Pigeon Lake, Pigeon River Watershed (SH06)
Pigeon Lake, Pigeon River Watershed (SH06)
Pigeon Lake (64000)
79.69 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 Seepage
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 Seepage
Deep seepage lake describes the depth and hydrologic charactertistics of the lake. 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.


T18N, R22E, Section 33; Manitowoc County
Surface Acres = 77, S.D.F. = 1.32, Maximum Depth = 68 feet

Pigeon Lake is a 77-acre seepage lake located in southwestern Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. The lake has a maximum depth of 68 feet, an average depth of 35 feet and a single perennial outlet. The area is developed with residential dwellings and a recreational camp along the 1.6 miles of shoreline. The residences are served by sanitary sewer, which is treated at the Town of Liberty Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The fishery consist of largemouth bass, panfish, northern pike, and brown trout. Public access and parking is available by a town road (WDNR 1968).

Pigeon Lake has a 216 acre, primarily agricultural, watershed (Olson and Helsel 1997). Based upon the average annual run-off of 7.3 inches, the lake's flushing rate is .06 water volumes per year or about 17 years to flush the complete lake volume. The dominant land uses within the Pigeon Lake subwatershed are agriculture and forest. The estimated annual total phosphorus load to Pigeon Lake from the watershed and deposition is estimated at 133 lbs. Olson and Helsel (1997) found that, agriculture land use is estimated to contribute the greatest percentage of external phosphorus (48%) to the lake; while no other sources contribute more than 10% to the annual phosphorus load.

Water Resource Conditions
Pigeon Lake stratifies during the summer months during which the hypolimnion is anoxic (lack of oxygen in the bottom waters). Pigeon Lake is classified as a mesotrophic lake, with moderately clear water and relatively low nutrient and chlorophyll-a concentrations and good water clarity with TSI values between 45 and 55 (Figure 29).
Water quality samples collected during 1996 showed average spring total phosphorus ranged from 14 V 20 Ýg/L with surface summer phosphorus concentrations ranging from 11 - 15 Ýg/L. The hypolimnion develops anoxia (no oxygen), which results in higher phosphorus concentrations as phosphorus is released from the substrate. Generally hypolimnetic phosphorus concentrations above 200-300 Ýg/L are indicative of increased internal loading; although the hypolimnetic volume, lake morphology and stratification intensity also affect the amount of internal load (Olson and Helsel 1997).

Water Resource Objectives and Management Recommendations

The water resource objectives and management recommendations for Pigeon Lake are to reduce phosphorus loading overall by 47% from existing conditions (133 lbs/yr) to best managed conditions (70 lbs/yr ) (Olson and Helsel 1997). This should result in improvements in water column phosphorus and long-term protection of water quality.

Specific best management practices should target lake protection and nutrient sources from agricultural land and residential properties. Assessment of the internal loading should be continued by collection of in-lake water quality data.

Date  2001

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Source: 1968, Surface Water Resources of Manitowoc County Pigeon Lake, T18N, R22E, Section 33 Surface acres - 77, S.D.F. = 1.32, Maximum depth = 67 feet.

A seepage lake in terminal moraine. This lake has hard, clear water and a bottom composed of marl and gravel. It is one of the most heavily used lakes in the county. An intermittent outlet drains the lake southward into Little Pigeon Lake during periods of high water. The lake is managed for largemouth bass, panfish, northern pike and brown trout. The shoreline is highly developed with 54 cottages, one resort and one Boy Scout camp. Swimming, water skiing and power boating conflict with daytime fishing, and tend to discourage usage by most wildlife. Public access and parking is available by a town road. There is about 100 feet of public frontage including boat launching facilities. One boat rental establishment increases fishing access. Blue-wing teal and wood ducks have been observed to nest here in few numbers, and moderate numbers of migrant waterfowl frequent the area in the fall. Hunting is permitted, except near the Boy Scout camp which is a wildlife refuge.

Date  1968

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Pigeon Lake, Pigeon River Watershed (SH06) Fish and Aquatic LifePigeon Lake, Pigeon River Watershed (SH06) RecreationPigeon Lake, Pigeon River Watershed (SH06) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Pigeon Lake (64000) was placed on the impaired waters list for Mercury in fish tissue in 1998. This water was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus and chlorophyll sample data were clearly below 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use. This lake is considered impaired for Fish Consumption use and meeting REC and FAL uses.

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.


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

Pigeon Lake is located in the Pigeon River watershed which is 78.87 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (57.30%), grassland (18.60%) and a mix of forest (10.20%) and other uses (13.90%). This watershed has 110.34 stream miles, 769.54 lake acres and 3,149.60 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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.However, all waters are affected by diffuse pollutant sources regardless of initial water quality. Applications for specific runoff projects under state or county grant programs may be pursued. For more information, go to surface water program grants.

Natural Community

Pigeon Lake is considered a Deep Seepage 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.

Deep seepage lake describes the depth and hydrologic charactertistics of the lake. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.