Lower Fox Basin


Lower Fox River

Lower Fox River

About the Basin

The Lower Fox River basin is located in northeastern Wisconsin and encompasses the following counties: Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, and Winnebago. The 638 square mile (1,654 square kilometers) drainage basin is bordered by the Twin Door Kewaunee basin to the north and east, the Manitowoc River basin to the south and east, the Upper Fox River basin to the south, the Wolf River basin to the west and the Upper Green Bay basin to the north.

The Lower Fox River empties a drainage basin of 6,349 square miles (including drainage from the Wolf River and Upper Fox River basins), flowing northeast from the outlet of Lake Winnebago to the bay of Green Bay. The Fox River Valley is one of Wisconsin's most urbanized and industrialized areas. Most of these urban areas are close to the river and localized urban and industrial runoff has contributed to water quality problems. Urban nonpoint sources include runoff from existing urban areas including established commercial, industrial, freeways and residential land uses. The basin also contains many rich farmlands, which also contributes to the water quality problems in the area. Nonpoint sources include runoff from barnyards, areas winterspread with livestock manure, eroding agricultural lands and streambank erosion, cattle accessing the streams, and other poor landuse practices.

Water quality studies reveal that most of the Lower Fox River Basin streams and lower Green Bay suffer from excessive loadings of sediment, nutrients, bacteria and heavy metals resulting in: degraded aquatic habitat and an unbalanced fish community with low populations and limited diversity; sedimentation and excessive nutrient levels resulting in an advanced state of eutrophication; and high levels of toxic materials in bottom sediments and invertebrate organisms consumed by fish.

The Lower Fox River Basin has been given statewide attention for improving and protecting water quality. Three watersheds: the East River, the Apple and Ashwaubenon Creeks and Duck Creek, have been selected as priority watersheds under the Wisconsin Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Abatement Program. The three remaining watersheds have been ranked "High" for possible selection, Plum Creek, Fox River/Appleton and Little Lake Butte Des Mort Watersheds. The main focus of these projects is to reduce nutrient and sediment loadings to streams and rivers by 50% which is necessary for meaningful water quality improvements to occur.

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Watersheds, Waters

Click the links below to find water resource information for specific watersheds and their waters.

Watershed Name/View DetailsWatershed Code/MapWatershed SizeLists (Streams, Lakes, Bays & Harbors)CountiesWater Management Unit (WMU)Major Drainage System
Apple and Ashwaubenon Creeks LF02 113.34 mi 2 LF02 Water Lists Outagamie, BrownLower FoxLake Michigan
Duck Creek LF05 151.61 mi 2 LF05 Water Lists Outagamie, BrownLower FoxLake Michigan
East River LF01 206.32 mi 2 LF01 Water Lists Manitowoc, Brown, CalumetLower FoxLake Michigan
Fox River - Appleton LF04 39.37 mi 2 LF04 Water Lists Outagamie, WinnebagoLower FoxLake Michigan
Little Lake Butte des Morts LF06 43.77 mi 2 LF06 Water Lists Winnebago, CalumetLower FoxLake Michigan
Plum and Kankapot Creeks LF03 84.04 mi 2 LF03 Water Lists Outagamie, Brown, Winnebago, CalumetLower FoxLake Michigan



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Watershed Plans

No watersheds have been updated recently for this basin.

State of the Basin Plan

Lower Fox Basin Integrated Management Plan (PDF, 666KB)


Watershed Maps

Last Revised: