Fox River, East River Watershed (LF01)
Fox River, East River Watershed (LF01)
Lower Fox River (Mouth To Depere Dam) (117900)
7.39 Miles
0 - 7.39
Natural Community
Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results that use predicted flow and temperature based on landscape features and related assumptions. Ranges of flow and temperature associated with specific aquatic life communities (fish, macroinvertebrates) help biologists identify appropriate resource management goals. Wisconsin's Riverine Natural Communities.
Large River
Year Last Monitored
This date represents the most recent date of water quality monitoring stored in the SWIMS system. Additional field surveys for fish and habitat may be available subsequent to this date.
2017
Poor
 
This river is impaired
Contaminated Fish Tissue, Low DO, Degraded Habitat, Contaminated Sediment
PCBs, Total Phosphorus, Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
 
Brown
Trout Water 
Trout Waters are represented by Class I, Class II or Class III waters. These classes have specific ecological characteristics and management actions associated with them. For more information regarding Trout Classifications, see the Fisheries Trout Class Webpages.
No
Outstanding or Exceptional 
Wisconsin has designated many of the state's highest quality waters as Outstanding Resource Waters (ORWs) or Exceptional Resource Waters (ERWs). Waters designated as ORW or ERW are surface waters which provide outstanding recreational opportunities, support valuable fisheries and wildlife habitat, have good water quality, and are not significantly impacted by human activities. ORW and ERW status identifies waters that the State of Wisconsin has determined warrant additional protection from the effects of pollution. These designations are intended to meet federal Clean Water Act obligations requiring Wisconsin to adopt an 'antidegradation' policy that is designed to prevent any lowering of water quality - especially in those waters having significant ecological or cultural value.
No
Impaired Water 
A water is polluted or 'impaired' if it does not support full use by humans, wildlife, fish and other aquatic life and it is shown that one or more of the pollutant criteria are not met.
Yes

Fish and Aquatic Life

Current Use
The use the water currently supports. This is not a designation or classification; it is based on the current condition of the water. Information in this column is not designed for, and should not be used for, regulatory purposes.
WWSF
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
Attainable Use
The use that the investigator believes the water could achieve through managing "controllable" sources. Beaver dams, hydroelectric dams, low gradient streams, and naturally occurring low flows are generally not considered controllable. The attainable use may be the same as the current use or it may be higher.
WWSF
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
Designated Use
This is the water classification legally recognized by NR102 and NR104, Wis. Adm. Code. The classification determines water quality criteria and effluent limits. Waters obtain designated uses through classification procedures.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.

Overview

The Lower Fox River originates at the outlet of Lake Winnebago and flows northeast for 39 miles where it empties into the bay of Green Bay. With an average daily flow of 4320 cfs (Holmstrom, et. al. 1996), the Lower Fox River is characterized by hard water and turbid conditions. The drainage basin of the Lower Fox River includes approximately 601 sq miles.

Historically, the Lower Fox River is a significant waterway. For centuries, native Americans occupied the banks of the Fox River and used the water for drinking, fishing, crop irrigation, and transportation. Beginning in the 1600's, European pioneers utilized the Fox River for fur trading and as a route of exploration. Settlements were established in the early 1800s including Fort Howard which is now the City of Green Bay. Paper mills began to flourish in the mid 1800's. The early 1900's saw a booming timber industry followed by rapid urbanization (WDNR 1988). The Lower Fox River corridor is now occupied by industries, municipalities, small businesses, farms, and thousands of residents.

Around the turn of the century, the Fox River Valley began to experience growing pains. The river was viewed more as an avenue for waste assimilation rather than as a resource. Rapid development caused increased runoff, wetland destruction, and the discharge of raw sewage resulting in dramatic changes of water quality. Historical documentation bears this out. In 1933, reports indicated that the stench from the river was so bad that windows had to remain closed at Green Bay East High School. In 1938, alarmed commercial fisherman pulled up nets of dead fish which was eventually attributed to low dissolved oxygen levels caused by sulphite liquor. Bay Beach was permanently closed to swimming in 1943 for health-related reasons (Campbell 8/14/97).

