Fish and Aquatic Life
Approximately 23 miles of the La Crosse River flows through the heart of the Little La Crosse River Watershed. All streams in the Little La Crosse River Watershed ultimately drain to this middle portion of the La Crosse River. Many acres of wetland are found adjacent to the La Crosse. The uppermost 17.9 miles of the La Crosse River down to the dam at Perch Lake in Sparta flow through the Upper La Crosse River Watershed. The river originates just east of the Fort McCoy eastern border.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The La Crosse River flows in a southwesterly direction for approximately 64 miles through Monroe and La Crosse Counties before reaching the Mississippi River at Riverside Park in the City of La Crosse. The river drains approximately 500 square miles of forested and agricultural land. Five dams on the La Crosse River create Lake Neshonoc in West Salem, Perch Lake in Sparta, Angelo Pond in the Town of Angelo, and Alderwood Lake and Hazel Dell Pond both of which lie within the Fort McCoy Military Reservation. All five impoundments are used for recreational purposes; however, the dams at Lake Neshonoc and Perch Lake also generate hydroelectric power.
The La Crosse River is classified as a warmwater sport fishery from its mouth upstream to Rockland. The river then gradually becomes colder and is capable of holding trout. From Rockland upstream to the confluence of Squaw Creek in Fort McCoy, the La Crosse River is a Class II trout stream. Upstream of Squaw Creek, the river is considered Class I.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The La Crosse River was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (macroinvertebrate 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.
Author Ashley Beranek
La Crosse River (1650200) from the mouth to Perch Lake was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2014. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, available biological data do not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). This water was also assessed for chlorides and sample data did not exceed 2016 WisCALM chronic and acute listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.
Author Aaron Larson
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'.
Sewer Service Area Planning
The La Crosse Sewer Service Area Water Quality Management Plan 2013 - 2035 ("the Sewer Service Area Plan") is an update to the La Crosse Sewer Service Area Water Quality Management Plan 1999- 2020 which was completed in 1999 by the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission, with input from the Department of Natural Resources, the La Crosse Area Planning Committee and the La Crosse Area Planning Committee's Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).
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 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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|1650200||La Crosse River||10014305||La Crosse River - Downstream Of 16th Drive||Map||Data|
|1650200||La Crosse River||10014290||La Crosse River Station 6 - Road Crossing In The Nw 1/4 Of S11||Map||Data|
|1650200||La Crosse River||10028741||La Crosse River At Road Crossing||5/21/2008||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1650200||La Crosse River||10016846||La Crosse River Site 0401 - Samples Collected Below Roadcrossing/Bridge. North Branch La Crosseriver.||11/10/1994||3/19/1995||Map||Data|
|1650200||La Crosse River||10003123||La Crosse River - 10 West Salem||Map||Data|
|1650200||La Crosse River||10014303||La Crosse River Station 5 - Footbridge 200' Above Trout Falls Upstream||Map||Data|
|1650200||La Crosse River||10014304||La Crosse River Station 6 - J St. Bridge Upstream||11/4/1994||10/21/2014||Map||Data|
|1650200||La Crosse River||10003122||La Crosse River - 05 La Crosse||Map||Data|
|1650200||La Crosse River||10016884||La Crosse River Site 0403 - Samples Collected Below Tank Traillocated Downstream Of Alderwood Lake Dam.||11/11/1994||3/21/1995||Map||Data|
La Crosse River is located in the Upper La Crosse River watershed which is 126.12 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (48%), grassland (24%) and a mix of agricultural (14%) and other uses (13%). This watershed has 167.76 stream miles, 207.50 lake acres and 4,875.27 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked for runoff impacts on lakes and Medium for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Medium. 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.