Potato Lake Lake Management Planning Project

Potato Lake is a spring fed lake east of Spooner, WI in Washburn County. It has a surface area of 222 acres, a maximum depth of 20-ft, a mean depth of 11-ft and is considered the headwaters of Potato Creek.

With more than 70 homes, most of the 2.9 miles of shoreline is developed. In 2005, a baseline study was completed that identified several areas of concern that should be addressed in future studies. A new, DNR grant funded project, sponsored by the Potato Lake Association was started in 2010 to do just that.

The activities included in the 2010 Project were designed to gather additional information about the condition of Potato Lake and its watershed. Extensive water quality data in Potato Lake, in tributaries flowing into the lake, and in two smaller lakes within the watershed that eventually drain to Potato Lake were collected. Information necessary to complete basic water and nutrient budgeting to determine nutrient loading to the lake from various sources were also collected. Public input into management decisions made on behalf of the lake were gathered through a Lake User Survey that was distributed to all lake riparian owners and other interested parties. Survey responses were evaluated and incorporated in the management recommendations made for the lake. The plant community within Potato Lake was evaluated by completing an early-season and a mid-season point-intercept plant survey of the entire lake. The presence or absence of such invasive species as Eurasian water milfoil and curly-leaf pondweed was documented.

Lake, tributary, watershed, plant, and water and nutrient budgeting information was combined with general lake and watershed characteristics, fish and wildlife information, and current and past management activities to create an Aquatic Plant Management (APM) Plan for Potato Lake. A top/bottom historic paleocore (lake sediment sampling) was completed to determine if current water quality conditions in the lake are substantially different from conditions more than 100 years ago. Results from this study and the historic paleocore was combined with results from the 2005 study to determine if more comprehensive lake and watershed management planning was necessary. Lake User education included a watercraft inspection program, Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM) and other aquatic invasive species (AIS) monitoring, and a Lake User Fair to promote good lake stewardship activities.


Joe Adler
Potato Lake Association

Project Manager
Bruce Olson