Wisconsin DNR orders draw down of remaining Jersey Valley Lake due to safety and fishery concerns

VERNON COUNTY, Wis. – The Vernon County Land and Water Conservation Department announced today it will be drawing down the partial pool at Jersey Valley.  Following the 2018 floods that caused Jersey Dam to breach the normal 52 acre lake has been reduced a fraction of it’s previous size but now that pool will also be almost completely eliminated.

County officials say the draw down has been ordered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for dam safety and fishery concerns.  Recent water temperature data collected by the DNR illustrate a warming effect on the Class 1 trout stream below the dam.  This warming affect is correlated with the shallow pool above the dam and may cause detrimental effects to the downstream trout fishery.  The pool is currently about 5.0 acres in size and will be drawn to down to approximately one half acre over the next two weeks.  The dam still holds and maintains some flood water so the pool will fluctuate with precipitation and snow melt events. 

Jersey Valley Dam during the flood event in 2018

Vernon County and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) are undergoing a watershed study. At this point a rebuild of the Jersey Valley Dam is being discussed with construction possible in 2029-2031.  That federal study has concluded that all 14 dams in the Coon Creek watershed and all nine dams in the West Fork Kickapoo be “decommissioned” or taken out of service. The study has recommended replacing Jersey Valley Dam, mainly because of its recreational value, but that decision needs to be finalized with the county and NRCS.

You can read more about that plan to decommission those dams in our previous story here.

The county Land and Water Conservation Department said that in time they hope to have the Jersey Valley lake back for recreational users.  They said that at full lake level they will be able to once again use a cool water draw from the bottom of the lake where cold water will once again be present and released downstream. 

For questions about the fishery concerns regarding the Jersey Valley draw-down, contact Kirk Olson DNR Senior Fisheries Biologist, at 608-799-4920.

For the most recent information on the Vernon County Dams Study and the Environmental Impact Statement visit

Oh, hi there. 👋 We are so glad you found us.

If you like our content maybe you want to sign up for our daily email. It's free and you won't miss any stories. One email a day with two or three top stories. It's like having your own personal newspaper. And we won't overload your inbox. Promise.

We don’t spam!

Tim Hundt

Add comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

13th Annual Tractor Ride for Cancer

13th Annual Tractor Ride for Cancer