Water condition assessments & reporting

Submit data

Do you have data on Wisconsin’s lakes, streams, or rivers?

Every two years, the WDNR requests that citizens and interested groups submit their surface water data (biological, chemical, and physical). Data meeting specified requirements will be evaluated, along with WDNR-collected data, to assess the quality of the state’s water resources. In accordance with the Clean Water Act, the WDNR uses these assessments to prepare a statewide Integrated Water Quality Report to Congress (i.e., “Integrated Report”), which includes an updated list of impaired waters. Data will be accepted from the public from December 16, 2014 – January 15, 2015 to be used for the upcoming 2016 Integrated Report.

Types of data to submit

You may submit any type of data, but a synopsis of data of particular interest to WDNR is shown in the following table, including a summary of minimum data requirements. Data types summary

Specific data requirements must be met for WDNR to assess your data. More detailed guidance on minimum data requirements and how WDNR evaluates the data is available in the Wisconsin Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (WisCALM)

Preparing your data

To enable the WDNR to efficiently process public data, data must be prepared and submitted to WDNR electronically in the specified excel spreadsheet format, along with quality assurance documentation. Data received in hard copy or electronic format other than the specified excel format may not be assessed.

The following four required elements must be emailed or mailed on CD to WDNR:
  • A quality assurance plan describing protocols followed
  • Data in the following specified Excel spreadsheet format: Data upload template
  • For any stations that do not have a DNR SWIMS Station ID number, you must provide locational information in the following specified Excel spreadsheet format: Locational template
  • Complete contact information for the submitter, including: Full name, mailing address, affiliation, phone number(s), email address(es).
Submitting your data
  • Email your data and all required elements in the formats specified above to: dnrimpairedwaters@wisconsin.gov, or
  • Submit submit a compact disk with the data and all required elements in the formats specified above via mail to:
  • Aaron Larson, WDNR Bureau of Water Quality 101 S. Webster St. WQ/3 Madison, WI 53707


Updated assessment guidance for public review

Comments accepted through January 15, 2015

Wisconsin’s Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (WisCALM) provides guidance on assessment of water quality data against surface water quality standards and for Clean Water Act reporting on surface water quality status and trends. WisCALM is updated for each biennial surface water assessment cycle and was recently updated for the 2016 assessment cycle. A 30-day public comment period for the updated WisCALM guidance will be held from December 16, 2014 – January 15, 2015.

Assessing waterbodies against water quality standards and identifying impaired waters that don’t meet standards is part of the overarching federal Clean Water Act (CWA) framework for restoring impaired waters. Under the CWA, states are required to monitor and assess their waters to determine if they meet water quality standards and thereby support the designated uses they are intended to provide.

Summary of guidance updates
  • Methods for assessing the Public Water Supply Designated Use were added.
  • Corrections and clarifying language was added to Section 4.6 Lake Impairment Assessment: Public Health and Welfare Uses.
  • References were added to incorporate the stream/river Natural Community validation process.
  • A minor revision of the stream/river total phosphorus (TP) assessment method and associated assessment automation was incorporated in existing guidance.
  • Total phosphorus (TP) delisting protocol was incorporated.
  • Guidelines for assessment unit delineation were added.
Submitting your comments
  • Email your comments to: dnrimpairedwaters@wisconsin.gov, or
  • Submit written comments via postal mail to:
  • Aaron Larson, WDNR Bureau of Water Quality 101 S. Webster St. WQ/3 Madison, WI 53707

2014 Integrated Report

Water monitoring, assessment and condition

Wisconsin has updated its Clean Water Act Integrated Report for 2014, which includes assessment decisions gathered during the 2014 reporting period. Data analyzed during this reporting period includes monitoring data collected ten years prior to the actual assessment date (as per WisCALM 2014).

The 2014 reporting dataset includes information and assessments for a portion of the 28,605 individual waterbodies (approximately one-third of the state's water resources) stored in the WATERS system, including wetlands, lakes, bays, harbors, rivers, streams, and sloughs [for more information see the Water Atlas Data]. For each waterbody four distinct designated uses are stored and assessed as the data is available. The designated uses include fish and aquatic life, fish consumption, recreation, and public health and welfare.

The 2014 Integrated Report (IR)

The following are links to the attachments included in the IR submittal package to EPA in April 2014.

2012 Integrated Report

Every two years Wisconsin prepares a Water Quality Report to Congress, known as the Integrated Report (IR). The IR combines reporting requirements from Clean Water Act sections 305(b) and 303(d). Section 305(b) requires states to provide a summary of the overall health of waters, and Section 303(d) requires states to develop a list of waters that are not meeting water quality standards. This list is often referred to as the Impaired Waters List or 303(d) List. This reporting process allows EPA and the public to find comprehensive information on the status of Wisconsin's surface water quality, summarized on a biennial basis in a single report.

The 2012 Integrated Report (IR)

The following are links to the attachments included in the IR submittal package to EPA in April 2012.

Note: since the April 2012 submittal of the IR, the 2012 Impaired Waters List was revised and submitted to EPA on August 26, 2013 as an addendum to the above IR package. During this update, all waters previously placed in Category 5P on the draft Impaired Waters List submitted with the IR were reassessed using revised assessment methods described in an updated draft assessment methods document (Draft 2014 WisCALM [PDF]).

Contact information

For questions and comments about the Water Quality Report to Congress:

Aaron Larson, 608-264-6129

Last revised: Thursday December 18 2014