Some steps were taken to remedy the water quality problems. The Green Bay Metropolitan Sewage District was formed in 1931 followed by the construction of Green Bay=s first sewage treatment plant. In 1949, the State of Wisconsin mandated the installation of wastewater treatment plants for all Fox Valley municipalities and paper mills. State pollution control programs were strengthened again in the mid 1960s (WDNR 1988). Despite these efforts, the water quality of the Fox River continued to decline.

The 1972 Federal Clean Water Act gave great impetus to state and national pollution control efforts. A federal permit system named the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System was established to regulate all direct discharges into navigable waters. Funding became available for improved pollution control efforts. Wisconsin employed its own version of the federal permit system known as the Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) in 1974. For the Fox River, the creation of the WPDES permit system meant that industries and municipalities needed to reduce the discharge of organic pollutants to the river (WDNR 1988). Since the enactment of the Federal Clean Water Act, dramatic improvements in water quality have occurred in the Fox River. The discharge of biological oxygen demanding (BOD) products has been reduced which has allowed dissolved oxygen levels to rebound.

Date  1999

Author  Cheryl Bougie

Overview

The Lower Fox River flows over twelve dams and was once entirely navigable through 17 locks. Many of these locks are now in a state of disrepair. Currently, the State of Wisconsin is in discussion with the Army Corps of Engineers regarding future caretaking of the locks. This is an issue that will inevitably involve communities to decide what would be in their interest as well. The projected cost of repairing and maintaining the locks is approximately $23 million. Another option is to permanently fill them in which would confine boating and recreation to individual pools within the Lower Fox River.

Bougie, Cheryl A. 1999. Lower Fox River Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Public Review Draft. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1999

Author  Cheryl Bougie

Overview

In the early 1990s, the WDNR SMART program identified ADeposit A@ to be the inaugural clean-up demonstration site on the Lower Fox River. Located on the upstream end of Little Lake Butte des Morts, the deposit is mapped to be 43 acres in size, averages 2-3 feet in thickness and contains 1500 pounds of PCBs (Turville-Heitz 1992). The deposit was slated to be removed in the mid 1990s as part of an agreement between the state, local mill, and affected municipalities. When all of the feasibility studies were completed, the project was proposed to cost $15 million. As the time approached for actual removal, concerns regarding cost and capability led to the decline of public support and eventually the project was halted.

More recently, a pilot cleanup of sediment located adjacent to the Fort-James turning basin was initiated as part of the 1997 $10 million interim agreement. Labeled AHot Spot 56/57", this area represents one of the most contaminated sites in the river with PCB concentrations up to 400 parts per million (ppm). The site is nine acres in size and is thought to contain 6,600 pounds of PCBs. The consulting firm Montgomery Watson was hired as the design consultant. Funding was also secured to implement the cleanup of a sediment deposit located adjacent to InterLakes Paper in Kimberly. This site is identified as deposit N, is three acres in size, and is thought to contain approximately 414 pounds of PCBs. The consulting firm Foth & Van Dyke had been hired as the design consultant (Fitzpatrick 1997). Sediment sampling in conjunction with caged fish studies were conducted in the fall of 1997 at both sites. These studies were intended to better define the extent of contamination located within each sediment bed. Results from this monitoring will be available in 1998.

In addition to contaminated sediments, nutrient and sediment loading have been identified as major impairments to the Lower Fox River. Research and modeling has been conducted by many different entities including representatives from the University of Wisconsin--Green Bay, Department of Natural Resources, United States Geological Survey, Oneida Nation, and the non-profit group Fox/Wolf Basin 2000. These studies have concluded that 160 tons of phosphorus and 150,000 tons of sediment are delivered to the bay of Green Bay annually. It is estimated that 75-90% of these inputs are a result of non-point sources--those sources which can not be traced to a pipe (WDNR 1988). A common recognition among the multitude of groups is that these loadings have lead to algae blooms, reduced transparency, habitat reduction, and overall eutrophication of the system. In order to begin correcting the impairments, it will be necessary to identify the most cost effective strategies to implement throughout the entire Fox/Wolf basin.

