Turtle Lake, Turtle Creek Watershed (LR01)
Turtle Lake, Turtle Creek Watershed (LR01)
Turtle Lake (795100)
141.46 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 Headwater
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 Headwater
Deep 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.
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.


Turtle Lake is a quiet spring-fed lake in Walworth County that covers 140 acres, has a maximum depth of 35 feet and forms the headwaters of Turtle Creek. The lake's shoreline is a mixture of wetlands with development both on the east and north sides of the waterbody. There is a trailer park on the lake's shoreline that once had problems from leaking holding tanks. About 113 of the 748 acres that directly drain into the lake were urbanized as of 1975 (SEWRPC); today the acreage of direct drainage that is urbanized is a greater amount. There is limited public access on the lake and very little water quality data exists. Eurasian water milfoil and purple loosestrife are present in the lake and its shoreline area.

There is a lake management association for the lake and volunteer monitoring for chemistry is conducted regularly. A Lakes Planning Grant should be pursued to conduct a thorough survey of the lake's water quality and habitat and to identify and protect the remaining wetlands that surround the lake.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

A natural lake managed for northern pike, pan fish, largemouth bass, and yellow perch. A small marsh associated lake situated at the base of a glacial moraine, with over 200 acres of fresh meadow, shrub swamp, and shallow marsh occupying what once was a larger lake basin. High frontage is over 50 per cent developed for cottages. The lake is no doubt fed by springs and marsh seepage, and drains through a channel known as Turtle Branch. A 3 foot head is maintained by a dam on the channel. Access is permitted from 2 subdivision roads; however, these are inadequate for the potential recreational pressure. Angling has been a principal use because of consistent good fishing; however, in recent years speed oriented boating activities have created a major use problem on this lake.

Surface Acres = 140, S.D.F. - 1.73, Maximum Depth = 35 feet.
Source: 1961, Surface Water Resources of Walworth County,WI: WI-DNR Turtle Lake, T-3-N, R-15-E

Date  1961

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Turtle Lake, Turtle Creek Watershed (LR01) Fish and Aquatic LifeTurtle Lake, Turtle Creek Watershed (LR01) RecreationTurtle Lake, Turtle Creek Watershed (LR01) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Tutle Lake (795100) 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 water is meeting these designated uses and is not considered impaired.

Date  2015

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.



Habitat Restoration - Shoreland
Walworth County will continue the Walworth County Lakes Specialist position for one year. The Lakes Specialist will provide educational information to lake residents regarding shoreline stabilization and shoreline restoration. The Lakes Specialist will also design shoreline restoration projects for interested landowners, provide technical assistance to contractors and hold workshops on shoreland restoration.
Protect Riparian or Shorelands
Walworth County will implement the Shoreland Protection Initiative project that includes: 1. A baseline lakeshore inventory; 2. ten lakshore demonstration sites; 3. the preparation of lake lawn and yard nutrient management plans; 4. fact sheets on lakeshore stabilization, shoreland buffers, shoreland regulations and lawn care; 5. an annual lakeshore inventory and distribution of shoreland regulation materials; 6. formation of a Walworth Co. Lakes Association and meetings with and newsletter pertaining to Walworth Co. lakes; 7. Workshops, information packets and news articles pertaining to the Fox river Basin Partnership Team Lakes Initiative; and 8. the formation of the Walworth County Land Conservancy.
Engage Volunteers in Monitoring/Restoration
The Turtle Lake Association should become involved in WDNR's Self-Help Monitoring Program to collect water quality data.

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

Turtle Lake is located in the Turtle Creek watershed which is 288.47 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (69.80%), grassland (9.10%) and a mix of forest (6.50%) and other uses (14.50%). This watershed has 339.80 stream miles, 590.58 lake acres and 6,590.97 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Available for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available 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

Turtle Lake is considered a Deep Headwater 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 headwater lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.