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Consumption Advisories and PFAS

The DNR works closely with the Department of Health Services (DHS) to issue consumption advisories for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) where and when necessary. Fish consumption advisories are based on guidance from the Great Lakes Consortium for Fish Consumption Advisories [PDF exit DNR]. DNR’s Fisheries Management Program manages fish consumption advisories and DNR’s Wildlife Management program manages deer consumption advisories.

Jan. 18, 2023: Updated PFAS Fish Consumption Advisory Issued for Parts of the Yahara Chain

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Department of Health Services (DHS) announced today changes to the existing PFAS consumption advisory for portions of the Yahara Chain of Lakes in Dane County.

Following the initial advisory issued for parts of the Yahara Chain in June 2021, the DNR Bureau of Fisheries Management collected additional fish samples for analysis. Elevated levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), a type of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), were found in white bass collected from Lake Kegonsa. As a result, the DNR and DHS have developed a new advisory for Yahara Chain waters from Wingra Creek, Starkweather Creek, Lake Monona, Lake Waubesa, Upper and Lower Mud Lake, Lake Kegonsa and the Yahara River downstream to where it meets the Rock River.

In addition to the existing advisories issued in June of 2021, the DNR and DHS are now recommending the consumption of one meal per month for white bass.

Species Current advisory New advisory
White Bass General/Statewide* 1 meal/month

*The general/statewide white bass consumption advice for women <50 and children is 1 meal/month and 1 meal/week for women >50 and men.


Jan. 18, 2023: New PFAS Fish Consumption Advisory Issued for Lake Wausau and Stevens Point Flowage

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) today announced a new PFAS-based consumption advisory for several fish species in Lake Wausau in Marathon County and the Stevens Point Flowage in Portage County (both of which are segments of the Wisconsin River) based on fish sampling.

Elevated levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), a type of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), were found in several fish species sampled from both Lake Wausau and the Stevens Point Flowage.

As a result, the DNR and DHS recommend the following consumption guidelines for anyone harvesting fish from those waterbodies:

Lake Wausau (Marathon County): Advisory is from the Wausau Dam downstream to the Schofield Dam and Rothschild Dam, including the Big Rib River until it flows under Hwy 29.

Species Previous advisory New advisory
Black Crappie General/Statewide* 1 meal/week
Bluegill General/Statewide* 1 meal/week
Rock Bass General/Statewide* 1 meal/week
Yellow Perch General/Statewide* 1 meal/week
Common Carp 1 meal/month (PCBs) 1 meal/month (PCBs)(No change)
Redhorse 1 meal/month (PCBs) 1 meal/month (PCBs)(No change)

Stevens Point Flowage (Portage County): Advisory begins at the Du Bay Dam and flows downstream to the Stevens Point Dam.

Species Previous advisory New advisory
Black Crappie General/Statewide* 1 meal/week
Bluegill General/Statewide* 1 meal/week
Rock Bass General/Statewide* 1 meal/week
Yellow Perch General/Statewide* 1 meal/week
Common Carp 1 meal/month (PCBs) 1 meal/month (PCBs)(No change)
Redhorse 1 meal/month (PCBs) 1 meal/month (PCBs)(No change)

*The general/statewide consumption advice for women <50 and children is 1 meal/week for bluegill, crappies, yellow perch, sunfish, rock bass, bullheads and inland trout and 1 meal/month for all other species. For women >50 and men, the general/statewide consumption advice is 1 meal/week for all species except for bluegill, crappies, yellow perch, sunfish, rock bass, bullheads and inland trout, which are unrestricted.

Fish Consumption and PFAS

Fishing is an important part of life in Wisconsin and eating fish that you catch can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. Fish are generally high in protein, contain vitamins and minerals and are the primary food source for healthy omega-3 fats.

However, fish may take in pollutants from their environment and their food. In Wisconsin, the DNR regularly tests fish to determine if they contain pollutants and special fish consumption advice is issued for waterbodies where higher levels of pollutants are measured.

For most of Wisconsin's 10,000+ waterbodies, the general statewide fish consumption advisory [PDF] should be followed. For the waterbodies where increased levels of pollutants have been measured, special fish consumption advice should be followed.

In Wisconsin, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are the pollutants upon which most special fish consumption is based. At some sites, though, elevated levels of other pollutants, including dioxins and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a type of PFAS, are the basis for special fish consumption advice.

