Wi-173-Lw18-978900, Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW18)
Wi-173-Lw18-978900, Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW18)
Wi-173-Lw18-978900 (978900)
524.96 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.
This lake is impaired
High Phosphorus Levels
Total Phosphorus
Columbia, Dane
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.


Crystal Lake is a 527-acre shallow, eutrophic, seepage lake, which up until the mid 1980s, was a marsh. Hydrologic changes of the ground water has caused the lake level to increase dramatically, thereby allowing its fishery to change from a winterkill plagued bullhead and minnow lake to one of the best bass and panfish producing waters in the state. Dense, aquatic plants grow in some nearshore areas and a mid to late summer algal bloom occurs. Dead timber lines the shoreline as a result of the recent rise in water level. The lake has received a Lake Planning Grant from the Department of Natural Resources which has been used to contract with the USGS to conduct groundwater modeling. Public access on the lake is inadequate. A fishery survey was conducted on the lake in 2000.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Source: 1985, Surface Water Resources of Dane County,WI: WI-DNR Crystal Lake T9N, R7E, Sec. 1 Surface acres 500, SDF = 1.69, Maximum depth = 9 ft.

A large, shallow, land-locked basin, Crystal Lake is located in northwestern Dane and southwestern Columbia counties. The water quality of this lake has deteriorated over the last few decades. The substrate is composed of muck and is covered by a dense growth of macrophytes including sago pondweed, Elodea sp., water--milfoil, bulrush, arrowhead, yellow and white water lilies, and duckweed. Algae blooms occur throughout the summer. Water quality problems are related to fluctuating water levels and runoff from the adjacent trailer park and farmlands. A narrow piece of marsh borders the lake and some of the shoreline has been developed into a trailer park. Residential development has occurred nearby. The remaining shoreline is farmland. Crystal Lake is used heavily by migrating waterfowl and a wide variety of birds can be seen in and around the lake. Winterkill is a continuing problem. Fishing success is poor in years following a winterkill, but good at other times. Bass have been stocked. There is no free public access to the lake, but two commercial liveries provide boats and access for a fee. Fish species: black bullhead, golden shiner, fathead minnow, bluegill, orange spotted sunfish, pumpkinseed, and largemouth bass.

Date  1985

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Wi-173-Lw18-978900, Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW18) Fish and Aquatic LifeWi-173-Lw18-978900, Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW18) RecreationWi-173-Lw18-978900, Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW18) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Crystal Lake (978900) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceeded 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use, however chlorophyll data did not exceed REC thresholds. Total phosphorus and chlorophyll data did not exceed Fish and Aquatic Life thresholds.

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.



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

Crystal Lake is located in the Roxbury Creek watershed which is 71.11 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (40.40%), forest (28.50%) and a mix of wetland (12.80%) and other uses (18.30%). This watershed has 111.73 stream miles, 988.84 lake acres and 4,432.98 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

Wi-173-Lw18-978900 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.