The Lake Winnebago Watershed covers over 581 square miles with over 200 square miles of the watershed being lakes, the largest of which is Lake Winnebago. The watershed is located between Upper and Lower Fox Rivers in Wisconsin, and includes the cities of Menasha, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac as the primary urbanized areas. The watershed also includes the High Cliff State Park, a 1,145 acre state park, located in Calumet County.
The watershed is above a sandstone aquifer and is primarily a glacial plain. The Niagara Escarpment, a bedrock ridge, forms the eastern boundary of the Lake Winnebago Watershed.
A Glacial Habitat Restoration Area (GHRA) is located in the watershed in Winnebago and Fond du Lac counties. The GHRA is an area where the state is restoring a patchwork of grasslands and wetlands over a large rural landscape enabling wildlife to coexist side-by-side with agriculture. The basin hosts resident and migratory neo-tropical songbirds in its open grassland/agricultural habitat.
There are several water quality issues associated with the watershed. Several urban stormwater outfalls discharge to Lake Winnebago from portions of the Cities of Oshkosh, Neenah, and Menasha. Runoff from peak storm events from commercial, industrial, and residential construction sites, and from plat developments in rapidly developing sections of these cities have been identified as sources of nonpoint source pollution problems. Water quality modeling done by Northeast Wisconsin Waters of Tomorrow (NEWWT) have indicated this watershed to be a major contributor of phosphorus and suspended solids to Lake Winnebago. Critical animal waste and soil erosion problems have been intensified by the steep slopes along the Niagra Escarpment. Average soil loss in Calumet County is estimated to be 2.7 tons per acre. Both the Winnebago Comprehensive Management Plan and the Lower Green Bay Remedial Action Plan have identified this watershed as a high priority for the control of non point sources of pollution. The eastern portion of the watershed was selected as a nonpoint source priority watershed project in 1989. The primary goals of the watershed project were to reduce phosphorus and sediment loading to Lake Winnebago and decrease the loading of heavy metals from urban nonpoint sources.
|Lake Winnebago Harbors|