Lower Wisconsin River basin
The Lower Wisconsin River basin drains approximately 4,940 square miles of south-central and southwestern Wisconsin. The basin includes the Wisconsin River from the Castle Rock Flowage dam to its confluence with the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien and all the streams tributary to the Wisconsin River along this reach, spanning all or parts of 12 counties: Adams, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Grant, Iowa, Jackson, Juneau, Monroe, Richland, Sauk and Vernon.
Water quality in the basin is generally considered good. The primary water quality problems are caused by nonpoint sources of pollution, particularly from agricultural operations, excessive populations of rough fish and hydrologic modifications such as dams, stream straightening and the ditching, draining or other alteration of wetlands.
The basin has more than 3,800 miles of streams including the Lemonweir, Baraboo, Pine and Kickapoo Rivers. Approximately 870 miles of streams in the basin are considered a coldwater sport fishery, or trout waters. Another 856 miles are warmwater sport fishery waters while 115 miles are valuable forage fishery streams.
DNR lacks existing use classification information for more than 2,104 of the total stream miles in the Lower Wisconsin River basin. Most of these unknown stream miles are very small unnamed tributaries, or the headwaters reaches of named streams above areas where the DNR does have information. The existing information for many of the streams is old or sketchy and additional monitoring is needed to update the surface water database.
There are presently 41.4 miles of outstanding resource waters (ORW) and 145.5 miles of exceptional resource waters (ERW) in the basin. An additional 14.5 miles are proposed for ORW designation and 237 miles are proposed for ERW designation in the basin. These streams are identified in the watershed tables for individual watersheds.
The Lower Wisconsin River basin has few lakes. In northeastern Monroe, southeast Jackson and Juneau counties -- an area that comprised glacial Lake Wisconsin -- most of the "lakes" are flowages created either to support cranberry culture or in an attempt to drain land for farming earlier in this century. Most of these impoundments are shallow and have little fishery value. Many do have important wildlife values. We have little water quality data on these flowages and their impacts on downstream water quality and fisheries habitat.
Water resource information for specific watersheds
|Watershed name/view details||Watershed size||Lists (streams, lakes, bays & harbors)||Counties||Water management unit (WMU)||Major drainage system|
|Bear Creek||136.54 mi 2||LW14 Water lists||Iowa, Richland, Sauk||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Beaver Creek - Juneau||282.77 mi 2||LW28 Water lists||Jackson, Juneau, Monroe, Wood||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Black Earth Creek||105.2 mi 2||LW17 Water lists||Dane, Iowa||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Blue River||216.19 mi 2||LW09 Water lists||Grant, Iowa, Richland||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Crossman Creek and Little Baraboo River||213.8 mi 2||LW23 Water lists||Juneau, Richland, Sauk, Vernon||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Dell Creek||133.73 mi 2||LW26 Water lists||Adams, Columbia, Juneau, Sauk||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Duck Creek and Rocky Run||140.89 mi 2||LW20 Water lists||Columbia||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Duck and Plainville Creeks||195.09 mi 2||LW25 Water lists||Adams, Columbia, Juneau, Sauk||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Green River and Crooked Creek||125.71 mi 2||LW07 Water lists||Crawford, Grant, Richland||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Honey Creek||217.78 mi 2||LW16 Water lists||Columbia, Dane, Iowa, Sauk||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Knapp Creek||158.64 mi 2||LW08 Water lists||Crawford, Grant, Richland, Vernon||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Lake Wisconsin||214.96 mi 2||LW19 Water lists||Columbia, Dane, Sauk||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Little Lemonweir River||218.01 mi 2||LW29 Water lists||Juneau, Monroe||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Lower Baraboo River||150.54 mi 2||LW21 Water lists||Adams, Columbia, Sauk||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Lower Kickapoo River||150.21 mi 2||LW02 Water lists||Crawford||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Lower Lemonweir River||209.62 mi 2||LW27 Water lists||Adams, Juneau||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Middle Kickapoo River||246.53 mi 2||LW05 Water lists||Monroe, Richland, Vernon||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Mill and Blue Mounds Creek||186.74 mi 2||LW15 Water lists||Dane, Iowa, Sauk||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Mill and Indian Creeks||130.32 mi 2||LW10 Water lists||Grant, Iowa, Richland||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Millville Creek||121.78 mi 2||LW01 Water lists||Crawford, Grant||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Narrows Creek and Baraboo River||176.33 mi 2||LW22 Water lists||Sauk||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Otter and Morrey Creeks||198.69 mi 2||LW11 Water lists||Iowa, Richland, Sauk||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Reads and Tainter Creeks||135.69 mi 2||LW03 Water lists||Crawford, Vernon||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Roxbury Creek||71.11 mi 2||LW18 Water lists||Columbia, Dane, Iowa, Sauk||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River||171.73 mi 2||LW24 Water lists||Juneau, Monroe, Sauk, Vernon||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Upper Kickapoo River||117.33 mi 2||LW06 Water lists||Monroe, Vernon||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Upper Pine River||179.98 mi 2||LW13 Water lists||Richland, Vernon||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|West Fork Kickapoo River||118.04 mi 2||LW04 Water lists||Monroe, Vernon||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|
|Willow Creek||153.08 mi 2||LW12 Water lists||Iowa, Richland, Sauk||Lower Wisconsin||Mississippi River|