The Oconomowoc River Watershed has a great asset in its many lakes that provide unique fish, wildlife and recreational habitat. Lakes in the watershed include but are not limited to the following:
- Friess Lake
- Lowes Lake
- Lake Keesus
- Murphy Lake
- Beaver Lake
- Pine Lake
- North Lake
- Okauchee Lake
- Oconomowoc Lake
- Fowler Lake
- Lac La Belle
- Silver Lake
Recreational facilities include boat launching or public access sites on Pine, Lac La Belle, Okauchee, Fowler, Beaver and Oconomowoc lakes.
Reduced phosphorus loading to lakes will have a direct impact on the health of aquatic life in and around the lakes. In addition, reduced phosphorus levels should lead to reduced weed growth. Reduced weeds will improve dissolved oxygen levels, reduced weed cutting expenses, and improved recreational boating activities.
Phosphorus reduction from the lakes will be explored in the OWPP. Phosphorus reductions in from lake systems can be achieved in a number of ways. The approach for phosphorus mitigation for lakes will be determined by the needs of each lake system and the resources of the communities surrounding the lake. Potential lake management options may include mechanical harvesting of excess aquatic plant growth, dredging, private lake shore maintenance and restoration, wetland restoration, watercraft inspection programs, and proper storm water management strategies. Any new practices implemented should be accompanied by methodical water quality monitoring which may help project partners better understand existing TP levels in the lakes and its transport downstream.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources considers Friess, Okauchee, and North lakes “impaired” because of excess phosphorus levels.
There are several lake management districts represented in the watershed that have given their support to the project. The OWPP looks forward to working with both lake associations and districts in the watershed to improve water quality.