Consumption Advice

Following fish consumption advisories provides you the health benefits from eating fish while reducing your risk from contaminants.

  • Before going fishing, use the Choose Wisely guide to determine if your fishing spot has special advice and then follow the consumption advice appropriate for the species and length of fish you'd like to eat.
  • You can also search for advice for any waterbody in the state using the online Find Advice tool.

Advice For Hmong And Spanish Anglers

Where DNR Has Sampled Fish For PFAS

The DNR has sampled fish for PFAS (including PFOS and PFOA) in a number of Wisconsin waters. The table below includes locations that have been sampled since 2006. Efforts are underway to sample fish from more locations and to sample locations previously visited. Locations that were sampled for PFAS but did not warrant a PFOS-based advisory may still have consumption advisories based on other contaminants such as mercury or PCBs. Visit the Choose Wisely guide or the fish consumption webpage for more information including details of the advisories.

Waterbody Status
Black Earth Creek, Dane and Iowa counties

Current PFOS-based advice

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Fox River, DePere to Green Bay Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Green Bay and tributaries to the first dam (except the Lower Fox River)

Current PFOS-based advice

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La Crosse River at Angelo Pond, Monroe County Current PFOS-based advice
Lake Kegonsa, Dane County Current PFOS-based advice
Lake Mendota, Dane County Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Lake Michigan Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Lake Monona, Dane County Current PFOS-based advice
Lake Superior Current PFOS-based advice
Lake Waubesa, Dane County Current PFOS-based advice
Lake Wingra, Dane County Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Lake Winnebago Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Manitowoc River, Hayton Millpond Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Manitowoc River, Jordan Creek Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Mauthe Lake, Fond du Lac County Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Menominee River, Chalk Hills Flowage Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Menominee River, Grand Rapids Flowage Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Menominee River, Lower Scott Flowage Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Menominee River, Lower Scott Flowage to Green Bay

Current PFOS-based advice

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Milwaukee River Estuary Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Milwaukee River, Grafton to Estabrook Falls Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Mississippi River, Pools 3-6 Current PFOS-based advice
Mississippi River, Pool 8 Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Oconto River, Stiles to Green Bay

Current PFOS-based advice

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Osprey (Squaw) Lake, Sawyer County Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Peshtigo River, High Falls Flowage Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Peshtigo River, Peshtigo to Green Bay

Current PFOS-based advice

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St. Louis River Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Silver Creek, Monroe County Current PFOS-based advice
Starkweather Creek, Dane County Current PFOS-based advice
Upper and Lower Mud Lakes, Dane County Current PFOS-based advice
Warner Park Lagoons, Dane County Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued
Wingra Creek, Dane County Current PFOS-based advice
Wisconsin River, below Rhinelander to Lake Mohawksin Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued due to low sample size
Wisconsin River, Lake Mohawksin Current PFOS-based advice
Wisconsin River, Lake Wausau Current PFOS-based advice
Wisconsin River, Stevens Point Flowage Current PFOS-based advice
Wisconsin River, Biron Flowage Current PFOS-based advice
Wisconsin River, Petenwell Flowage Current PFOS-based advice
Wisconsin River, Castle Rock Lake Current PFOS-based advice
Wisconsin River, Prairie du Sac to Mississippi River Previously sampled, PFOS-based advice not issued due to low sample size
Yahara River (downstream to the Rock River), Dane County Current PFOS-based advice
Deer Consumption and PFAS

Wisconsin has one current consumption advisory for deer.

In September 2020, the DNR and DHS issued a Do Not Eat Advisory for the liver of white-tailed deer in the Marinette area based on the results of PFAS sampling in deer tissue. More information can be found on the safely eating wild game page.

Statewide Sampling Effort

To investigate background levels of PFAS in white-tailed deer throughout Wisconsin, the DNR analyzed liver samples from deer harvested during the November 2020 nine-day gun deer hunt. A total of 32 liver samples collected from 32 different counties were submitted for analysis. Only one liver sample had detectable levels of PFAS. Perfluoro-n-octanesulfonic acid (PFOS), the PFAS compound for which consumption advisories are based, was not detected in any samples.

After studying the results of this sampling effort, the DNR and DHS are not recommending a statewide consumption advisory for PFAS in white-tailed deer liver. Based on the results, the DNR and DHS have determined statewide restrictions on the consumption of white-tailed deer liver, outside of the existing advisory area within a 5-mile radius of the JCI/Tyco Fire Technology Center in Marinette, are not warranted.