St. Croix River Basin

Description

Willow River at HWY 46

Willow River at Hwy 46. Photo. © WDNR, 2010

About the Basin

The St. Croix Basin is a special area of the state. Its abundant streams, lakes and wetlands, rich forestsand 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.

View Map

Watersheds, Waters

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

Watershed DetailsWatershed MapWatershed SizeLists (Streams, Lakes, Bays & Harbors)CountiesWater Management Unit (WMU)Major Drainage System
Balsam Branch SC05 104.07 mi 2 SC05 Water Lists PolkSt. CroixMississippi River
Beaver Brook SC07 64.82 mi 2 SC07 Water Lists Barron, PolkSt. CroixMississippi River
Clam River SC12 206.86 mi 2 SC12 Water Lists Barron, Polk, BurnettSt. CroixMississippi River
Kinnickinnic River SC01 206.08 mi 2 SC01 Water Lists Pierce, Saint CroixSt. CroixMississippi River
Lower Apple River SC04 202.16 mi 2 SC04 Water Lists Polk, Saint CroixSt. CroixMississippi River
Lower Namekagon River SC19 239.34 mi 2 SC19 Water Lists Douglas, Washburn, BurnettSt. CroixMississippi River
Lower Willow River SC02 164.38 mi 2 SC02 Water Lists Saint CroixSt. CroixMississippi River
Lower Yellow (Burnett Co.) River SC14 208.95 mi 2 SC14 Water Lists BurnettSt. CroixMississippi River
North Fork Clam River SC13 173.51 mi 2 SC13 Water Lists Barron, Polk, Washburn, BurnettSt. CroixMississippi River
Shell Lake and Upper Yellow River SC15 166.67 mi 2 SC15 Water Lists Washburn, BurnettSt. CroixMississippi River
St. Croix and Eau Claire Rivers SC17 197.28 mi 2 SC17 Water Lists Douglas, Washburn, BurnettSt. CroixMississippi River
Totagatic River SC20 329.93 mi 2 SC20 Water Lists Douglas, Bayfield, Sawyer, WashburnSt. CroixMississippi River
Trade River SC10 194.93 mi 2 SC10 Water Lists Polk, BurnettSt. CroixMississippi River
Trego Lake - Middle Namekagon River SC21 268.89 mi 2 SC21 Water Lists Sawyer, WashburnSt. CroixMississippi River
Trout Brook SC08 91.06 mi 2 SC08 Water Lists Polk, Saint CroixSt. CroixMississippi River
Upper Apple River SC06 195.43 mi 2 SC06 Water Lists Barron, PolkSt. CroixMississippi River
Upper Namekagon River SC22 197.8 mi 2 SC22 Water Lists Bayfield, Sawyer, WashburnSt. CroixMississippi River
Upper St. Croix and Eau Claire Rivers SC18 277.89 mi 2 SC18 Water Lists Douglas, BayfieldSt. CroixMississippi River
Upper Tamarack River SC16 154.57 mi 2 SC16 Water Lists Douglas, BurnettSt. CroixMississippi River
Upper Willow River SC03 183.67 mi 2 SC03 Water Lists Barron, Polk, Saint CroixSt. CroixMississippi River
Wolf Creek SC09 110.18 mi 2 SC09 Water Lists Polk, BurnettSt. CroixMississippi River
Wood River SC11 220.24 mi 2 SC11 Water Lists Polk, BurnettSt. CroixMississippi River

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: