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Planning Assistance to States (PAS): Red Cedar Basin Study

Published March 16, 2017
Updated: April 8, 2020

Lakes Tainter and Menomin, along with other lakes in the Red Cedar River Basin and the river itself, are prone to algae blooms due to excess phosphorus flowing to these waters. In 2012 a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) calculation for Lakes Tainter and Menomin was finalized by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and approved by the U.S. Environmental Agency. The TMDL recommends a reduction of approximately 330,000 pounds/year of phosphorus flowing to Tainter Lake, and approximately 176,000 pounds/year to Lake Menomin. The purpose of this study is further analyze ways to reduce phosphorus loads in the Red Cedar River Basin and meet the phosphorus load reductions set by the TMDLs in the basin.


The study titled “Red Cedar Basin Assessment to Improve Water Quality” is for the Red Cedar River Basin, which drains a 1,893 square-mile area in west-central Wisconsin and includes parts of Barron, Chippewa, Dunn, Polk, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix and Washburn counties.


A partnership agreement was executed between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission in April 2016. Additional study partners include the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin–Extensions, University of Wisconsin–Stout; Tainter-Menomin Lake Improvement Association, Dunn County, and Barron County. The study addresses water quality modeling, economic impact of poor water quality and the community’s capacity to accept best management practices and land use changes to improve on water quality improvements.


The study is wrapping up and is expected to be completed in fall 2020.


The study was authorized by Section 22 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1974 (Public Law 93‒251), as amended. The study was conducted under the Corps’ Planning Assistance to States (PAS) program, following the 50/50 cost share formula with the non-federal sponsor.


The following is a summary of the funds received for the “Red Cedar Basin Assessment to Improve Water Quality.”

Total Study Cost                                                  $600,000
Total federal Funds Allocated to Date             $300,000