The Green Bay Remedial Action Plan recognizes the need to reduce nutrient loading and to improve habitat. These goals are interdependent with each being necessary to achieve the other. The Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with county conservation agencies statewide has identified priority watersheds as part of the Wisconsin Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Abatement Program. The selected priority watersheds address urban and rural runoff problems and encourage the installation of approved control measures termed Best Management Practices (BMPs). The Lower Fox River basin has benefitted from the implementation of these programs which include the Duck/Apple/Ashwaubenon and East River watershed projects.

Bougie, Cheryl A. 1999. Lower Fox River Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Public Review Draft. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1999

Author  Cheryl Bougie

Overview

In August of 1992, WDNR cooperated with Integrated Paper Services of Appleton and began a two-year Atriad@ assessment. This three prong approach allows for a Aweight of evidence@ determination depicting whether the chemicals present cause or are potentially related to detrimental biological effects in the aquatic ecosystem. The study was initiated to gain a better understanding of which contaminants other than PCBs may be causing impaired uses. Ten study sites with known PCB contamination were sampled by collecting sediments for metals, ammonia, PAHs, PCBs, pentachlorophenol, and organic pesticides analysis along with bioassay testing and macroinvertebrate community evaluation. Results from the study show that pentachlorophenol, ammonia, arsenic, chromium, lead, mercury, zinc, and copper, in addition to PCBs, are the contaminants most likely contributing to degraded benthos communities (Kosmond 1996). The data will be used to enhance the ranking of deposits for remediation.

Once PCBs were identified as major impairment to the Fox River ecosystem, a chronology of events occurred which focused on means of remediation. The Great Lake International Joint Commission identified this location as an Area of Concern in 1987. Following this delineation, the Lower Fox River/Green Bay Remedial Action Plan was developed as a joint effort of local, state, and federal governments, industry, academia, and the public at large. The plan identified PCBs as the most important contaminant of concern in the Fox River/Green Bay system. In 1992, the State of Wisconsin in partnership with local mills and municipalities formed the Fox River Coalition with the goal of planning a voluntary river cleanup. These groups have collaborated to develop consensus on a full range of technical issues including: examining all existing data and model results, prioritizing contaminated sites, managing a remedial investigation and feasibility study at selected sites upstream of De Pere, identifying the need and coordinating collection of detailed sediment data downstream of De Pere and developing methods to represent environmental benefits of various levels of remediation. In conjunction with this effort, staff of WDNR's Bureau of Watershed Management developed a modeling analysis with regards to various sediment remediation scenarios.

Recent discussions among stakeholders in the Fox River clean-up effort have lead to an assortment of scenarios. In early 1997, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service indicated that they may pursue a lawsuit against seven mills who have been identified as potentially responsible parties (PRPs) for the contamination. The lawsuit seeks to obtain funding as compensation for past, present, and future environmental losses identified in a Natural Resources Damage Assessment. Shortly thereafter, the Department of Natural Resources along with the PRPs mills came to an interim agreement allotting $10 million to initiate a remediation demonstration project, conduct studies, and implement habitat restoration activities. By June of 1997, the Environmental Protection Agency had unveiled its intent to list the Lower Fox River on its Superfund list. In July of 1997, officials of state, federal, and tribal governments formed a partnership in which all entities agreed to share the responsibility of devising a cleanup plan for the river (Campbell 9/14/97).

Bougie, Cheryl A. 1999. Lower Fox River Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Public Review Draft. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.


Date  1999

Author  Cheryl Bougie

Overview

Unfortunately, water quality problems remain. A PCB related fish consumption advisory has been effect since 1976 and includes virtually all species of fish in the Lower Fox River. Since the early 1980s a waterfowl consumption advisory has also been included. Wildlife reproduction and growth impairments are frequently documented. These problems have been attributed to contaminated sediments which are a result of historical discharges. Furthermore, the Lower Fox River is plagued by tremendous volumes of suspended sediment and frequent algae blooms resulting from watershed runoff and erosion problems

From 1957 to 1971, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used in the process of making carbonless paper. Several mills along the Fox River recycled this paper which included a process for de-inking the paper. Through this de-inking process, and estimated 125 tons of PCBs were discharged to the Fox River and settled among the riverbed sediments.

