Bark River, Bayfield Peninsula Northwest Watershed (LS06)
Bark River, Bayfield Peninsula Northwest Watershed (LS06)
Bark River (2881000)
6.21 Miles
0 - 6.21
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, Macroinvertebrate
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.
2013
Good
 
Bayfield
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.
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.
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.
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 Bark River is a medium-sized spring-fed trout stream that flows north into Bark Bay. The entire river supports reproducing trout, including many migratory runs from Lake Superior, and has been classified as an outstanding resource water. Stream bottom types vary, with the lower reaches mostly sand, gravel and clay, while the upper reaches consist of mixed sand, gravel and boulders. The upper reaches have a steep gradient through a ravine. Large amounts of debris have accumulated along this portion of the stream, which, if large and woody, may enhance habitat (Pratt 1996). The area supports nesting and migratory waterfowl. One characteristic of the river is extensive wetlands about 2.5 miles from the lake. The river flows through an area of cedar and white pine. The Lake Superior Binational Program identified this river as important to the integrity of the Lake Superior ecosystem for rare communities.

The river empties into Bark Bay, which is bounded by Roman Point to the east and Bark Point to the west. Bark Bay has a beach dunes landscape, with extensive coastal wetlands that feature a bog. The bay supports submergent vegetation. The extensive wetlands provide high quality habitat for wading birds and waterfowl. Shorebirds use the shoreline. The Ainland@ fishery in the wetland and lagoon area is a varied community of primarily warm water fish species. Spawning migratory rainbow trout use this area and the Bark River. The nearshore waters of Lake Superior provide spawning habitat for both lake trout and lake whitefish. This area is subject to some development. Several cabins have been built on a long, narrow sand spit that separates the lagoons from the lake. The land in the area is in both state (Bark Bay Natural Area) and private ownership. The Lake Superior Binational Program has identified this area as important to the integrity of the Lake Superior ecosystem for coastal wetlands, rare communities, rare habitat, habitat unique to the Great Lakes and fish and wildlife spawning and nursery grounds. The coastal wetland evaluation identified Bark Bay as a priority wetland site (see discussion, above).

During survey work conducted as part of the coastal wetlands evaluation, three rare species of macroinvertebrates were found and overall taxa richness was moderate (5-24 species) (Epstein 1997). The survey noted that bank erosion and turbidity may be potential problems.

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

Date  1999

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Bark River, Bayfield Peninsula Northwest Watershed (LS06) Fish and Aquatic LifeBark River, Bayfield Peninsula Northwest Watershed (LS06) RecreationBark River, Bayfield Peninsula Northwest Watershed (LS06) 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

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

Bark River is located in the Bayfield Peninsula Northwest watershed which is 236.05 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (77%), grassland (9%) and a mix of wetland (6%) and other uses (8%). This watershed has 473.06 stream miles, 43,216.55 lake acres and 6,677.27 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

Bark River is considered a Coldwater, Macroinvertebrate 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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