Fish and Aquatic Life
About nine miles of the Little Wolf River flows through the Lower Wolf River watershed (WR04), the portion from its mouth at the Wolf River, to the mouth of the South Branch Little Wolf River. A low gradient stream, it passes through primarily farmland. The Little Wolf's fishery is similar to the Wolf River, with diverse warm water fish and rough fish. DNR fisheries personnel have created a master plan for the Little Wolf River.
Very little water quality information is available on the stretch of the Little Wolf River in the Lower Little Wolf River watershed (WR06). The Little Wolf River from the junction with the Wolf River upstream to Manawa Dam is designated an Exceptional Resouce Water per Chapter NR 102, Wisconsin Administrative Code.
In the Upper Little Wolf River watershed (WR07), different portions of the Little Wolf River are classified as a warmwater sport fishery and Class I and II trout waters. Stream habitat evaluations were conducted at seven locations during summer/fall of 1993 (WDNR, 1995). Instream habitat ranged from excellent to good to fair. Instream habitat was fair downstream of Highway VV and above Franzen Road due to streambank pasturing and cropland runoff (erosion channels).
From: Bougie, Cheryl A., Kosmond, Lisa D, and Watermolen, Dreux J. 1996. Wolf River Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Cheryl Bougie
The Little Wolf River (Third upstream crossing of the Portage-Marathon county line to CTH I) 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) the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.
Author Amanda Smith
The Little Wolf River was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new total phosphorus, biological (macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores), and sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.
Author Ashley Beranek
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 Targeted Area
Collect surface water samples throughout the Wolf River Basin to be analyzed for total P, dissolved P and TSS for TMDL development. Wolf River Basin including: the Wolf River (241300), Little Wolf River (272400), Waupaca (257400) and Embarrass River (291900), and the Outlet of Lake Winnebago (117900-LFR)
Monitor Targeted Watershed Area (TWA)
This project will evaluate water quality improvements made in the Lower Little Wolf River Watershed from Best Management Practices installed in the watershed from 1997 through 2008 as part of the Lower Little Wolf River Priority Watershed Project. [TWA HUC10-0403020217].
Monitoring will be conducted in 9 WBICs: 279600, 280100, 272400, 280700, 280900, 283000, 283100, 283400, 284900.
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|
Little Wolf River is located in the Upper Little Wolf River watershed which is 182.05 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (43%), agricultural (32%) and a mix of wetland (20%) and other uses (6%). This watershed has 160.69 stream miles, 841.95 lake acres and 26,786.17 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Medium for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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.