Lower Wisconsin River Basin


Baraboo Rapids

The Baraboo Rapids, WDNR Photo

Learn about the Castle Rock Watershed Restoration Project or the Baraboo River Restoration Project .

About the 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 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.

Basin Streams

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 cold water sport fishery, or trout waters. Another 856 miles are warm water 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.

Basin Lakes

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.

View Map

Watersheds, Waters

Watershed, Water Details

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
Bear Creek LW14 136.54 mi 2 LW14 Water Lists Iowa, Richland, SaukLower WisconsinMississippi River
Beaver Creek - Juneau LW28 282.77 mi 2 LW28 Water Lists Jackson, Juneau, Monroe, WoodLower WisconsinMississippi River
Black Earth Creek LW17 105.2 mi 2 LW17 Water Lists Dane, IowaLower WisconsinMississippi River
Blue River LW09 216.19 mi 2 LW09 Water Lists Grant, Iowa, RichlandLower WisconsinMississippi River
Crossman Creek and Little Baraboo River LW23 213.8 mi 2 LW23 Water Lists Juneau, Richland, Sauk, VernonLower WisconsinMississippi River
Dell Creek LW26 133.73 mi 2 LW26 Water Lists Adams, Columbia, Juneau, SaukLower WisconsinMississippi River
Duck Creek and Rocky Run LW20 140.89 mi 2 LW20 Water Lists ColumbiaLower WisconsinMississippi River
Duck and Plainville Creeks LW25 195.09 mi 2 LW25 Water Lists Adams, Columbia, Juneau, SaukLower WisconsinMississippi River
Green River and Crooked Creek LW07 125.71 mi 2 LW07 Water Lists Crawford, Grant, RichlandLower WisconsinMississippi River
Honey Creek LW16 217.78 mi 2 LW16 Water Lists Columbia, Dane, Iowa, SaukLower WisconsinMississippi River
Knapp Creek LW08 158.64 mi 2 LW08 Water Lists Crawford, Grant, Richland, VernonLower WisconsinMississippi River
Lake Wisconsin LW19 214.96 mi 2 LW19 Water Lists Columbia, Dane, SaukLower WisconsinMississippi River
Little Lemonweir River LW29 218.01 mi 2 LW29 Water Lists Juneau, MonroeLower WisconsinMississippi River
Lower Baraboo River LW21 150.54 mi 2 LW21 Water Lists Adams, Columbia, SaukLower WisconsinMississippi River
Lower Kickapoo River LW02 150.21 mi 2 LW02 Water Lists CrawfordLower WisconsinMississippi River
Lower Lemonweir River LW27 209.62 mi 2 LW27 Water Lists Adams, JuneauLower WisconsinMississippi River
Middle Kickapoo River LW05 246.53 mi 2 LW05 Water Lists Monroe, Richland, VernonLower WisconsinMississippi River
Mill and Blue Mounds Creek LW15 186.74 mi 2 LW15 Water Lists Dane, Iowa, SaukLower WisconsinMississippi River
Mill and Indian Creeks LW10 130.32 mi 2 LW10 Water Lists Grant, Iowa, RichlandLower WisconsinMississippi River
Millville Creek LW01 121.78 mi 2 LW01 Water Lists Crawford, GrantLower WisconsinMississippi River
Narrows Creek and Baraboo River LW22 176.33 mi 2 LW22 Water Lists SaukLower WisconsinMississippi River
Otter and Morrey Creeks LW11 198.69 mi 2 LW11 Water Lists Iowa, Richland, SaukLower WisconsinMississippi River
Reads and Tainter Creeks LW03 135.69 mi 2 LW03 Water Lists Crawford, VernonLower WisconsinMississippi River
Roxbury Creek LW18 71.11 mi 2 LW18 Water Lists Columbia, Dane, Iowa, SaukLower WisconsinMississippi River
Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River LW24 171.73 mi 2 LW24 Water Lists Juneau, Monroe, Sauk, VernonLower WisconsinMississippi River
Upper Kickapoo River LW06 117.33 mi 2 LW06 Water Lists Monroe, VernonLower WisconsinMississippi River
Upper Pine River LW13 179.98 mi 2 LW13 Water Lists Richland, VernonLower WisconsinMississippi River
West Fork Kickapoo River LW04 118.04 mi 2 LW04 Water Lists Monroe, VernonLower WisconsinMississippi River
Willow Creek LW12 153.08 mi 2 LW12 Water Lists Iowa, Richland, SaukLower WisconsinMississippi River


Watershed Plans

One watershed plan has been updated in this basin. This document is an update to the Lower Wisconsin Basin Plan (see below). Contact Andy Morton, Watershed Supervisor for information.

Lower Wisconsin Basin Plan (2002)

Last Revised: