Fish and Aquatic Life
The Hay River, along with the Red Cedar River, are large rivers that drain into Tainter Lake. Both
rivers contribute nutrients to Tainter Lake, whch experiences frequent algal blooms. In an attempt
to quantify nutrient loads to the lake, the Hay River was sampled for phosphorus, suspended solids,
and stream flow from October, 1989, to September, 1990, by the U.S Geological Survey. Numerous
water quality samples were also collected from wastewater treatment plant discharges on the Hay
An estimated 700,000 pounds of phosphorus was delivered to Tainter Lake by both the Hay and
Red Cedar Rivers. The Hay River contributed about 30 percent of the total, or 210,000 pounds. Of
that, about 12 percent was attributed to point source discharges, primarily wastewater treatment
plants, and the balance is assumed to be from nonpoint sources. About 94 percent of thls
phosphorus load is thought to be controllable (Schreiber).
The Cumberland wastewater treatment plant discharges to the headwaters of the Hay-River
downstream of the dam forming Beaver Dam Lake. This rotating biological contactor plant
discharges more than 150 pounds of phosphorus per month, and must provide phosphorus removal
under NR 217 of the Wis. Adm. Code. The present permit requires construction of phosphorus
removal facilities and sludge storage, as well as whole effluent toxicity testing.
Stella Cheese operates a cheese factory and whey drying plant south of Almena. An aerated lagoon
and spray irrigation system treats process wastewater. Steam, whey condensate, and non-contact
cooling water are discharged to an unnamed tributary to the Hay River. Past testing has shown
this discharge to be potentially toxic to aquatic life. Follow-up testing is ongoing, and the reissued
permit should address whole effluent toxicity in this discharge. WDNR is also conducting a study
on this and similar discharges to identify the causes of the toxicity.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The 2018 assessments of the Hay River (miles 0-37.54) showed continued impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded 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 existing impaired waters listing is needed.
Author Ashley Beranek
Hay River (2068600) from its mouth to CTH F was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2012 and the portion from Cth F to 20th Ave was listed for total phosphorus in 2014. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus for both of these portions of the Hay River; total phosphorus sample data exceeded 2016 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 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'.
Monitor Fish Community
AU 15685, poor fIBI, Station 10040913
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|
|2068600||Hay River||033072||Hay River - 1 Mi So Of Hwy 8 Bi||5/12/1979||10/14/1979||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10016830||Hay River - Upstream Of Cth F Approx 60 To 70meters||11/6/2002||11/6/2002||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10009963||Hay River at 6 1/2 Ave.-Stock Scf||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10040522||Hay River at 18th Ave ||8/5/2003||9/10/2003||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10040913||Hay River 20 m US 7th St||7/24/2013||11/27/2013||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10015852||Hay River - Upstream Of 10 1/2 Ave Approx 100meters||11/6/2002||11/6/2002||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10010133||Hay River at 5th Ave.||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10013521||Hay River at 19th Ave.||10/14/1979||11/12/2003||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10010189||Hay River at 19th Ave.||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10010396||Hay River 2003at 10 1/2||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||033073||Hay River - 100ft S of 7th Ave||5/12/1979||10/12/1989||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10016689||Hay River - Downstream Of 15th Ave 10 Meters||11/12/2003||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||033070||Hay River - 1 Mi So Of Cth T Bi||4/28/1979||4/28/1979||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||033218||Hay River - 7th St||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10010186||Hay River at 15th Ave.||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10010192||Hay River - Hwy P Near Cumberland||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10011566||Hay River at 10 1/2 Ave||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||033219||Hay River - Hwy 8||5/27/1998||11/10/1998||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10010185||Hay River at 13th Ave.||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||033071||Hay River - 2 Mi So Of Cth T Bi||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||033074||Hay River - Twn Rd Sec 4 T32nR13w||5/12/1979||10/21/1979||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10010180||Hay River - Cty. D||Map||Data|
|3000238||Unnamed||033228||Unnamed River at 10 1/2 Ave||Map||Data|
Hay River is located in the Hay River watershed which is 289.60 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (50%), forest (35%) and a mix of suburban (6%) and other uses (9%). This watershed has 516.98 stream miles, 2,647.38 lake acres and 15,179.56 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Available 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.