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Hydrology and water quality of Wind Lake in southeastern Wisconsin

Water-Resources Investigations Report 91-4107

Prepared in cooperation with the Wind Lake Management District
By:

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Abstract

The hydrology and water quality of Wind Lake-a recreational lake in a densely populated area of southeastern Wisconsin was studied from October 1, 1987 through September 30,1989.

A drought in 1988 affected the hydrologic budget of Wind Lake in water years 1988-89. Precipitation was 5.9 inches less than normal in water year 1988 but was 2.3 inches greater than normal in water year 1989. Streamflows were near normal in water year 1988 and 25 percent less than normal in water year 1989 as indicated by data from a nearby streamflow-gaging station. Surface runoff was the dominant source of water to the lake in water year 1988 and 75 percent of the inflow was from Big Muskego Lake.

The water level in Big Muskego Lake was 1.1 feet below the dam crest at the start of the 1989 water year because of the 1988 drought. About 2,510 acre-feet of water had to fill Big Muskego Lake before water could discharge to Wind Lake. In water year 1989, surface runoff was still the dominant source of water to the lake, but Big Muskego Lake only contributed 52 percent of the water inflow.

Streamflow dominated the outflow budget for both years. In water year 1988, 88 percent of the outflow budget left by way of Wind Lake outlet and 12 percent evaporated from the lake surface. In water year 1989, 81 percent of the outflow budget left by way of Wind Lake outlet and 19 percent evaporated from the lake surface. On the basis of outflow from Wind Lake for water year 1988, the hydraulic residence time was 0.46 year; in water year 1989 it was 1.05 years.

The total phosphorus input to Wind Lake from external sources was the same for both years, 3,160 pounds. The largest percentage of the phosphorus load came from Big Muskego Lake-- 70 percent in water year 1988 and 65 percent in water year 1989. Analysis of data by use of Vollenweider's model indicates that the phosphorus loadings for each year would cause eutrophic conditions. Data from a nearby gaging station indicate that phosphorus loading to Wind Lake was less than normal. Phosphorus retention in the lake is small and averages 14 percent of the incoming load for both years.

Oxygen depletion occurs in the bottom waters during winter and summer months. A maximum anoxic zone was reached on July 18, 1988, when depths greater than 15 feet (about 21 percent of the lake bottom area) were anoxic.

Total phosphorus concentrations at the lake surface for both years ranged from 11 to 78 micrograms per liter. Mean total phosphorus concentrations in June, July, and August that had averaged 49 micrograms per liter in 1985 through 1987 declined to 20 micrograms per liter in water year 1988 and 22 micrograms per liter in water year 1989. This reduction was related to the drought and reduced phosphorus loadings.

Phosphorus concentrations 1.5 feet above the lake bottom increase during summer anoxic periods. The phosphorus concentration increased at a rate of 5.2 and 4.8 micrograms per liter per day for total and dissolved orthophosphate phosphorus. A maximum concentration of 760 micrograms per liter of total phosphorus and 650 micrograms per liter of dissolved orthophosphate phosphorus occurred on September 21, 1988, just before autumn turnover. Internal loading of phosphorus for the period October 15, 1987 through October 14, 1988, was estimated to be 2,890 pounds. This represents 48 percent of the combined internal and external total-phosphorus input of 5,960 pounds.

Algal populations in water year 1988 ranged from 28,200 to 1,610,000 cells per milliliter. A total of 143 species were identified. Blue-green algae dominated the algal population and ranged from 56 percent (February 16, 1988) to 99 percent (five other sampling dates). Aphanocapsa delicatissima caused the largest algal bloom, which reached a maximum concentration of 934,000 cells per milliliter (September 7, 1988).

Zooplankton populations in water year 1988 ranged from 52.5 to 686 organisms per liter. Eighteen species were identified. The cladoceran, Daphnia, dominated 12 of the 18 samples.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Hydrology and water quality of Wind Lake in southeastern Wisconsin
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
91-4107
Year Published:
1993
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Wisconsin Water Science Center
Description:
vii, 61 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Wisconsin
Other Geospatial:
Big Muskego Lake, Littel Muskego Lake, Wind Lake
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N