Yellow Lake, Lower Yellow (Burnett Co.) River Watershed (SC14)
Yellow Lake, Lower Yellow (Burnett Co.) River Watershed (SC14)
Yellow Lake (2675200)
2283.51 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.
Two-Story
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.
2020
Poor
 
This lake is impaired
Eutrophication, Excess Algal Growth
Total Phosphorus, Mercury
 
Burnett
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.
No
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.
No
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.
Yes

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.
Two-Story
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.
WWSF
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
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.
FAL Warmwater
Fish and Aquatic Life Warmwater - waters that do not have a specific designated (codified use) but which are have documented scientific support to ascertain indicating that the water is a warm fishable, swimmable water.

Overview

For years (prior to the 1960s), the Yellow River carried untreated city wastewater, creamery waste and whey downstream to Yellow Lake (probably about 30 miles away). After the point source was removed, the lake has steadily improved, but is still impaired likely from this very heavy, historical, point source loading. DNR staff in the area are not aware of other natural or high-background sources, and there shouldn't be significant agricultural contributions in this area.

Recommended for listing for impaired Recreational Uses, but not for Fish & Aquatic Life. Per Kris Larsen, Northern Region Fisheries Technician, Yellow Lake is vastly improved from the historical situation, but still warrants listing on the federal 303(d) list due to blue green algae blooms that restrict swimming. Prior to the 1960s, the Yellow River carried untreated city wastewater, creamery waste and whey downstream to Yellow Lake (~30 miles away). The lake had so many plants and algae around the 1960s, that trees seedlings could grow on the algal crust. After the point source was removed, the lake has steadily improved, but still has enough algae in the hot summer months that people do not swim. Blue green algae blooms are frequent and macrophyte growth is high. Currently, Yellow Lake s TSI-chlorophyll score of 62 puts this lake in the Fair category for a shallow lowland lake, but its average Total Phosphorus concentration (2004-2008) is .048 mg/l, which exceeds the listing threshold for Shallow Lowland lakes of greater than or equal to 0.04 mg/l. Yellow Lake is, however, meeting its Fish and Aquatic Life Use with an excellent and very diverse fishery, according to Larry Damman, Northern Region Fisheries Biologist. It has one of the state s best, sustainable sturgeon populations (including a world record), cisco spawning, a naturally reproducing walleye population (which is rare), and large northern pike and muskies. DNR staff are not aware of natural or high-background sources, and there shouldn't be significant agricultural contributions in this area. The impairment is likely from very heavy, historical, point source loading.

Date  2009

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Yellow Lake is a 2872 acre drainage lake located on the Yellow River. This lake exhibits some
eutrophic symptoms but has an excellent fishery, including trophy lake sturgeon and a cisco
population. A long range lake management plan would be desireable to assist this lake
community in coping with the sometimes troublesome algae and macrophyte accumulations and
preserving the critical natural resource areas.

Date  1992

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Yellow Lake, Lower Yellow (Burnett Co.) River Watershed (SC14) Fish and Aquatic LifeYellow Lake, Lower Yellow (Burnett Co.) River Watershed (SC14) RecreationYellow Lake, Lower Yellow (Burnett Co.) River Watershed (SC14) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Yellow Lake (WBIC 2675200) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2010. The 2018 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; 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.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

Yellow Lake (2675200) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2010. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceeded 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use, and chlorophyll data overwhelmingly exceeded FAL thresholds and exceeded REC thresholds. Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson

Condition

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.

Reports

Recommendations

Monitor Fish Tissue

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

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

Yellow Lake is located in the Lower Yellow (Burnett Co.) River watershed which is 208.95 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (64.90%), wetland (19.60%) and a mix of open (8.80%) and other uses (6.80%). This watershed has 99.73 stream miles, 13,740.17 lake acres and 23,442.16 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.This water is ranked High Lake for individual Lakes based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.

Natural Community

Yellow 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.