Lake Koshkonong

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Lake Koshkonong
Lake Koshkonong is located in Wisconsin
Lake Koshkonong
Lake Koshkonong
Lake Koshkonong is located in the US
Lake Koshkonong
Lake Koshkonong
Location Jefferson / Rock / Dane counties, Wisconsin, US
Coordinates 42°52′27″N 88°57′29″W / 42.87417°N 88.95806°W / 42.87417; -88.95806Coordinates: 42°52′27″N 88°57′29″W / 42.87417°N 88.95806°W / 42.87417; -88.95806
Lake type reservoir
Primary inflows Rock River
Primary outflows Rock River
Basin countries United States
Surface area 10,500 acres (42 km2)
Average depth 6 ft (2 m)
Surface elevation 774 ft (236 m)

Lake Koshkonong is a reservoir in southern Wisconsin. It lies along the Rock River, 5.5 mi (8.9 km). down-river from Fort Atkinson, primarily in southwestern Jefferson County, although small portions of the lake extend into southeastern Dane and northern Rock counties.

The region about the Yahara River was called Gishkzhegonang (Catfish Place) by the Potawatomi peoples, and was transcribed into English as "Koshkonong." The Potawatomis called Lake Koshkonong as Éndayang-zagegen (Lake Where-we-live-on), but the early settlers began calling this lake in the Koshkonong region as Lake Koshkonong.[1]

Lake Koshkonong shares its name with Fort Koshkonong, a fort of some importance during the Black Hawk War. It is a natural lake, and at the time the fort was active, before the Rock River was dammed, the area was a cattail marsh with the Rock River running through the middle. The Indianford Dam several miles down the Rock River from Lake Koshkonong has made it one of the larger lakes in the state of Wisconsin (10,500 acres (42 km2)) but it remains very shallow with an average depth of six feet (2 m). The dam dates from 1932, 13 feet high (4 m) and with a length of 500 ft (150 m) at its crest. Maximum capacity of the reservoir is 107,000 acre⋅ft (132,000,000 m3). Both dam and reservoir are owned and operated by Rock County.[citation needed]

The lake borders on its east the Town of Koshkonong, and on its north the Town of Sumner.

Proposed nuclear power plant[edit]

In the 1970s, Lake Koshkonong was the primary site considered for a billion dollar nuclear power station. Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Wisconsin Power and Light Company, Madison Gas and Electric, and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation jointly proposed the project. In 1974, it was estimated that the utilities would lose $40 million if the two unit, 900 MW each, facility was not approved. At that time, the timetable had already slipped to a 1983/1984 commissioning.[2]

The plan met with strong resistance from environmental groups and was eventually killed in 1977 by concerns regarding the lake's shallow depth during drought conditions. Attempts were made to salvage the $40 million investment by moving the facility to Haven, Wisconsin, near Sheboygan, but state utilities gave up on their plans for construction of a nuclear station in Wisconsin following the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania. The plant was planned to be built on Vickerman Road, east of the lake and east of Wisconsin Highway 26.(42°51′37″N 88°53′27″W / 42.86028°N 88.89083°W / 42.86028; -88.89083 (Lake Koshkonong Nuclear Plant (project)))[3]


  1. ^ Cassidy, Frederic G. (2009) "Lake Koshkonong" in Dane County Place-Names, p. 87.
  2. ^ "Lake Koshkonong Nuclear Plant Timetable Back By Two Years". The Sheboygan Press, December 20, 1974, p. 5.
  3. ^ Schlicht, Lauren. Weighing Koshkonong technology against ecology. Goldlin, Jan (ed.) / The Wisconsin Engineer, Volume 80, Number 5 (March 1976)

External links[edit]