Initiated in the late 1980's, a $13 million study aimed at understanding the fate of various types of toxic materials was conducted through the Green Bay/Lower Fox River Mass Balance Project. The Mass Balance Project was the largest and most detailed assessment of environmental contamination, hydraulic and toxic transport modeling and food chain bioaccumulation in the Great Lakes. The study brought together the expertise of many agencies and educational institutions including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), United States Geological Survey (USGS), State University of New York-Buffalo, Manhattan College, and the University of California--Santa Barbara. Among the findings, the Mass Balance Study revealed that PCB concentrations in the river and bay are expected to decrease slowly over the next 25 years but will still exceed water quality standards by more than 60 times (WDNR 1994). Sediments are now the primary source of PCBs in the system and comprise more than 98% of the sources in the river. The results of the Mass Balance Project are used to set priorities and allocate resources for research, clean-up, and regulatory efforts.

In support of the Mass Balance Study, WDNR's Sediment Management and Remediation Techniques (SMART) program conducted a Lower Fox River Sediment Transport Study. With the assistance of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WDOT), this project acquired of hundreds of sediment cores to assess the location, mass, sources, and movements of PCBs in the Lower Fox River. Through modeling, it has been determined that the Lower Fox River contains 1,900 pounds of PCBs that reside in sediments above the De Pere Dam and 13,000 pounds of PCBs that reside in sediments below the De Pere Dam. Approximately 80 tons of PCB-contaminated sediment have already migrated out of the river into the bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Today, it is estimated that about 600 pounds of PCB-contaminated sediment annually flows from the Fox River into the bay of Green Bay under normal flow conditions (WDNR 1988). There is concern that a major flow event triggered by heavy rainfall or snowmelt could result in tremendous volumes of contaminated sediment being washed into the bay of Green Bay where they would be virtually impossible to recover. This project has allowed managers to begin making decisions on prioritizing and targeting specific sites for clean-up.

Bougie, Cheryl A. 1999. Lower Fox River Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Public Review Draft. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1999

Author  Cheryl Bougie

Historical Description

Fox River, T20N, R17E, Section 2(2) Area = 1,140 acres, Length = 21.4 miles, Gradient = 0.5 feet/mile.
The Fox River is a turbid, hard water stream that either directly or indirectly drains all of
Winnebago County. Primary bottom materials are silt, muck, and detritus with sand, gravel, rubble,
hardpan, and boulder. Stream bank cover is comprised of marsh, meadow, cultivated fields, pasture, building walls, and upland hardwood. Pub:ic access is provided by numerous bridges and street endings, several city and county parks,
and a state access at Eureka. Navigable water access i s also readily available. About two miles of shoreline is publicly owned. That portion of the river lying west of Lake Butte des Morts provides excellent fish and wildlife habitat and
is noted for the early season walleye fishing it provides. Some 4,500 acres of adjacent wetlands provide excellent
fish spawning areas and cover for numerous wildlife species. Fishing and boating pressure is quite heavy during summer months. Much of the adjacent shoreline is devoted to various agricultural uses. Stream bank erosion is serious. Many landowners have riprapped stream banks in an effort to halt erosion, yet others continue to allow stream bank pasturing and cultivation, further complicating the ersoion problem. Croplands and homes developed close to the water are subjected to periodic flooding.

After leaving Lake Butte des Morts, the Fox flows southeast through the City of
Oshkosh into Lake Winnebago. This section of stream receives heavy boating pressure.
The river channel is largely confined by bulkheads lining both banks. Wildlife habitat is generally lacking.
Upon leaving Lake Winnebago the Fox flows through the heavily industrialized citizes of Neenah and Menasha.
Pollution from paper mills, chemical plants, and other industries has caused several fishkills. Water quality is so
unstable in this reach of stream that desirable game fish have difficulty surviving. A lock an dam a t Eureka was
originally constructed by the Corps of Engineers as part of the Fox-Wisconsin waterway. In recent years this installation was turned over to the state and is primarily operated as a boat access and bank fishing area. The
Corps no longer maintains a navigational channel on the Fox above Lake Butte desMorts. Channels below Butte des Morts are still maintained however. A functioning lock and dam is located in Menasha.

