Central Sands Lakes Study
The Central Sands region is a contiguous area east of the Wisconsin River with sand and gravel deposits greater than 50 feet deep. The Central Sands region spans several counties and includes more than 800 miles of trout streams and 300 lakes — which provides for water-related recreational activities and supports the local tourism industry. Water withdrawn from this aquifer, primarily through high capacity wells, provides water for local municipalities, private wells, industries and agriculture.
Under 2017 Wisconsin Act 10, the department will evaluate and model the potential impacts of groundwater withdrawals on three specific lakes in the Central Sands region through the Central Sands Lakes Study. The three lakes in the study are all in Waushara County — Long Lake and Plainfield Lake near Plainfield, and Pleasant Lake near Coloma.
The study will include the use of a groundwater flow model to evaluate cumulative impacts from existing and potential groundwater withdrawals on the three lakes. The groundwater flow model will involve data collection and compilation across the region. As required by Act 10, field studies will also be utilized to evaluate the impact of groundwater withdrawals on the three study lakes.
The department will determine if there is the potential for significant impacts to the lake's average seasonal levels as a result of groundwater withdrawals. If the department determines that the potential for significant impacts exists, several steps will be taken including a public hearing, economic impact analysis and providing recommendations to the Legislature for special measures to mitigate those impacts.
The DNR and our partners are monitoring water resources and collecting data to inform the Central Sands Lakes Study.
Central Sands area and Act 10 Study lakes
The Central Wisconsin Sand and Gravel Aquifer is defined as a contiguous area east of the Wisconsin River with sand and gravel deposits greater than 50 feet deep. As shown below, the Central Sands Lakes Study is focused on three lakes within the region.
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High capacity wells
- Application and instructions
- Application review process
- Property/ownership transfers