Chippewa County lake beset by algal blooms, high phosphorous levels
MADISON – A clean-up plan for Little Lake Wissota in Chippewa County is available for a 30-day public review. The plan sets a level for how much pollution the lake can receive from all sources – known as a total maximum daily load, or TMDL – and still support appropriate aquatic life and recreational uses.
Currently, Little Lake Wissota does not meet state or federal water quality standards. The lake exhibits excessive levels of phosphorus during summer months and is subject to algal blooms. Body-contact recreation during the summer is impaired by poor water quality.
Studies show most phosphorus flowing into the lake comes from runoff throughout the 43,194-acre watershed, which is defined by Stillson and Paint creeks. Most comes from agricultural sources. Phosphorus is also released from lake sediments under certain conditions.
The state Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with the Chippewa County Land Conservation Department and a local citizen advisory committee, has developed a TMDL plan for Little Lake Wissota. The TMDL calls for a 34 percent reduction in phosphorus discharges from the watershed and a 26 percent reduction in sediment discharges. Once the TMDL is approved, an implementation plan will be developed.
The 30-day public comment period runs through March 2. The draft TMDL report can be reviewed on the DNR Web site Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).
Questions or comments can be directed to Ken Schreiber, WDNR, 1300 W. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire, WI 54702, by phone at 715-839-3798 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.