From: 1975. Surface Water Resources of Winnebago County: Lake and Stream Classification Project.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1975

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Fox River, T2W, R19E, Sec. 4(13), Area = 1,315.2 acres, Length = 15.5 miles, M.P.A. = 143 ppm.
All but two or three miles of the Fox River in Outagamie County is inundated by urban sprawl. Very
little natural streambank remains. Factories, mills, and dwellings crowd right to the water's edge. At one
time, nine dams backed up water in the short 15.5 miles of stream within Outagamie County. Four of these
dams are private power dams, two are public utility dams, one is not used for power, and two are now washed
out. This is a hard water stream with very turbid conditions prevailing. Numerous potential pollution
sources are present. Game use is practically nonexistent. The fishery consists mostly of rough fish along with walleyes, bass, northern pike, and panfish. Several accesssites are present in the form of city parks and playgrounds, picnic areas, and boat ramps with parking areas. Numerous road crossings with high bridges provide little in the way of public access due to heavy traffic and steep banks.

From: Nelson, Linden M. and Ronald L. Fassbender, 1972. Surface Water Resources of Outagamie County:
Lake and Stream Classification Project. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1972

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Fox River T13N, R9E, Section 3, Surface Acres = 297.8, Miles = 40.3, Gradient = 4.52 feet per mile.
The major stream of northern Columbia County, it first flows southwest
toward Portage, then north, out of the county. After coming within 2 miles of the
Wisconsin River it flows on to the Lake Michigan watershed. A dam at Pardeeville
with 17-foot head forms Park Lake; the only other structure in Columbia County is
at Governor's Berid where navigation locks and a dam were operated in the past.
Channel catfish, bullheads and walleyes constitute the fishery. Northern pike,
largemouth bass, and yellow bass are also present in some sections. Rough fish
and pollution are use problems. Access is possible at Governor's Bend from
numerous road crossings, especially upstream from the Portage area. Over
13,900 acres of wetland adjoin the stream, hence waterfowl values are quite high.

From: Poff, Ronald J. and C.W. Threinen, 1965. Surface Water Resources of Columbia County:
Lake and Stream Classification Project. Wisconsin Conservation Department, Madison, WI.

Date  1965

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Fox River TI5N, RIDE, Section 36, Surface Acres = 215.9, Miles = 13.2, Gradient = -< 0.5 feet per mile
The major stream system draining all of Marquette County. The stream enters from the south and arcs north and east to Green Lake County. A dam at Montello maintains a head of about six feet. This was a major commercial waterway in Wisconsin during the mid-nineteenth century, and was as early as 1654, the route of French explorers to the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. A short portage (at Portage) was later replaced by a canal which permitted steamboat passage (Whitbeck, 1915). The advent of rail passage from Green Bay to Milwaukee and across southern Wisconsin signalled the decline of river traffic. The system of locks and canals passed to the federal government and has recently been given to the state. Light boat traffic is possible on the entire river through Marquette County.
Largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, channel catfish and panfish provide one of the major fisheries in the county with walleyes attracting many anglers to the Montello area in spring. Carp are abundant and have been charged with the destruction of much instream and marsh vegetation. Access is possible from several road crossings and Buffalo Lake. About 3.21 miles of shoreline are in public ownership. This is an important waterfowl area and several species nest on the river marshes.

From: Poff, Ronald J. and Threinen, C.W., 1963. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Inventory of Marquette County. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1963

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Fox River, East River Watershed (LF01) Fish and Aquatic LifeFox River, East River Watershed (LF01) RecreationFox River, East River Watershed (LF01) Fish Consumption

General Condition

The Fox River (WBIC 117900) from Park Lake to Rock Spring Run was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) sample data were clearly below 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water is meeting this designated use and is not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

General Condition

The Fox River (WBIC 117900) between Puckaway Lake and Buffalo Lake was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new total phosphorus sample data were clearly below 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water is meeting this designated use and is not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

General Condition

The Fox River (117900), from Barnes Creek to Black Creek, was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new chloride sample data were clearly below 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water is meeting this designated use and is not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Condition

Wisconsin has over 84,000 miles of streams, 15,000 lakes and milllions of acres of wetlands. Assessing the condition of this vast amount of water is challenging. The state's water monitoring program uses a media-based, cross-program approach to analyze water condition. An updated monitoring strategy (2015-2020) is now available.

