Baraboo River, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24)
Baraboo River, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24)
Baraboo River (1271100)
10.33 Miles
108.60 - 118.93
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.
Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem
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.
2015
Poor
 
This river is impaired
Impairment Unknown
Total Phosphorus
 
Monroe
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.
Yes
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.
Cold (Class II Trout)
Streams supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L through natural reproduction and selective propagation. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.
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.
Cold (Class II Trout)
Streams supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L through natural reproduction and selective propagation. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.
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.
Cold
Streams capable of supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.

Overview

The Baraboo River is a warm water sport fishery and canoe trail that is tributary to the Wisconsin River. The Baraboo River has historically had up to seven dams at one time along its entire length. Most of these dams were built to generate water power, although in the past years, they have been maintained mostly for recreational purposes. As a result of the habitat fragmentation and other problems caused by the dams on the river, the two miles of the river that flows through the City of Baraboo has been listed on the state's list of impaired waters.

In the past few years, there has been a strong movement to remove these dams from the river and once again open the channel up for free migration by fish, open navigation for recreational purposes, and re-establishment of the free-flowing river. The City of Baraboo in the Lower Baraboo River Watershed was the home of three of these dams. All three dams have now been removed. Prior to the removal of the third dam in October 2001, the removal of the other two opened up 5 miles of rock riffles, which had a three-fold effect:
1. Increased spawning area for walleye, sturgeon, suckers (and paddlefish if they can get around Prairie du Sac dam);
2. Creation of a "food factory" for the fish on the rock riffle area;
3. Opening up of natural, seasonal movement throughout the Baraboo River system.

It is the hope of all of the partners involved that even greater effects will be seen in the river as a result of the restoration of the river to its free-flowing condition. Monitoring will be conducted to determine the overall impact of the removal of the dams on the river. A rare aquatic species has been found in the river in past surveys. As a result of the dam removals, the process has begun to take this segment of the river off of the impaired waters list.

The Citizens for Waterfront Revitalization have received a River Planning Grant to develop a cooperative strategic plan for the Baraboo Rapids area of the river. This area is from the Highway 12 bridge in West Baraboo to the Highway 113 bridge east of the city. The plan will address some of the watershed-wide issues that affect the river. There is a USGS gauging station near Baraboo. The Baraboo River from Wonewoc to Reedsburg is considered a warm water sport fishery. The former dam at LaValle impounded water on the Baraboo River to form the LaValle Millpond. This dam was removed in 2000. Currently, a restoration plan is being developed or the old mill pond area of the river near LaValle. Despite the efforts of the nonpoint source priority watershed project, the river continues to be threatened by sources of nonpoint pollution. A rare aquatic species has been found in the river in past surveys.

From: Ripp, Coreen, Koperski, Cindy and Folstad, Jason. 2002. The State of the Lower Wisconsin River Basin.
PUBL WT-559-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  2002

Author  Cynthia Koperski

Overview

From: Ripp, Coreen, Koperski, Cindy and Folstad, Jason. 2002. The State of the Lower Wisconsin River Basin.
PUBL WT-559-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  2002

Author  Cynthia Koperski

Overview

Baraboo River in Narrows Creek and Baraboo River Watershed (LW22) - Just over 33 miles of the Baraboo River are in this watershed. The river supports a warm water sport fishery, is a major tributary to the Wisconsin River and is important as a smallmouth bass fishery. As a result of the habitat fragmentation and other problems caused by the dams on the river, the two miles of the river that flows through the City of Baraboo has been listed on the state’s list of impaired waters. The final dam was removed in October of 2001. The water quality and fishery of this up-stream portion of the river is expected to improve as a result of the dam removals. As a result, it is anticipated that this portion of the river will be able to be “de-listed.” The river receives discharges from Foremost Farms, North Freedom, Reedsburg, and Rock Springs in the watershed. A rare aquatic species has been found in the river in past surveys.

