Simulation of stage and the the hydrologic budget of Devils Lake, Sauk County, Wisconsin

Open-File Report 94-348
Prepared in cooperation with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the town of Baraboo
By:  and 



Water clarity of Devils Lake, in the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin, has been decreasing because of blue-green algal blooms. An understanding of the hydrology of Devils Lake is needed to develop a mitigation plan to reduce phosphorus input. A model was developed to test the current understanding of the hydrology of the lake including stage and hydrologic budget and to estimate the effects of proposed mitigation plans on lake stage.

Daily lake stage was simulated in the model by summing estimates of hydrologic-budget components. The Devils Lake hydrologic-budget components are precipitation on the lake surface, evaporation from the lake surface, runoff (consisting of overland flow to the lake and an intermittent stream flowing into the lake), and ground-water flow into and out of the lake.

The model was calibrated to measured lake stage for the period 1980-92. Simulated stage compares reasonably well with historical stage data for Devils Lake. The root mean square of the differences of simulated and measured daily lake stages for the period 1980-92 is 0.83 foot. Simulated lake stage is very sensitive to small changes in runoff and evaporation coefficients, and ground-waterflow rates used in the model.

The average model-calculated annual amounts of each hydrologic-budget component for the 1980-92 simulation period, in order of increasing volume, are evaporation (791 acre-feet), precipitation (973 acre-feet), runoff (1,107 acre-feet), and net ground-water flow, which is out of the lake (1,323 acre-feet).

Three mitigation plans were simulated. Mitigation plan 3, which includes the addition of water from a basin adjacent to the northeastern side of the Devils Lake Basin, allows for withdrawals of hypolimnetic water and maintaining lake stage closer to optimal levels than would result without mitigation.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Simulation of stage and the the hydrologic budget of Devils Lake, Sauk County, Wisconsin
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 94-348
DOI 10.3133/ofr94348
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description iv, 22 p.
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Sauk County
City Baraboo
Other Geospatial Devil's Lake
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details