Fish and Aquatic Life
Eau Claire Lake, Low, in the Upper St. Croix and Eau Claire Rivers Watershed, is a 784.36 acre lake that falls in Bayfield and Douglas Counties. This lake is an outstanding/exceptional resource water under NR102 under the Fisheries Program. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently not considered impaired.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The three major lakes of this chain are the Upper, Middle and Lower Eau Claire Lakes.
Situated at the headwaters of the Eau Ciaire River these lakes have been long recognized as
outstanding, and indeed have been formally recognized as such by their nomination as
"Outstanding Resource Waters." These clear water lakes are connected by stream and the
middle and lower lakes are connected by a navigable channel with an assist from a mechanical
small boat lock.
There appears to be a slight decline in water quality down this chain with the Upper Lake
exhibiting oligotrophic characteristics and the Middle and Lower Lakes showing signs of perhaps
increasing levels of fertility. Because of this perception, the Upper and Lower Lakes were
chosen to be monitored as part of the Department's long term trend monitoring program.
Intensive monitoring has been ongoing on these lakes since 1986.
A self-help volunteer has been collecting water clarity data on the Middle Lake since 1988 and
volunteers on the Upper and Lower Lakes would be desireable to supplement the Department's
long term data. The lakes are represented by a regional association and this group has been an
enthusiastic participant in early lake management endeavors. "Swimmers itch," an infestation of
the "rusty" crayfish and lake water use conflicts are some of the problems confronting these
The preservation of the present high level of water quality and the development of
comprehensive long range lake management plans should be goals for this chain of lakes.
These three ORW nominated lakes should be considered as priority candidates for a protection
oriented Priority Lakes project.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Lower Eau Claire Lake (WBIC 2741600) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2014. The 2018 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use. Chlorophyll-a sample data nearly exceeded the REC use thresholds, and were nearly below the FAL use thresholds. Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.
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.
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|
|2741600||Lower Eau Claire Lake||043037||Lower Eau Claire Lake - Deep Hole||7/16/1986||7/26/2021||Map||Data|
|2741600||Lower Eau Claire Lake||10002141||Lower Eau Claire Lake||9/5/2000||4/21/2019||Map||Data|
|2741600||Lower Eau Claire Lake||043186||Lower Eau Claire - Lower Lake Road||Map||Data|
|2741600||Lower Eau Claire Lake||10055138||Lower Eau Claire - Staff Gage||5/19/2021||7/24/2021||Map||Data|
|2741600||Lower Eau Claire Lake||163395||Lower Eau Claire Lake - Deep Hole||Map||Data|
|2741600||Lower Eau Claire Lake||163211||Lower Eau Claire Lake- Deep Hole||Map||Data|
|2741600||Lower Eau Claire Lake||163424||Lower Eau Claire - Mooney Dam Co.Park||5/7/2005||9/3/2005||Map||Data|
Lower Eau Claire Lake is located in the Upper St. Croix and Eau Claire Rivers watershed which is 277.89 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (83.90%), wetland (9.50%) and a mix of open (4.30%) and other uses (2.40%). This watershed has 153.93 stream miles, 7,654.41 lake acres and 13,694.48 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.