Compliance with Clean Water Act fishable, swimmable standards are located in the Executive Summary of Water Condition in 2016 . See also 'monitoring' and 'projects'.

Reports

Recommendations

Aquatic Invasive Species Removal
The treatment of the Menasha lock to move the stranded vessels through up to Lake Winnebago occurred today. Staff were on site early to get things ready. Boats began arriving around 8:30am and we closed the lower lock doors at 9:00 am (photo IMG_3938). Lock filling/chemical introduction commenced shortly thereafter (IMG_3942). Once the lock was filled, which only took about 10 ? 15 minutes, we had one of the last boats in run his props for a short time to make sure the Rotenone was fully distributed in the chamber. The boat owners then disembarked and left the site. Then Bob Stark and myself spoke to the media present, which included all three TV stations and a reporter from the Post Crescent. Afterward, a number of us stayed on-site for a while to observe the treatment. Fish near the upper lock door starting appearing in distress within 15 minutes of the application (IMG_3960). Within an hour, there were dead or distressed fish throughout the lock chamber all the way to the lower doors. This indicated to me and the team that there was sufficient product throughout the chamber. Mark Baldock, Andrew Notbohm, Bob Hoodie and Michelle Nault were on-sight the entire duration of the treatment. Fish that I observed in the chamber were gizzard shad, drum, whitebass, carp, emerald shiner, bluegill, yellow perch, walleye and smallmouth bass. The vast majority of the fish were gizzard shad, with small bluegill and shiners next. Only a single carp and walleye were observed. I got a key for the lock area and plan to stop back over the next couple of days to look for any sign of gobies that might float up after a day or two of being dead, though I don?t think that we?ll see any. At 1:30 pm the bioassay cages with sacrificial gobies were lifted and there was 100% mortality of the targeted species. The boat owners were called and returned to their boats for departure. Once all the owners were aboard their vessels the ?fleet? left the lock chamber at 2:30 pm (IMG_3967). This was fortunate as there was a pretty good NNE wind and many of the boat owner had to get down to Oshkosh. Getting them out early allowed them to make the trip safely in the daylight.
Habitat Restoration - Instream
This proposal addresses two interrelated BUIs in the Lower Green Bay-Fox River AOC: Degraded Fish and Wildlife Populations, and Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat. Additionally a third BUI, Degraded phytoplankton / zooplankton populations, is addressed through one component in the proposal. To advance delisting, specific actions will restore, improve or create habitat for fish and wildlife populations specifically noted in the delisting targets (WDNR 2009). Quality fish spawning habitats, hydrologic connectivity between interior and coastal wetlands and the AOC, and habitat diversity supporting multiple life stages of target fish and wildlife species were specifically listed as essential for the delisting of these use impairments (WDNR 2009) and will be restored through actions in this proposal. Fish and wildlife populations expected to benefit from this work include top predator fish (northern pike), native forage fish, native furbearers, amphibians, wetland associated reptiles, dabbling ducks and marsh nesting birds. Long term benefits will accrue through effective protection and restoration of priority habitats identified by this project. Degraded phytoplankton / zooplankton populations will be advanced through the development of a nutrient and sediment management framework for this watershed.
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Insufficient data for Total Phosphorus. AU: 5774139; Station ID: 243020
Monitor Fish Community
AU 359274, poor fIBI, Station 10011616 (fIBI station was not available so the TP station was used)
Navigability Determination
T18N R14E ; Fox River;
Navigability Determination
; Fox River; Extension of previous determination
Navigability Determination
S10 T14N R9e; Fox River;
TMDL Development
TMDL Development: Upper Fox and Wolf Basins (UFWB) covers nearly 6,000 square miles of east-central Wisconsin. Several waterbodies in the UFWB are on Wisconsin?s Impaired Waters List and require Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) to address issues of nutrient and sediment enrichment.
TMDL USEPA Approved
Lower Fox River Basin TP TSS TMDL 2012
TMDL Implementation
There are 14 Impaired Waters in the LFR Basin, including Lower Green Bay, that are polluted by excess phosphorus (TP) and total suspended solids (TSS) impairing fish and aquatic life uses of these water bodies. These pollutants reach rivers and streams from polluted runoff from farm fields, barnyards, residential yards and industrial and municipal wastewater treatment plants.
Sewer Service Area Planning
Brown County Planning Commission WQM Planning Annual Program for implementation of the Designated Planning Area covering the Fox Valley. Brown County is a contract agency which identifies specific areas for Sewer Service Area Plan updates and reviews projects for conformance with NR110, NR121, including but not limited to sewer extension plans and specifications and environmentally sensitive area delineations and protections.
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Monitor Fish Tissue
117900 name Lower Fox River (Depere Dam To Middle Appleton Dam) TMDL ID 150 Start Mile 7.39 End Mile 32.18
Sediment Remediation
Lower Fox River Basin Team should work with local governments, industry and other environmental agencies (USEPA, USFWS, USGS etc) to remediate contaminated sediment deposits in the Lower Fox River (Type B).
Urban Growth Planning
Brown County Planning Commission should continue updating and amending the Brown County Sewerage Plan (SSA Plan) on an as needed basis to prevent development in unsuitable areas (environmental sensitive areas) and protect surface and ground water quality (Type B).
Protect Riparian or Shorelands
The Lower Fox River Team and the Brown County Planning Department should work together to identify and protect all ESAs countywide
Runoff Grant - Targeted Runoff Rural
The Land and Water Conservation Board should continue funding the East River Priority Watershed Project (Type B).
Monitor Fish Community
WDNR FH staff, in cooperation with WT, should analyze walleye, northern pike, white bass, crappie, yellow perch, carp, gizzard shad, common shiners and smallmouth bass, from Lower Fox River (below the De Pere dam) to determine PCB concentrations and to update the Fish Consumption Advisory. Large walleye should also be analyzed for mercury (Type B).
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Lower Fox River Basin Team staff should conduct fixed station (ambient) monitoring on the Fox River above the De Pere dam to assess long-term water quality trends in the Lower Fox River Basin and to meet the statewide water quality monitoring network goals (Type B).
Engineered Sediment Cap
Continuing obligations from RP. Responsible party is P.H. Glatfelter Company (GW Partners); the cap consists of minimum 3" sand layer overlain with a minimum 4" layer of 3/4" diameter armor stone; the average Total Cap thickness is 12". Average sand thickness is 5". Average armor stone thickness is 7".

