- About Us
In April of 2008, the Rice Lake – Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District was awarded a $68,000.00 State of Wisconsin Aquatic Invasive Species Education, Prevention, and Planning grant. The purpose of this grant is to update an existing lake management plan that has been in place since 1994. The Rice Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District is one of the oldest Lake Districts in the State of Wisconsin. It was established in 1977 and includes municipal boundaries of the City of Rice Lake and a large portion of Rice Lake Township, both located in Barron County.
Rice Lake is a 939-acre lake controlled within a few inches of normal pool elevation by an 18-ft dam with a 12-ft. hydraulic head at it’s outlet to the Red Cedar River. The lake has a maximum depth of 19-ft. It has a 9.66-square mile watershed that drains into the lake through two main tributaries, the Red Cedar River and Bear Creek. Aquatic vegetation lines generally occur at a depth of 10-12 ft. in the lake. Curly-leaf pondweed, a non-native, aquatic invasive plant species is present in large amounts throughout the lake. Current lake management activities involve large-scale plant harvesting throughout the system for curly-leaf pondweed in the spring, and other native plant species throughout the open water season.
Rice Lake is separated into two basins by the County C Bridge. The north basin is shallower, with a maximum depth of about 15ft. Both major tributaries enter into this basin and the outfall is also located here. The south Basin is deeper and more of a bowl shape. Flow typically is not observable at the bridge connecting the two, though a significant drainage area does enter the southern basin through various ditches and gullies. Thermo-clines do develop in the north basin but are broken by flow or waves. An annual thermo-cline develops and remains intact all summer in the southern basin. View a map of the lake district.
The lake is nearly fully developed. Downtown Rice Lake sits on the shore of the lake and a significant portion of the urban storm sewer from the city drains directly to the lake. Numerous public boat launch facilities exist around the lake, with the 2 most used launch facilities at Veterans Memorial Park and at the downtown launch site between the Moose Club and Birchwood Manufacturing. The main attraction to Rice Lake is the fishing, including trophy Musky. The lake often has algae blooms and is heavily weeded, keeping direct contact uses less frequent, though a water-skier or swimmer is not uncommon on hot summer days.
There are numerous businesses located on the lake including hotels, resorts, bars, and restaurants, as well as manufacturing facilities. Several private residences on the lakes are operated as vacation rental units. Tourist and locals use the lake for boating, fishing, waterfowl hunting, skiing, wildlife watching, and general recreation.
On December 1, 2009 the new Rice Lake Aquatic Plant Management Plan was submitted to the WI DNR for approval. The new plan is focused on improving management strategies for aquatic plants in Rice Lake and is set up to cover the next five years. Also included in the new Aquatic Plant Management Plan are references and appendices associated with more comprehensive lake management planning strategies. The Rice Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District is in the process of applying for a WDNR Aquatic Invasive Species Control Grant to help implement the activities in the new APM Plan, to begin in the spring of 2010. The Lake District also intends to apply for a WDNR Lake Protection Grant to help implement more comprehensive management strategies beginning in 2011 or 2012.
For more details about the contents of the new Rice Lake Management Plan please consult the Aquatic Plant Management Plan.