A Short History about Half Moon Lake
Logging was an essential part of western Wisconsin’s
economy from the 1850s to the 1920s. The logging industry
used Half Moon Lake (HML) in Eau Claire as a
holding pond awaiting milling at sawmills along the lakeshore.
Although the logging industry use of HML ceased
decades ago, the effects of the logging industry on
HML’s water quality can still be observed today. Presently,
HML is a valued recreational area for the surrounding
community; therefore, returning the lake to a healthy
ecosystem is a common interest.
During the logging era, industrial wastes, such as bark,
sawdust, slabs, and animal waste, were dumped on top
of a former natural lake bottom. This organic material is
believed to be several meters thick. To investigate these
deposits, a pulseEKKO ground penetrating radar (GPR)
system with 50 and 100 MHz antennae was used to collect
subaqueous stratigraphic data. The 50 MHz frequency penetrated deeper into the lakebed while the 100 MHz had lower penetration with higher resolution. In addition, Trimble ProXR global positioning systems (GPS) was used to georeference GPR transects. The results
from this project will further aid local and state agencies in better managing lakes.
Half Moon Lake located in the city of Eau Claire, in west central Wisconsin has been the subject of research since 2005. The lake in its present state is eutrophic, a condition due to the lake’s excess of phosphorus which promotes an abundance of vegetation growth.
Half Moon Lake was once a holding pond for logs awaiting milling at the numerous sawmills along the lake’s shoreline. The photograph above was taken from the northern portion of Half Moon Lake looking east. As the photograph indicates, the lake was at one time an industrial operation center for west central Wisconsin.
The image above
depicts one of several
saw mills located along
the lake around the turn of the 20th century. The lake was a
convenient dumping ground for the abundant mill waste.
For more information about the history of Half Moon Lake please visit the following website.