Northeast Lakeshore TMDL
A framework for water quality improvement
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The DNR, together with many partners throughout the basins, is working to improve the surface water quality of tributaries, streams, rivers and lakes within the Northeast Lakeshore (NEL) TMDL basins. The NEL TMDL is focused on addressing surface water quality impairments from phosphorus and total suspended solids. In addition, quantifying nonpoint nitrogen loading is part of the study; however, a TMDL will not be created for nitrogen because there are no surface water standards for nitrogen. The TMDL study and implementation plan will provide a strategic framework and prioritize resources for surface water quality improvement across the basins that make up Wisconsin's northeast lakeshore.
The NEL TMDL study area spans a portion of the Lake Michigan watershed from just south of Sturgeon Bay to Port Washington and reaches west towards Lake Winnebago (Lake Winnebago is covered by the Upper Fox and Wolf TMDL), covering 1,964 square miles, approximately 3.5 percent of the state.
Under s. 281.145, Wis. Stats., the DNR was directed to conduct a study of nutrients in the Northeast Lakeshore study area. This study took the form of a TMDL for total phosphorus and a separate watershed study for nitrogen.
The nitrogen study, separate from the TMDL, was conducted by the DNR to quantify and characterize the amounts of nitrogen introduced into surface waters relative to climate, land use and other watershed characteristics. The study also explores potential mechanisms to reduce the amounts of nitrogen introduced into surface waters. Unlike the TMDL, the results of the nitrogen study do not result in TMDL allocations or modification of permit limits.
A webinar discussing the nitrogen study was held on Nov. 9, 2022.
TMDL Study for Total Phosphorus and TSS/Sediment
Informational Hearing for NE Lakeshore TMDL
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conducted a public informational hearing on Aug. 2, 2023, to provide an overview of the final draft report and receive comments on the “Northeast Lakeshore TMDL: Total Maximum Daily Loads for Total Phosphorus and Total Suspended Solids” (TMDL Study). The public informational hearing included a presentation outlining the clarifying text added to the TMDL report which discusses climate change considerations, clarifies margin of safety assumptions, discusses dissolved reactive phosphorus, and outlines implementation planning and monitoring considerations.
Recorded presentation: Public Informational Hearing Northeast Lakeshore TMDL (best viewed in Chrome browser)
Contact/Questions: Kevin Kirsch, Kevin.Kirsch@wisconsin.gov
- January 2023 Informational Webinar
A webinar that provides an overview or the draft TMDL report and allocations. The presentation focuses on the layout of the report, explains how to interpret the results, and highlights key sections of the report.
- September 2022 Meeting with Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facilities
Meeting reviewing the allocation process and clarify how allocations are translated into effluent limits. This meeting was held in response to questions and comments received from representatives of municipal wastewater treatment facilities.
- September 13, 2022
- Recorded presentation: Allocation & Translation Into Municipal Wastewater Permits (best viewed in Chrome browser)
- Webinar presentation slides
- December 2021 Informational Webinar
Webinar covering lake modeling results, the allocation process, and draft allocations.
- March 2021 Informational Webinar
Baseline Load Results and Allocation Process
- Summer 2020 Informational Webinar Series:
The TMDL Process and Watershed Model Development
In summer 2020, the DNR presented a series of public informational webinars to introduce development of the Soil & Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) watershed model for the NE Lakeshore TMDL. The webinar announcement flyer summarizes the topics of each webinar. Recordings and PDFs of the webinar presentations are below.
- Webinar 1: TMDL process and introduction to the NE Lakeshore TMDL
- Webinar 2: Water Quality Data and Impairments
- Webinar 3: Watershed Model Introduction and Data Inputs
- Thursday, August 6, 2020
- Recorded presentation: Introduction to the Watershed Model and Data Inputs
- Webinar presentation slides
- Webinar 4: Watershed Model Setup
Draft datasets and reports
Current Comment Periods
The public hearing version of the TMDL Study incorporates input and comments received during the previous review periods and the March 2023 listening session and comment period. The public informational hearing will include a presentation outlining the clarifying text added to the TMDL report which discusses climate change considerations, clarifies margin of safety assumptions, discusses dissolved reactive phosphorus, and outlines implementation planning and monitoring considerations.
Written comments will be accepted through September 1, 2023. Verbal comments, received during the public hearing, and written comments received prior to the close of the comment period will be considered prior to making a final approval and submittal of the TMDL Study to U.S. EPA. Written and verbal comments carry the same weight. A summary with response to comments shall be included in the final TMDL Study report.
Written comments can be submitted via e-mail to Kevin.Kirsch@wisconsin.gov or by regular mail to:
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Attn: Kevin Kirsch
101 S. Webster St., P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921
Reasonable accommodation, including the provision of informational material in an alternative format, will be provided for qualified individuals with disabilities upon request.
The following documents have been posted for review and comment. Unless otherwise noted, the documents have been previously posted for review and remain unchanged from the version provided during the March 2023 review period.
Report for ReviewNortheast Lakeshore TMDL (Draft) for Total Phosphorus and Total Suspended Solids (Note: updated document)
Appendix C: TMDL Subbasin Land Use and Maps:
- Appendix C: Kewaunee Total Phosphorus
- Appendix C: Kewaunee Total Suspended Solids
- Appendix C: Manitowoc Total Phosphorus
- Appendix C: Manitowoc Total Suspended Solids
- Appendix C: Sheboygan Total Phosphorus
- Appendix C: Sheboygan Total Suspended Solids
Appendix K: Total Phosphorus Allocation Tables (Note: updated document)
Appendix M: Agricultural Edge-of-Field Targets (Note: updated document)
Appendix N: Response to Comments (Note: new document)
Past Comment Periods
- Stakeholder Review - March 2023
The DNR accepted comments on the draft NEL TMDL report and associated appendices through COB on March 3, 2023.
Note: Six of the appendices were previously posted for comment but were included again in this comment period for completeness.
- Stakeholder Review - January 2022
The draft lake modeling report and allocation tables can be found here:
- Stakeholder review – March/April 2021
The SWAT watershed model was developed by CADMUS, under a contract with US EPA, and quantifies the baseline stream flows and pollutant loads.
The draft watershed model report is available here for stakeholder review. Comments were accepted through April 16. 2021.
- Stakeholder review - September/October 2020
The SWAT watershed model is being developed by CADMUS, under a contract with US EPA, and will quantify the baseline stream flows and pollutant loads.
A portion of the draft watershed model report is available here for stakeholder review. Comments were accepted through October 16, 2020.
- Stakeholder review - July 2019
Below is the first round of draft products that the DNR has made accessible for stakeholder review. These products will contribute to the development of the watershed model. Additional datasets will be posted for review as they are developed. Please review the instructions document below for more information. Comments were accepted through July 12, 2019. Data sets were revised according to stakeholder comments and updated in January 2020.
Map and spatial data viewer
- Project area map
- Watershed restoration viewer ( Instructions for viewing the NE Lakeshore TMDL layer )
- GIS data files
- Updated subbasin delineations - updated December 23, 2021
- NE Lakeshore TMDL subbasin and baseline maps