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Water planning in Wisconsin

Willow River at HWY 46Willow River at Hwy 46.

Contact information
Lisa Helmuth
Water Quality Bureau

St. Croix River basin

Description

About the basin

The St. Croix basin is a special area of the state. Its abundant streams, lakes and wetlands, rich forests and farmlands, wildlife and fisheries make this a popular recreational destination and location for living. The River begins in Upper St. Croix and Namekagon Lake and drains through diverse ecological landscapes. Starting with the northwest lowlands and north central forests and moving through the northwest sands and farm forest transition, the basin ends in the Western Prairie Ecological Landscape.

These five ecological landscapes present different management challenges and opportunities. Loss of large industrial forest block ownership in the north is a major concern, as are changes in agricultural practices in the western prairie and farm-forest transition landscapes. Agricultural changes include more row crops and a switch from small dairy farming to large confined animal feeding operations which enhance concerns over barnyard runoff, streambank erosion and manure management. Also, St. Croix and Polk Counties face problems associated with rapid growth and development stemming from the St. Paul-Minneapolis Metropolitan Area and struggle to maintain the area's rural and agricultural features.

Basin resources

The basin is rich in water: groundwater, rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands. Our lakes and rivers are under tremendous development pressure and this will likely increase as the human population continues to grow and settle in this area. Development along lakeshores is one of the state's fastest types of developments and the basin is no exception. Home building is also occurring along rivers and streams in part due to the dwindling supply of available lakes. Increasing runoff and habitat loss from development degrades water and eliminates or divides contiguous habitat needed by fish and wildlife.

See the Surface Water Data Viewer to view details about the basin.

Watersheds, waters

Water resource information for specific watersheds

Watershed details Watershed size Lists (Streams, lakes, bays & harbors) Counties Water management unit (WMU) Major drainage system
Balsam branch 104.07 mi 2 SC05 Water lists Polk St. Croix Mississippi River
Beaver Brook 64.82 mi 2 SC07 Water lists Barron, Polk St. Croix Mississippi River
Clam River 206.86 mi 2 SC12 Water lists Barron, Polk, Burnett St. Croix Mississippi River
Kinnickinnic River 206.08 mi 2 SC01 Water lists Pierce, Saint Croix St. Croix Mississippi River
Lower Apple River 202.16 mi 2 SC04 Water lists Polk, Saint Croix St. Croix Mississippi River
Lower Namekagon River 239.34 mi 2 SC19 Water lists Douglas, Washburn, Burnett St. Croix Mississippi River
Lower Willow River 164.38 mi 2 SC02 Water lists Saint Croix St. Croix Mississippi River
Lower Yellow (Burnett Co.) River 208.95 mi 2 SC14 Water lists Burnett St. Croix Mississippi River
North Fork Clam River 173.51 mi 2 SC13 Water lists Barron, Polk, Washburn, Burnett St. Croix Mississippi River
Shell Lake and Upper Yellow River 166.67 mi 2 SC15 Water lists Washburn, Burnett St. Croix Mississippi River
St. Croix and Eau Claire Rivers 197.28 mi 2 SC17 Water lists Douglas, Washburn, Burnett St. Croix Mississippi River
Totagatic River 329.93 mi 2 SC20 Water lists Douglas, Bayfield, Sawyer, Washburn St. Croix Mississippi River
Trade River 194.93 mi 2 SC10 Water lists Polk, Burnett St. Croix Mississippi River
Trego Lake - Middle Namekagon River 268.89 mi 2 SC21 Water lists Sawyer, Washburn St. Croix Mississippi River
Trout Brook 91.06 mi 2 SC08 Water lists Polk, Saint Croix St. Croix Mississippi River
Upper Apple River 195.43 mi 2 SC06 Water lists Barron, Polk St. Croix Mississippi River
Upper Namekagon River 197.8 mi 2 SC22 Water lists Bayfield, Sawyer, Washburn St. Croix Mississippi River
Upper St. Croix and Eau Claire Rivers 277.89 mi 2 SC18 Water lists Douglas, Bayfield St. Croix Mississippi River
Upper Tamarack River 154.57 mi 2 SC16 Water lists Douglas, Burnett St. Croix Mississippi River
Upper Willow River 183.67 mi 2 SC03 Water lists Barron, Polk, Saint Croix St. Croix Mississippi River
Wolf Creek 110.18 mi 2 SC09 Water lists Polk, Burnett St. Croix Mississippi River
Wood River 220.24 mi 2 SC11 Water lists Polk, Burnett St. Croix Mississippi River

Projects

Projects

More detail

Plans

Watershed plans

One watershed plan has been updated in this basin. This document is an update to the Upper Wisconsin basin plan. Contact Kathy Bartilson, watershed supervisor for information.

Basin plan 2002

Read the St. Croix State of the basin report [PDF], developed by the St. Croix basin team and partners.

Last revised: Wednesday March 16 2016