Baraboo River in Little Baraboo River Watershed (LW23) - The Baraboo River from Wonewoc to Reedsburg is considered a warm water sport fishery. The former dam at LaValle impounded water on the Baraboo River to form the LaValle Millpond. This dam was removed in 2000. Currently, a restoration plan is being developed for the old mill pond area of the river near LaValle. Despite the efforts of the nonpoint source priority watershed project, the river continues to be threatened by sources of nonpoint pollution. A rare aquatic species has been found in the river in past surveys.

From: Ripp, Coreen, Koperski, Cindy and Folstad, Jason. 2002. The State of the Lower Wisconsin River Basin.
PUBL WT-559-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  2002

Author  Cynthia Koperski

Historical Description

This portion of the Baraboo River is classified as a warm water sport fishery for 15
miles of its length (Perrson, 1987), and as a Class II and Class III trout stream for 7.5
miles (WDNR, 1980). Heavy siltation adversely affects in-stream habitat in the Juneau
County portion (Ironside, 1991). Other nonpoint source water pollution problems
affect the stream. A dairy plant discharge to the Elroy wastewater treatment plant has
also led to water quality problenls in the past (WDNR, 1991). Water quality nlonitoring
of the Baraboo River in 1989 and 1990, downstreanl from the Kendall wastewater
treatment plant, identified water quality standards violations for dissolved oxygen. Instream
water temperature was also elevated (Sorge, 1991-1992).

Date  1994

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

A major tributary to the Wisconsin River which drains a large watershed west of the river. The stream is generally turbid and causes extensive flooding in spring. Complaints of flood damage brought recent inquiries from the Army Corps of Engineers regarding control needs. The entire stream in this county is traversible by outboard craft. Walleye, northern pike, bass, and panfishes (including catfish) constitute the fishery, however, fishing pressure is quite light. Access is provided by two state highway crossings, by a small road and wayside park, and by navigable water both upstream and downstream. Waterfowl are common along the river, especially wood ducks which utilize the bank trees and large instream snags. About 824 acres of wetland adjoin the stream.

Baraboo River T12N, R9E, Section 28
Surface Acres 151.5, Miles = 13.3, Gradient = 1.88 feet per mile
From: Poff, Ronald J. and C.W. Threinen, 1965. Surface Water Resources of Columbia County: Lake and Stream Classification Project. Wisconsin Department of Conservation, Madison, WI.

Date  1965

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Baraboo River, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24) Fish and Aquatic LifeBaraboo River, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24) RecreationBaraboo River, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

The Baraboo River (Mouth to US 12 in West Baraboo) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data clearly exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Chloride data and available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category).This water was not meeting this designated use and was considered impaired. No listing change was needed to this already impaired water.

Date  2017

Author  Amanda Smith

Impaired Waters

The Baraboo River (Highway 33 in Reedsburg to CTH FF in Wonewoc) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data clearly exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was not meeting this designated use and was considered impaired. No listing change was needed to this already impaired water.

Date  2017

Author  Amanda Smith

Impaired Waters

The Baraboo River (section: County line to the headwaters and section: CTH FF in Wonewoc to Highway 80 in Elroy) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data clearly exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). This water was not meeting this designated use and was considered impaired. No listing change was needed to this already impaired water.

Date  2017

Author  Amanda Smith

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of the Baraboo River (miles 0-28.16) showed continued impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.

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

Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Heavy rainfall prior to monitoring, poor transparency, need to repeat large river FIBI. AU: 944741; Station ID: (specific station/location of IBI needed)
Sewer Service Area Planning
The Baraboo SSA Plan was created in 2002 and updated in 2006 and 2009 by the City of Baraboo
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands

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

Baraboo River is located in the Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River watershed which is 171.73 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (62%), forest (30%) and a mix of suburban (5%) and other uses (2%). This watershed has 414.62 stream miles, 124.03 lake acres and 4,637.96 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Medium for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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

Baraboo River is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem 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.

Cool (Cold-Transition) Mainstem streams are moderate-to-large but still wadeable perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are common to absent, mainstem species are abundant to common, and river species are common to absent.

Cool (Cold-Transition) Headwaters are small, usually perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon (<10 per 100 m), transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.

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