Barney Lake, Badfish Creek Watershed (LR07)
Barney Lake, Badfish Creek Watershed (LR07)
Barney Lake (777300)
27.49 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.
Shallow 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.
Suspected Poor
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 Seepage
Shallow seepage 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.
Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
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.


Lake Barney Wetlands Complex is a fresh meadow and marsh complex that stretches for a little more than one mile south of Dane County Highway M. Barney lake is a popular migratory waterfowl and songbird stopover, and at one time supported whistling swans which regularly used the west end of the complex. Polluted runoff, grazing and cultivation have; however, degraded water quality and habitat over the years. Swans no longer use the area due to polluted runoff and recent dry years. Projected development in the area remains the greatest threat to the wetlands. Still, Lake Barney remains a popular waterfowl area.

The U.S. Department of the Interior owns the wetlands complex west of Lake Barney. The complex has been identified as a Priority I wetland for management and protection by the Dane County Regional Planning Commission. Eighty acres immediately adjacent to Lake Barney are owned and managed by the Department of Corrections. Cattle and horses have grazed the wetland banks; fencing is needed to prevent the trampling and grazing of wetlands. Shoreline fencing to exclude grazing from all but a small portion of the wetlands' shoreline would allow regeneration of degraded areas and reduce erosion.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Source: 1985, Surface Water Resources of Dane County,WI: WI-DNR Barney Lake T6N, R9E, Sec. 34 Surface acres 27, SDF = 1.15, Maximum depth = 6 ft.

Barney Lake is a small, shallow, land-locked drift basin lake completely surrounded by land owned by the State Department of Health and Social Services. The watershed is largely agricultural though the shoreline is undeveloped and relatively undisturbed. A small fresh meadow adjoins the lake on the south end and provides some waterfowl habitat. Water quality is good, the bottom is sand and muck, and macrophytes are abundant. The lake has some aesthetic value but little recreational potential. This lake was once managed by the Department of Natural Resources as a warm water game fish rearing pond but is no longer used due to Its fluctuating water level. Winterkill conditions are severe though a few forage fish may survive. Public access is not available.

Date  1985

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Barney Lake, Badfish Creek Watershed (LR07) Fish and Aquatic LifeBarney Lake, Badfish Creek Watershed (LR07) RecreationBarney Lake, Badfish Creek Watershed (LR07) Fish Consumption


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.



Lake Classification
Dane County Lake Classification-Phase 2: The Phase 1 classification grant classified all county lakes and streams. This grant will take the next step by developing a management program based on the classification.
Lake Classification
Dane County Department of Planning and Development will hire a project staff in order to develop a Lake Classification project, which is seen as the first step toward developing a consistent set of county-wide standards and procedures to protect Dane County Waters.

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

Lake Barney is located in the Badfish Creek watershed which is 84.21 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (64.30%), grassland (12.70%) and a mix of wetland (7.80%) and other uses (15.20%). This watershed has 78.94 stream miles, 217.98 lake acres and 3,799.54 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Medium 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

Barney Lake is considered a Shallow Seepage under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results and 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 seepage lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.