Fish and Aquatic Life
North Lake is a multiple-basin, 437-acre lake in outwash deposits associated with the interlobate moraine. The lake is drained by the Oconomowoc River and is unimpounded. The water is clear and the bottom is primarily sand and gravel with scattered marl beds. The fishery consists of pan fish, northern pike, walleyes and largemouth bass. Cisco are also present and afford some winter angling opportunities. Public access is unimproved and difficult via the inlet stream. Wetlands contiguous with the outlet are of some importance for upland game birds and waterfowl.
The North Lake Management District, North Lake Voluntary Association and North Lake Environmental Protection Association exist, but only the lake management district has been active with WDNR in the last five years.
In 1991, the North Lake Management District received a Wisconsin Lake Management Planning Grant to examine historical water quality using a sediment dating and diatom identification technique. Sediment distribution in the inlet was also assessed. The report noted that sedimentation rates ranged from 0.16 g/cm2/yr to 0.037 g/cm2/yr, showing an apparent change in the water quality based upon the diatom frustule found in the sediment cores. This change corresponds to the failure of the Funks dam in 1975. The dam was located approximately 1.3 miles upstream of the lake. In 1992, WDNR removed the dam and drew down the impoundment as an emergency measure, since the dam needed significant repair but the owner refused to maintain it. The report also concluded that fine erosion material entering North Lake via the Oconomowoc River is not deposited in the shallow inlet bay area.
WDNR has been working with the lake management district to develop a comprehensive lake management plan. Some of the issues raised as a result of the Funks Dam removal project will be incorporated into this comprehensive plan.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Source: 1963, Surface Water Resources of Waukesha County North Lake T8N, R18E
A multiple basin lake in outwash deposits associated with the interlobate moraine. The lake is drained by the Oconomowoc River and is unimpounded. The water is clear and the bottom is primarily sand and gravel save for scattered marl beds. The fishery consists of pan fish, northern pike, walleyes and largemouth bass. Cisco are also present here and afford some winter angling opportunity. Public access is at present unimproved and difficult via the inlet stream. Swampland contiguous with the outlet is of some importance for upland game birds and waterfowl.
Surface Acres = 437, S.D.F. = 1.81, Maximum Depth = 78 feet
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
North Lake (WBIC 850800) 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 did not exceed the REC or FAL use thresholds. Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.
Author Ashley Beranek
North Lake (850800) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2014. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use, however chlorophyll data do not exceed REC or FAL thresholds. Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.
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.
ATTAINS Water Identified for Protection
North Lake Management District is sponsoring project to complete a sediment and nutrient study for the Oconomowoc River Watershed with the following goals: 1) Estimate watershed sediment, phosphorus, and pollutant sources and loads of the River 2) Evaluate sediment accretion/erosion/transport within the Monches Millpond and the River downstream of the Dam 3) Complete in-stream bank and bed survey 4) Examine sediment and riverbed stability within the former Funks Millpond 5) Communicate results and recommendations to the District, WDNR, and other interested parties. Project deliverables: completion of a comprehensive report including the following elements: 1) Historical, present-day, and planned future land use information to help estimate phosphorus, sediment, and select pollutant loads, 2) Mapped changes to sediment deposits created by using digital orthophotography to evaluate changes to sediment bars and general channel form within the Monches Millpond and the River downstream and related to changes during and immediately after dam reconstruction/removal will also be mapped, 3) On-water survey data including: channel form, sediment types and distribution, debris jams and channel obstructions, eroding banks and unstable channel form, riparian vegetation, and potentially other factors. Attention will be given to channel stability in the former Funks impoundment, millrace, and dam area. 4) Discussion of project background issues, conclusions, and recommendations generated will be in a format useful to the WDNR and average Lake user.
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|
|850800||North Lake||10020503||North Lake - Near Oconomowoc River||6/26/2006||6/26/2006||Map||Data|
|850800||North Lake||683137||North Lake - Deep Hole||9/20/1973||8/22/2019||Map||Data|
|850800||North Lake||10017616||North Lake -- Access at N side of lake off Lake Dr||Map||Data|
|850800||North Lake||10020504||North Lake - Near Oconomowoc River - Near Shore||7/17/2006||8/10/2006||Map||Data|
|850800||North Lake||10007255||North Lake||12/25/1990||9/30/2017||Map||Data|
North Lake is located in the Oconomowoc River watershed which is 130.86 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (24.90%), forest (19.70%) and a mix of wetland (16.90%) and other uses (38.40%). This watershed has 136.99 stream miles, 2,858.66 lake acres and 11,105.19 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.