The effects of using ground water to maintain water levels of Cedar Lake, Wisconsin

Water-Resources Investigations Report 80-23

Prepared in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources



Cedar Lake, a kettle lake with no surface inlet or outlet, was studied to evaluate the feasibility of maintaining water levels of lakes in the glaciated kettle moraine area of eastern Wisconsin by pumping ground water into them. The general hydrogeology of the area around the lake was defined and the hydrology of the lake was studied in detail.

There are two aquifer systems in the Cedar Lake area, and in general, throughout eastern Wisconsin. The shallow aquifer system is composed of unconsolidated glacial drift of Quaternary age and consolidated bedrock of Silurian age. Cedar Lake is located in a local recharge area within this system. The saturated thicknesses of the glacial drift and Silurian dolomite beneath the lake are approximately 100 feet and 500 feet, respectively. This aquifer system is separated from an underlying aquifer system by a layer of shale approximately '200 feet thick that forms an effective barrier to water movement. The deep aquifer system is composed of dolomites and sandstones of Ordovician and Cambrian age whose composite thickness is 600 to 650 feet.

A water budget was prepared to quantify the components of the hydrologic system of Cedar Lake. Inflow to the lake averaged approximately ^5 inches per water year for the 2-year period October 197^ through September 1976. Inflow consisted of precipitation on the lake surface (28 inches), groundwater seepage to the lake (2 inches), and overland flow (15 inches) to the lake. Outflow averaged approximately U9 inches per year for the same 2- year period. Outflow consisted of evaporation (31 inches) from the lake surface and ground-water seepage from the lake (18 inches).

A volume of water equivalent to that needed to raise the lake level 1*7 inches was pumped from the shallow aquifer system into Cedar Lake between February 1 and September 30, 1977. The water budget for the lake during this period indicated that approximately 90 percent of pumped water was either recycled from the lake to the well or otherwise lost as seepage from the lake.

Selected physical and chemical characteristics of the lake water were measured periodically between October 197^ and September 1977- The water temperature ranged between 26°C in August to approximately 2°C in December during each year of the study. The dissolved-oxygen concentration of the water ranged from 13 milligrams per liter at the time ice cover first developed in December to h milligrams per liter at the time ice cover broke up the following April. The total nitrogen concentration of the water varied from 1.0 milligrams per liter during winter to 0.5 milligrams per liter during summer. The total phosphorus concentration of the water was fairly uniform throughout the year, averaging 0.01 milligrams per liter.

The phytoplankton population was sampled periodically. The total phytoplankton count was small during winter, generally less than 250 cells per milliliter. These phytoplankton were composed of euglenoids, diatoms, green algae, and blue-green algae. The count increased to 50,000 to 100,000 cells per milliliter during summer. One or two species of blue-green algae dominated during these times.

There were no identifiable changes in measured physical and chemical characteristics of lake water during sustained pumping of ground water into the lake, nor were there identifiable changes in the number or makeup of the phytoplankton community. Differences in physical and chemical characteristics of lake water and ground water added to the lake probably were not great enough to cause changes within the lake.

Study Area

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Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
The effects of using ground water to maintain water levels of Cedar Lake, Wisconsin
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Wisconsin Water Science Center
iv, 35 p.
United States
Manitowoc County
Other Geospatial:
Cedar Lake
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