Management Goals

Wisconsin's Water Quality Standards provide qualitative and quantitative goals for waters that are protective of Fishable, Swimmable conditions [Learn more]. Waters that do not meet water quality standards are considered impaired and restoration actions are planned and carried out until the water is once again fishable and swimmable

Management goals can include creation and implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load Analysis, habitat restoration work, partnership education and outreach and more. If specific recommendations exist for this water, they will be displayed below.

Monitoring

Monitoring the condition of a river, stream, or lake includes gathering physical, chemical, biological, and habitat data. Comprehensive studies often gather all these parameters in great detail, while lighter assessment events will involve sampling physical, chemical and biological data such as macroinvertebrates. Aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish communities integrate watershed or catchment condition, providing great insight into overall ecosystem health. Chemical and habitat parameters tell researchers more about human induced problems including contaminated runoff, point source dischargers, or habitat issues that foster or limit the potential of aquatic communities to thrive in a given area. Wisconsin's Water Monitoring Strategy was recenty updated.

Grants and Management Projects

Monitoring Projects

Watershed Characteristics

Fox River is located in the East River watershed which is 206.32 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (56%), suburban (21%) and a mix of urban (8%) and other uses (16%). This watershed has 432.18 stream miles, 7,625.39 lake acres and 6,193.00 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available for runoff impacts on lakes and High for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of High. This value can be used in ranking the watershed or individual waterbodies for grant funding under state and county programs.However, all waters are affected by diffuse pollutant sources regardless of initial water quality. Applications for specific runoff projects under state or county grant programs may be pursued. For more information, go to surface water program grants.

Natural Community

Lower Fox River (Mouth To Depere Dam) is considered a Large River under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results that use predicted flow and temperature based on landscape features and related assumptions. Ranges of flow and temperature associated with specific aquatic life communities (fish, macroinvertebrates) help biologists identify appropriate resource management goals. Wisconsin's Riverine Natural Communities.