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Water planning in Wisconsin

Friendship Lake, Adams County. Courtesy of Adams County. Friendship Lake, Adams County.

Contact information
Lisa Helmuth
Water Quality Bureau

Central Wisconsin basin

About the basin

The Central Wisconsin basin is a subset of the entire Wisconsin River corridor, located in Central Wisconsin. The Central Wisconsin basin extends south from the Merrill dam located on the Wisconsin River in Lincoln County to the Castle Rock Flowage Dam in Juneau and Adams counties. The Wisconsin River is divided into three segments distributing the workload equally between three Wisconsin DNR regions and offices. The basin is 4,021 square miles with an estimated population of 301,599 (+/- 1%).

The Central Wisconsin River basin is comprised of 29 watersheds. A watershed is an area of land that is drained by a waterway that flows to a lake, reservoir or river. The watershed boundary line is defined as a topographic dividing line from which surface streams flow in two different directions.

The Central Wisconsin river basin contains numerous scenic vistas including rock outcroppings and flowages. This basin is characterized by agricultural activities throughout the basin with intensive row cropping taking place in the central sands region. The last glaciers to cover Wisconsin only extended through part of the basin. The glaciers created a network of warm and coldwater streams fed by surface and groundwater sources that all connect to the Wisconsin River. The Central Wisconsin River basin has one of the largest and most diverse arrays of surface water systems in the state. In fact, the Central Wisconsin River basin contains over 2,873 miles of streams. The counties of Adams, Clark, Jackson, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Marquette, Portage, Shawano, Taylor, Waushara and Wood partially or fully lie within the Central Wisconsin basin. See the Surface Water Data Viewer to view details about the basin.

Read the Little Plover River Public Rights Flow Order [PDF 1.9MB],
issued: Wisconsin, March 23, 2009, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Watersheds, waters

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
Big Roche A Cri Creek 177 mi 2 CW06 Water lists Adams, Juneau, Waushara Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Black Creek 88.54 mi 2 CW25 Water lists Marathon, Taylor Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Bull Junior Creek 60.63 mi 2 CW19 Water lists Marathon Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Cranberry Creek 127.51 mi 2 CW03 Water lists Juneau, Wood Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Devil Creek 68.5 mi 2 CW28 Water lists Lincoln, Marathon Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Fourmile and Fivemile Creek 213.96 mi 2 CW10 Water lists Portage, Wood Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Fourteenmile Creek 184.15 mi 2 CW07 Water lists Adams, Juneau, Portage, Waushara, Wood Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Hemlock Creek 96.39 mi 2 CW04 Water lists Wood Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Johnson and Peplin Creeks 63.06 mi 2 CW15 Water lists Marathon, Portage Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Little Eau Claire River 126.97 mi 2 CW13 Water lists Marathon, Portage Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Little Eau Pleine River 263.3 mi 2 CW14 Water lists Clark, Marathon, Portage, Wood Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Little Rib River 92.44 mi 2 CW24 Water lists Lincoln, Marathon Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Little Roche A Cri Creek 196.2 mi 2 CW01 Water lists Adams, Juneau, Marquette, Waushara Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Lower Big Eau Pleine River 138.59 mi 2 CW17 Water lists Marathon Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Lower Eau Claire (Marathon Co.) River 172.75 mi 2 CW20 Water lists Marathon Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Lower Rib River 129.82 mi 2 CW23 Water lists Marathon Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Lower Yellow (Juneau Co.) River 261.05 mi 2 CW02 Water lists Adams, Jackson, Juneau, Wood Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Mill Creek 166.85 mi 2 CW11 Water lists Portage, Wood Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Mosinee Flowage 81.83 mi 2 CW16 Water lists Marathon Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Pine Creek 128.86 mi 2 CW29 Water lists Langlade, Lincoln Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Plover and Little Plover Rivers 202.19 mi 2 CW12 Water lists Langlade, Marathon, Portage, Shawano Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Sevenmile and Tenmile Creeks 112.24 mi 2 CW09 Water lists Adams, Portage, Waushara, Wood Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Springbrook Creek 69.77 mi 2 CW21 Water lists Langlade, Marathon Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Trappe River 100.15 mi 2 CW27 Water lists Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Upper Big Eau Pleine River 219.52 mi 2 CW18 Water lists Clark, Marathon, Taylor Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Upper Eau Claire River 221.36 mi 2 CW22 Water lists Langlade, Marathon Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Upper Rib River 197.07 mi 2 CW26 Water lists Lincoln, Marathon, Taylor Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Upper Yellow (Wood Co.) River 212.95 mi 2 CW05 Water lists Clark, Marathon, Wood Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Wisconsin Rapids 133.92 mi 2 CW08 Water lists Adams, Juneau, Portage, Wood Central Wisconsin Mississippi River
Last revised: Thursday January 21 2016