Lake Springfield is a reservoir built by impounding water upstream of Spaulding Dam on Sugar Creek. In general, the raw water quality of the lake is typical of many midwestern reservoirs.
Rain falling directly on Lake Springfield is one source of water supplying the lake; however, the predominant supply is runoff from the 265-square-mile watershed that lies primarily southwest of the lake. The watershed is the system of drainage ways, most notably Lick and Sugar Creeks and their tributaries, that collect runoff water and groundwater from as far west as Waverly and as far south as Virden. The land use in the watershed is approximately 88 percent agriculturally oriented with the row cropping of corn and soybeans predominating. Given the agricultural nature of the watershed, the lake is very much influenced by the soils, land uses, and human activity occurring within the watershed. These influences, seasonal changes, and the dynamic nature of the lake ecosystems all contribute to the quality of water in the lake.
Read About CWLP's Lake Water Sampling Programs
CWLP biologists and chemists regularly collect lake samples in cooperation with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program. Parameters such as pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen
, clarity, conductivity, alkalinity, nutrients, and suspended solids are measured and recorded in a database for use in comparing trends over time. In 1999, the utility initiated an E. coli monitoring program
. Taking a lead from the Illinois Department of Public Health, which uses high levels of E. coli
as an indicator of potential health concerns at bathing beaches, CWLP monitors regularly for E. coli
at five locations around the lake.
Monitoring has indicated that E. coli levels spike (rapidly increase) after rainfall events and then subside within a few days. Recreational users now have the opportunity to use this monitoring information to help them decide where and in which areas of the lake they choose to recreate at any given time.
Read About the Lake Springfield Watershed Planning Committee
A volunteer organization, the Lake Springfield Watershed Resources Planning Committee meets regularly to discuss and implement strategies for reducing sediment and chemical runoff to the lake. This diverse group of farmers, resource professionals, utility representatives, chemical and fertilizer dealers, farm managers, and other individuals concerned about the preservation of Lake Springfield and its watershed always welcomes fresh faces with new ideas focused on enhancing the resources. This group has written legislation, sponsored research, and made recommendations to resource agencies to implement strategies aimed at maintaining and improving the quality of Lake Springfield. For more information, call the Sangamon County Soil and Water Conservation District at (217) 241-6640 ext. 3.
Links to more information about Lake Springfield raw water quality issues and related topics can be found in the left-hand column of this page.