nutrient
budget for this lake and establish if there are any protection or restorative measures that could
be taken to help Wood Lake. Implementation measures would be dependent upon the results
of the feasibility study.

Date  1992

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Source: 1966, Surface Water Resources of Burnett County Wood Lake, T38N, R18W, Sections 26, 27, 28, 34 Surface Acres = 508.3, Maximum Depth = 35 feet, M.P.A.=103 ppm, Secchi Disk= 5 feet A hard water, drainage lake located on the Wood River. Outlet flow is approximately 29.0 cubic feet per second. An intermittent inlet comes in at the south end from Peterson and Spirit Lakes. Fish species present include northern pike, largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, pumpkinseed, perch, bullhead,carp, white sucker and bowfin. The presence of carp creates a management problem. Private development consists of two resorts, 133 cottages and homes and two private camps. Thoreson Park, a V.F.W. park at the north end of the lake, provides boat launching, swimming and picnicking facilities. There is 1.32 miles of public frontage which includes the park, two undeveloped platted accesses and state-owned island frontage on six islands. Sixty-two acres of adjoining wetlands provide habitat for muskrats and nesting puddle ducks. Large numbers of geese and diving ducks also use the lake.

Date  1966

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Wood Lake, Wood River Watershed (SC11) Fish and Aquatic LifeWood Lake, Wood River Watershed (SC11) RecreationWood Lake, Wood River Watershed (SC11) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Wood Lake was recently evaluated during the ten-year period of 2009 through 2018 for results that were reported to the USEPA for the 2020 Clean Water Act condition report. The waterbody is considered impaired, or in poor condition for designated uses which include the quality of fish and aquatic life, recreational use, and public health and welfare (fish consumption and related). Pollutants or problems encountered during sampling (impairments) are determined based on water quality standards outlined in Wisconsin 2020 Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (WisCALM). Assessment results show water conditions that are potentially harmful for Aquatic Life use due to values for total phosphorus and chlorophyll that fall into the range expected for an aquatic community in poor health, therefore this water is listed as impaired. The lake was changed to category 5W in 2020 because it is part of the Implementation Plan for the Lake St. Croix Nutrient Total Maximum Daily Load (2025).

Assessment results during the 2020 listing cycle show total phosphorus and chlorophyll levels too high for healthy aquatic communities like plants, fish, and bugs, according to 2020 WisCALM standards for Recreation and Aquatic Life uses. Based on the most updated information, the impairment of eutrophication and pollutant total phosphorus were added to the impaired waters listing.

Date  2019

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

Wood Lake (WBIC 2649800) was placed on the impaired waters list for excess algal growth in 2014. The 2018 assessments showed continued excess algal growth; chlorophyll-a sample data clearly exceeded the Recreation use thresholds, and clearly met the Fish and Aquatic Life use thresholds. Total phosphorus sample data were nearly below the use thresholds. This water was not meeting its designated uses and was considered impaired. No listing change was needed to the existing impaired waters listing.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

Wood Lake (2649800) was placed on the impaired waters list for excess algal growth in 2014. 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.

Date  2015

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.



Nine Key Element Plan
Big Wood Lake PWS Plan - Nine Key Element Plan - This plan assesses the nonpoint sources of pollution in the Big Wood Lake Watershed and guides the implementation of nonpoint source control measures. These control measures are needed to meet specific water resource objectives for Big Wood Lake and its tributaries.

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

Wood Lake is located in the Wood River watershed which is 220.24 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (50.60%), wetland (25.10%) and a mix of grassland (11.10%) and other uses (13.40%). This watershed has 197.60 stream miles, 5,461.36 lake acres and 34,321.60 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Low 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.

Natural Community

Wood Lake is considered a Two-Story under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model resultsand 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.

Shallow headwater lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.

Maps of Watershed