Lake County lies in the eastern portion of the State of South
Dakota at the crossroads of United States Highway 81 and South
Dakota Highway 34. Major cities within the area include Fargo,
Sioux City, Minneapolis, and Sioux Falls.
The county is comprised of five incorporated (Madison, Nunda,
Prairie Village, Ramona, and Wentworth) and five unincorporated
communities (Chester, Franklin, Junius, Rutland. and Winfred),
and sixteen townships. The centrally located City of Madison is
the county seat.
Streams, Lakes and Wetlands The water drainage in Lake County is concentrated in two river
basins (the Big Sioux River and Vermillion River). The East Fork
of the Vermillion River, along with Black Creek, North Buffalo
Creek, Buffalo Creek, Skunk Creek, Park Creek, and Battle Creek
form the major surface drainage features in Lake County. While
Battle Creek, Black Creek, North Buffalo Creek, Buffalo Creek,
Skunk Creek, and Park Creek with their tributaries drain 72.9
percent of the county into the Big Sioux River Basin, the East
Fork of the Vermillion River along with its tributaries drains
the remainder of the county.
Wetlands are prevalent throughout the entire county. Wetlands
perform a variety of functions, serving as natural water purifiers
by filtering out pollutants, thereby enhancing surface and groundwater
quality, increasing wildlife and fish habitat and providing recreational
opportunities. Wetlands also reduce siltation and control flooding
by slowing runoff during rapid snow melt and heavy rainfall, releasing
water gradually so erosion and downstream flooding are minimized.
Climate The climate of the Lake County is relatively
medium throughout the year, characterized by cold, wet winters
and warm, dry summers.
Temperatures occasionally exceed 100°F in the summer months
(May-September), and periodically drops below -25°F in the
winter months (November-March). The average growing season is
about 150-180 days. Because Lake County spans a wide range of
similar region, there is little variation in precipitation, and
elevations. This in most
part explains why the county has a similar rain and snow fall
each year. The average elevation at the Madison airport is 1320
feet above sea level.