Fish and Aquatic Life
The Poplar River estuary at the river's mouth is an area identified by the Lake Superior Binational Program as important to the integrity of the Lake Superior ecosystem. The estuary is surrounded by privately owned land and is considered important as coastal wetlands and fish and wildlife spawning and nursery grounds.
The stretch of the Poplar River originating at springs and a broad area of spruce-tamarack swamps and broad willow-tag alder marsh at T46N 13W S04, downstream about eight miles to a 12-foot head dam at the Poplar River Pond at Poplar, is considered a cold water fishery that supports a Class III brown trout fishery. Historically, the reach was stocked with brook and rainbow trout, but conditions and survival led to management for brown trout only. Downstream of the pond the river is dominated by a forage fishery that includes minnows and white suckers. Increased stream gradient downstream of the dam results in a deeply eroded channel to Lake Superior where, historically, turbid conditions and large areas of bank slumpage reduced water quality. High water marks have shown flood crests of some six feet above normal water levels.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operated a lamprey weir to halt spawning sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) for a number of years, during which only an occasional trout was seen migrating from the lake to the river.
A stream classification study of an unnamed tributary to the river at T48N R11W S31 identified this tributary as a marginal surface water that could not support a balanced fishery. A stream classification study conducted below the village of Poplar in 1980 found that septic tank effluent reaches the river via a drainage ditch. Past documents suggest a plant operating, or has operated here that discharges wash water to the stream.
During survey work conducted as part of the coastal wetlands evaluation, one rare species of macroinvertebrate was found and the overall taxa richness was moderate (5-24 species) (Epstein 1997). The survey noted urban pollutant sources and some silt at the survey site.
From: Turville-Heitz, Meg. 1999. Lake Superior Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Aquatic Biologist
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'.
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|
|2859800||Poplar River||10013126||Poplar River-- 40 Meters Upstream Moonshine Road-- Station #2||Map||Data|
|2859800||Poplar River||163054||Poplar River at Sth 13||6/4/1979||10/7/1979||Map||Data|
|2859800||Poplar River||10013125||Poplar River-- 30 Meters Upstream Halkett Road-- Station #1||Map||Data|
|2859800||Poplar River||10016274||Poplar R. - 0||10/23/1985||10/23/1985||Map||Data|
Poplar River is located in the Amnicon and Middle Rivers watershed which is 288.92 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (60%), wetland (16%) and a mix of agricultural (13%) and other uses (11%). This watershed has 641.39 stream miles, 7,914.74 lake acres and 42,306.80 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.