Dunes Lake (Gurlack, Mud), Upper Door County Watershed (TK06)
Dunes Lake (Gurlack, Mud), Upper Door County Watershed (TK06)
Dunes Lake (Gurlack, Mud) (97300)
48.39 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 Lowland
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.
Shallow Lowland
Shallow lowland 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.


This 80-acre drainage lake is no deeper than a foot, fed by Maple Creek and drained by Shivering Sands
Creek. More than 350 acres of wooded swampland border the lake and extend to the Lake Michigan
shore. Waterfowl frequent the area--a fall hunting "hot spot."

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Source: 1965, Surface Water Resources of Door County Gurlack Lake, T28N, R27E, Section 30 Surface acres = 80.4, S. D. F. = 1. 77, Maximum depth = 1.1 feet.

A shallow drainage lake in a swamp pocket occupying an area submerged by glacial Lake Nippissing. About 384 acres of primarily wooded swampland border the lake and extend to the Lake Michigan shore. The lake is drained by Shivering Sands Creek and is fed by Maple Creek. Winterkill occurs annually. Chief values are waterfowl production and scenic beauty. Public access is not available. The lake bottom is marl with much vegetable material. Numerous duck blinds attest the value of this area for fall hunting.

Date  1965

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin


Diagnostic/Feasibility Assessment
The developed concept plan will identify and evaluate passive treatment technologies that can be implemented to reduce nutrient loads from the wastewater treatment lagoons. The plan will include planning level cost estimates and a summary of the operation and maintenance of the passive polishing cell system.
County Land and Water Management Plan
Door County Soil & Water Conservation Department proposes to conduct a phased approach to the development of protection strategies for its waters including lakes. This phase of the project will collect and analyze information regarding surface water resources in order to develop specific implementation recommendations for phase II indlucing upgrading regulatory programs. Project deliverables shall include a draft and final report containing: 1) an inventory and classification of county inland lakes; 2) appropriate supporting data and maps and; 3) recommendations specifying phase II implementation activities including proposed regulatory standards for shoreland and lake protection.

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

Dunes Lake is located in the Upper Door County watershed which is 287.02 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (38%), grassland (22%) and a mix of agricultural (18.90%) and other uses (21.10%). This watershed has 102.85 stream miles, 254,855.32 lake acres and 24,541.39 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

Dunes Lake (Gurlack, Mud) is considered a Shallow Lowland 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.

Shallow lowland lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.