Red River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01)
Red River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01)
Red River (2845800)
6.30 Miles
0 - 6.30
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
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.
2012
Suspected Poor
 
Douglas
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.
Yes
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.
No

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.
Class III Trout
Streams capable of supporting a seasonal coldwater sport fishery and which may be managed as coldwater streams.
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 I Trout)
Streams supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species through natural reproduction. 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.
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 Red River is an approximately 7.4 mile stream that originates at springs in Jay Cooke State Park in Minnesota, flowing northeasterly in Wisconsin. Red clay soils and steep topography, with sharply rolling hills and some bank slippage and erosion, characterize areas in this watershed. The deeply eroded clay river valley exhibits relief approaching 300 feet in places. Due to common flow extremes, the stream’s unstable sand, gravel, and clay bottom is susceptible to disturbance and bottom scouring. Cedar, spruce and upland hardwoods dominate the watershed.

The stream flows into the St. Louis River west of Oliver through a large tract of land previously purchased by WDNR for the purpose of protecting the fishery of the St. Louis River. More than 5,000 acres of the watershed were obtained from a single owner to become part of the St. Louis River Streambank Protection Project. The Lake Superior Binational Program identified this watershed as important to the integrity of the Lake Superior ecosystem for coastal wetlands and contribution to ecosystem integrity.

The Red River’s attainable use designation and fisheries classification is as a Class I trout stream. Current use designation is listed as a Class III trout stream, showing poor use support. In addition to brook trout, other species known to inhabit the river have included northern pike, rock bass, white sucker, burbot, creek chubs and sculpin. However, baseline fishery surveys performed in 2006 and 2008 (including a survey on unnamed tributary: WBIC-5000984) did not result in sampling trout, further suggesting poor support of the current use designation. Historical surveys indicate brook trout were collected in 1972, but were not in 1964. Although 6.3 miles of the Red River in Wisconsin is listed as an Exceptional Resource Water (ERW), survey work appears to indicate water quality could be potentially declining based on lower coldwater fish IBI scores and habitat ratings. As part of coastal wetlands evaluation, Epstein (1997) found moderate richness of invertebrate taxa present, but noted significant turbidity, iron bacteria, marl, sludge, low flows and bank erosion.

Date  2011

Author  Nancy Larson

Historical Description

Red clay soils and steep topography, with sharply rolling hills and some bank slippage and erosion, characterize this watershed. The stream, listed as a Class I trout stream supporting a reproducing population of brook trout, flows into the St. Louis River west of Oliver through a large tract of land recently purchased by WDNR for the purpose of protecting the valuable fishery of the St. Louis River. More than 5,000 acres of the watershed were obtained from a single owner to become part of the St. Louis River Streambank Protection Project. The project includes the river, five miles of shoreline and 14 islands on and in the St. Louis River. This part of the St. Louis River estuary includes some of its last remaining shoreline wetlands, which provide prime breeding habitat for wildlife and fish, including some 300 species of birds, threatened and endangered species, game species and an estimated 50,000-90,000 spawning walleye. Lake sturgeon have been reintroduced in the area recently. The Lake Superior Binational Program identified this watershed as important to the integrity of the Lake Superior ecosystem for coastal wetlands, contribution to ecosystem integrity - landscape scale, diversity, vital functions for planning objectives, threatened and endangered species habitat, and fish and wildlife spawning and nursery grounds. (See discussion of critical habitat definitions under Basinwide Issues. Also see discussion, above, of St. Louis River and Red River Breaks under Priority Wetlands.)

The stream originates at springs in Jay Cooke State Park in Minnesota, flowing northeasterly in Wisconsin. The deeply eroded clay river valley exhibits relief approaching 300 feet in places. Flow extremes are common and sometimes cause bottom scouring. The stream's unstable sand, gravel and clay bottom is susceptible to disturbance. Species known to inhabit this river include northern pike, rock bass, white sucker, burbot, creek chubs and sculpin. Cedar, spruce and upland hardwoods dominate the watershed. There are no highway accesses to this area.

During survey work conducted as part of the coastal wetlands evaluation, one rare macroinvertebrate was found in the stream, which was determined to have moderate richness of taxa present. At the survey sites, staff recorded significant turbidity, iron bacteria, marl, sludge, low flows and bank erosion. Present as well were aquatic plant growth, silt and filamentous algae. (Epstein 1997.)

From: Turville-Heitz, Meg. 1999. Lake Superior Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1999

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Red River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01) Fish and Aquatic LifeRed River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01) RecreationRed River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01) Fish Consumption

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 Aquatic Biology
Conduct biological (mIBI or fIBI) monitoring on Red River, WBIC: 2845800, AU:17470
Monitor Targeted Area
Future 303(d) assessment and monitoring of the Red River and several tributaries is recommended to determine current status of stream/watershed condition and to confirm brook trout presence/absence.

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

Red River is located in the St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River watershed which is 159.67 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (52%), wetland (19%) and a mix of agricultural (8%) and other uses (11%). This watershed has 432.66 stream miles, 8,490.75 lake acres and 26,945.85 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available for runoff impacts on lakes and Low for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Low. 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

Red River is considered a Coldwater 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.

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