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Lower Fox River Basin TMDL

A framework for water quality improvement

The Lower Fox River.
Wisconsin map showing the Lower Fox River basin.

The Lower Fox River (LFR) basin is located in northeast Wisconsin and includes portions of Brown, Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties and the Oneida Nation. The LFR basin is roughly the 640 square mile drainage area (HUC8 04030204) located between Lake Winnebago and Green Bay in which all surface water drains to Green Bay.

About the LFR basin

Land use in the LFR basin is diverse but consists primarily of agriculture, urban development and natural areas. The land use directly impacts water quality. Municipal and industrial discharges to streams and rivers in the LFR basin and surface water runoff from the land due to rain events and snowmelt carry sediment and nutrients to streams and rivers.

The primary surface waters within the LFR basin include the Lower Fox River (39 miles), Lower Green Bay and 14 main tributaries. Due to excessive levels of total phosphorus (TP) and total suspended solids (TSS), many of these bodies of water are listed as impaired because they do not meet state water quality standards (see map under TMDL resources). The amount of TP and TSS from point sources (dischargers) and non-point sources (runoff) delivered to our waters in the LFR basin are detailed in the 2012 TMDL Report (see below).

Excessive amounts of TP and TSS in surface waters causes water clarity problems, nuisance algae growth, oxygen depletion, warmer water temperatures, reduced aquatic vegetation and degraded habitat. These impairments may adversely impact human health, recreation, water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation and tourism economy and, potentially, navigation.

The TMDL process pipeline

TMDL implementation

The overall goal of TMDL implementation is to meet water quality standards and provide meaningful water quality improvements by reducing total phosphorus and TSS loadings in the LFR basin by 59% and 55%, respectively.

Point Source Dischargers

Through compliance with their WPDES permits, the 28 dischargers in the LFR basin will meet TMDL limits resulting in the reduction of 108,000 pounds of TP over the next 20 years in the LFR basin.

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s)

Through compliance with their WPDES MS4 General Permit, the 29 regulated municipalities in the LFR basin will result in 23,500 pounds of TP reduced and 10,210,000 pounds of TSS reduced in 20 years.

Agriculture (CAFO and Non-CAFO)

The TMDL target for agriculture in the LFR basin is the reduction of 196,748 pounds of TP and 55,570,968 pounds of TSS.

Monitoring and Evaluation

2015 Watershed Assessments

TMDL Resources

Fact sheets