While Apple Canyon Lake (ACL) is a man-made recreational lake, conservation efforts are of the utmost importance. The creation of a watershed plan for Apple Canyon Lake is underway!

The Apple Canyon Lake (ACL) watershed is made up of land surrounding northern Hell’s Branch, Winchester, Independence, and President’s streams and their tributaries (about 9,785 acres in total).

In the spring of 2014, Apple Canyon Lake was awarded a section 319 grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) for the creation of a watershed plan. Funding was provided for the collection of data/information and a Watershed Plan was created in 2016.


Partnering with the Jo Daviess Soil and Water Conservation District (JDSWCD) information was compiled on:

  • The volume of the lake (by creating a detailed bathymetric map).
  • The loads coming into the lake (through monthly water quality sampling at 9 stream sites around the lake)
  • Watershed characteristics (by conducting stream corridor surveys).
  • Lake characteristics (with the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program’s data, and qualitative studies).
  • Land use in watershed (by utilizing existing data).

By identifying problem areas and their severity, exact nutrient loads were calculated and specific stabilization projects addressed in the plan.

The final Watershed Plan was approved in late 2016 by the EPA, planning committee, and ACL management.

Read the ACL Watershed Plan