Fish and Aquatic Life
The river supports a warm water fishery along its entire length. Agricultural NPS pollution limits the river from achieving its full potential as a warm water fishery.
A diverse wetlands complex is associated with the river along its lower reach. These wetlands have extremely high wildlife value and are used heavily by nesting and migrating waterfowl. A large portion of the wetlands are included in the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge. These wetlands have been identified as having a very high sedimentation rate which continually degrades the quality and benefits of the wetlands.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The Buffalo River (Strum Lake inlet to the forks in Osseo) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly 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.
Author Amanda Smith
The Buffalo River (Mile 0 to 42.48) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; 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 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.
Author Amanda Smith
Buffalo River (1813900) from the mouth to the Buffalo/Trempealeau county line was listed for total phosphorus in 2012. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceeded 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use and biological impairment was observed (i.e. at least one macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the poor condition category). 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'.
Wastewater Monitoring, Management
The following communities should complete a facility plan for an upgrade of the existing WWTP.
Mindoro Sanitary District
City of Alma Center
Wastewater Monitoring, Management
The City of Osseo should complete the upgrade to their WWTP.
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|
|1813900||Buffalo River||10008769||2500' Downstream From Confluence Of North And South Branches||Map||Data|
|1813900||Buffalo River||10032651||Buffalo River at Hwy OOO||Map||Data|
|1813900||Buffalo River||10021974||Buffalo River Stock Peterson Rd||Map||Data|
|1813900||Buffalo River||623056||Buffalo River - Twn Rd Bridge||Map||Data|
|1813900||Buffalo River||623057||Buffalo River - Cth O Bridge||Map||Data|
|1813900||Buffalo River||623091||Buffalo River - 500 Ft Below Stp||Map||Data|
|1813900||Buffalo River||623092||Buffalo River - Railroad Bridge||5/10/2012||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1813900||Buffalo River||623122||Strum Lake - Inlet||7/25/1973||3/5/1975||Map||Data|
|1813900||Buffalo River||10008413||Station 2 Downstream Of Forks||Map||Data|
|1813900||Buffalo River||10021975||Buffalo River Stock Tracey Valley Rd||Map||Data|
Buffalo River is located in the Upper Buffalo River watershed which is 194.36 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (49%), forest (37%) and a mix of suburban (6%) and other uses (8%). This watershed has 438.86 stream miles, 85.35 lake acres and 6,107.52 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.