Hydrologic investigation of Powell Marsh and its relation to Dead Pike Lake, Vilas County, Wisconsin

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2002-4034

Prepared in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
, , and



An analytic element ground-water-flow model was constructed to help understand the ground- and surface-water hydrology in the vicinity of Dead Pike Lake and Powell Marsh, Vilas County, Wisconsin. The model was used to simulate the effect of removing Powell Marsh control structures (ditches and Vista Pond) on the hydrology of Dead Pike Lake. Measurements and model simulation results show that ground water in the vicinity of Powell Marsh moves to the northwest and west. If Powell Marsh structures are removed from the simulation, it does not affect the general direction of ground-water flow nor the total flow to Dead Pike Lake. Without the simulated structures, slightly more ground-water flow enters Dead Pike Lake and slightly less surface-water flows at the Dead Pike Lake inlet than with the simulated structures.

Ground-water levels measured in piezometers installed along a flow path indicated that ground-water flow primarily is horizontal in the marsh and moves upward in the vicinity of a ditch where it discharges. Flow from Vista Pond is downward to the ground-water system but eventually also discharges upward to the ditches. Based on analyses of water samples from piezometers, the ditch, and Vista Pond, it was shown that dissolved iron is transported in the ground water. When ground water is discharged, iron and manganese react with dissolved oxygen, then precipitates, and forms the oxyhydroxide floc present in the Powell Marsh ditches. The processes involved in the transport and floc formation are not unique to the ditches, but are an expected outcome where discharging ground water and oxygenated surface water meet. Therefore, although floc formed in the ditches would no longer be available for transport if ditches were removed, it is likely that the floc formation would be redirected to the near-shore areas of Dead Pike Lake where increased groundwater discharge is expected.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrologic investigation of Powell Marsh and its relation to Dead Pike Lake, Vilas County, Wisconsin
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Wisconsin Water Science Center
iv, 20 p.
United States
Vilas County
Other Geospatial:
Dead Pike Lake, Powell Marsh
Online Only (Y/N):
Additional Online Files (Y/N):