Cason & Associates, LLC

Accredited lake management professionals, providing professional resources for managing, building and restoring lakes, ponds, rivers and wetlands.

Serving Wisconsin, Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northwestern Illinois.

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How Deep is Your Lake…Really?

Posted On 07/19/2016 By Mike Jahnke

How big and deep is your lake?  That’s the age old question.  The vast majority of Wisconsin lakes have lake maps publicly available.  However, most of the lake maps out there were done between 1930 and 1960.  They include hand drawn shoreline, estimated acreage and volume, and rough 5’ contour lines.  If you have ever used on of these maps while on the water, you have found that they don’t quite match up with real life.  Although these maps are amazingly accurate for the technology of the period,  they are far from reality.  Cason and Associates has a technologically advanced method of mapping lakes to give you a high resolution view of what your lake actually looks like down below. By using survey grade sonar and GPS, we can bring location accuracy to within 3 centimeters.  This brings us as close as possible to the real depth and location of each point.

Why is this level of accuracy important?  Maps are highly valued in the community by fishermen, and homeowners.  They show off the secret spots and make it easier to point out the place a favorite cabin memory took place.  When it comes to fishermen especially, the more accurate the map is the better it is for planning a fishing trip and influencing a great catch.

If you have aquatic invasive species in your lake an accurate map becomes even more crucial.  Invasive plants are controlled using herbicides.  The herbicides rates are calculated as parts per million by using the lakes volume.  If the volume is incorrect, the amount of herbicide is incorrect.  Essentially, you would either be paying for way too much product, or not getting enough herbicide to effectively control the invasive species you want controlled. If you are over applying the herbicide, you run the risk of damaging the native species of plants as well. It’s critical to know your lake’s volume!

Cason & Associates have teamed up with the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point to provide this lake mapping (bathymetric) ability to any lake association, home owner group, or even a private pond. Sometimes, the data collection can be done concurrently with a point intercept plant survey that a lake association needs to do as part of their lake management plan.  Once this data is collected and processed, UWSP compiles this data into a highly accurate bathymetric mapping of the contours of your lake using GIS technology. This 1’ contour digitized map will allow you the ability to print the map however the association would like.  From a lake management perspective, multiple layers can be superimposed on the bathymetric layer to produce a digital image of the plant diversity in the lake. Many other layers can be superimposed as well. Maybe it’s time to accurately map your lake. You will be surprised at how reasonable this service really can be.