Siskiwit River, Bayfield Peninsula Northwest Watershed (LS06)
Siskiwit River, Bayfield Peninsula Northwest Watershed (LS06)
Siskiwit River (2881900)
1 Miles
0 - 1
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.
2016
Unknown
 
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.
No
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 II Trout)
Streams 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 through natural reproduction and selective propagation. 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 II Trout)
Streams 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 through natural reproduction and selective propagation. 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 Siskiwit River originates in Siskiwit Lake and flows through Little Siskiwit Lake, before emptying into Siskiwit Bay on Lake Superior. From the outlet of Siskiwit Lake downstream to Siskiwit Springs in T50N R6W S24, the water quality is characterized by high temperatures, acid pH and dark brown color. This river reach supports primarily forage species. From the springs, water quality improves and allows trout survival. For the five-mile stretch from the springs to Siskiwit Falls, the river is classified as Class I trout water for brook, brown and rainbow trout. This segment of river is also considered an exceptional resource water. Below the falls to the mouth, the stream is Class II trout water because of its lack of gravel spawning areas. Rainbow and brown trout, and chinook and coho salmon migrate from the lake to spawn. The river also supports spawning northern pike, bullheads, suckers and spottail shiners.

At the mouth of the river, Cornucopia Harbor provides a mooring and docking area for commercial and sport fishing operations and private recreation. A pier juts out from the mouth, forming a sheltered beach area. Sediment sampling in the harbor since the last update of this plan did not indicate contaminants at levels higher than background typical of the region.

Siskiwit Bay is bounded by Squaw Point to the east and Roman Point to the west. The bay is a spawning area for lake whitefish. Shorebirds use the sand beaches of the bay. The mouth of the river, the bay shoreline and Roman Point are in private ownership. Upstream areas of the Siskiwit River are in county forest and private ownership. The Lake Superior Binational Program identified Siskiwit Bay and the river as important to the integrity of the Lake Superior ecosystem for fish and wildlife spawning and nursery grounds.

Past water quality sampling by the University of Wisconsin - Superior, indicated fecal coliform counts were elevated. This was prior to the construction of the new Bell Sanitary District Wastewater Treatment Plant.

A tributary to Siskiwit Bay entering the lake at T51N R6W S34 has been designated an exceptional resource water. This stream is listed as a Class I trout stream for brook trout in Wisconsin Trout Streams. We have little other information for this stream.

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

Date  1999

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Siskiwit River, Bayfield Peninsula Northwest Watershed (LS06) Fish and Aquatic LifeSiskiwit River, Bayfield Peninsula Northwest Watershed (LS06) RecreationSiskiwit River, Bayfield Peninsula Northwest Watershed (LS06) Fish Consumption

General Condition

The Siskiwit River (Siskiwit Lake to confluence of other Siskiwit River branch) 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 meeting this designated use and not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Amanda Smith

Impaired Waters

Siskiwit River (2881900) Assessment Unit 19008. This water should not be listed as impaired. It is still "unassessed" as the fish survey Sequence # 91435 used too few fish. This no longer has a stand-alone biology assessment.?

Date  2014

Author   Aquatic Biologist

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 Fish Community
Don't list as Category 5A - leave as Category 3. Fish Survey Sequence # 91435 used too few fish. This no longer has a stand-alone biology assessment.

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

Siskiwit 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

Siskiwit 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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