Wolf River, Wolf River - Langlade and Evergreen Rive,West Branch Wolf River Watershed (WR17, WR18)
Wolf River, Wolf River - Langlade and Evergreen Rive,West Branch Wolf River Watershed (WR17, WR18)
Wolf River-Main Stem (241300)
24.14 Miles
121.72 - 145.86
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.
Large River
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
Good
 
Langlade, Menominee
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

Approximately 25 miles of the main stem Wolf River flows through this watershed from the city of New London to the confluence with the Shioc River. Level ditches in an area known as Hortonville Flats restrict water flow and prevent walleye spawning. The Wolf River receives discharges from the city of New London, the village of Shiocton and Borden Consumer Products Division. All are in substantial compliance with their WPDES permits but it is unknown whether the cooling wastewater discharge from Borden is impacting the Wolf River.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Overview

Approximately 19 miles of the Wolf River, from the mouth of the Waupaca River upstream to New London, are in this watershed. The reach from the mouth of the Waupaca River to the Wolf River outlet at Lake Poygan defines the watershed boundary between WR03 and WR04. Tributaries to the Wolf in this watershed include the North Branch Little Wolf River, the Waupaca River, Cedar Creek, Big Cut, and nine miles of unnamed ditches and streams.

Whole fish samples for organic and/or metal contaminant analysis taken from this reach in the early 1980s tested near the mercury consumption advisory of 0.5 ppm. This analysis should be repeated using fillet samples.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Overview

Main Stem Wolf - Approximately 19 miles of the Wolf River, from the mouth of the Waupaca River upstream to New London, are in the Lower Wolf River watershed (WR04). The reach from the mouth of the Waupaca River to the Wolf River outlet at Lake Poygan defines the watershed boundary between WR03 and WR04. Tributaries to the Wolf in the Lower Wolf watershed include the North Branch Little Wolf River, the Waupaca River, Cedar Creek, Big Cut, and nine miles of unnamed ditches and streams. Whole fish samples for organic and/or metal contaminant analysis taken from this reach in the early 1980s tested near the mercury consumption advisory of 0.5 ppm. This analysis should be repeated using fillet samples.

There are 47 miles of the Wolf River in the Middle Wolf River watershed (WR14) and no major tributaries to the river. The portion of the river below the city of Shawano is very important for sturgeon spawning in spring. Fisheries Management staff have collected data indicated that young sturgeon use the river as a nursery area for up to four years before they move downstream into the Winnebago System's deeper waters. The lake strugeon is listed as a rare species in the United States (Strassburg, 1991). This fish has watch status in Wisconsin and is under close observation by WDNR and conservation groups. The Lake Winnebago waterway system has has the largest single concentration of sturgeon in the world. Preserving the fish's environmental is crucial to its survival.

Pollution sources along the Wolf River are nonpoint in nature; animal wastes and cropland runoff. A mercury consumption advisory exists for walleye greater than 15 inches for the reach from below the Shawano dam to Highway 156. Fish fillet samples for organic and/or metal contaminant analysis should be collected below the Shawano dam especially for the larger game species.

The main stem Wolf River extends for 25 miles in the West Branch of the Wolf River watershed (WR17), flowing through primarily wild areas, particularly within the Menominee Reservation. The river is classified as a warm water sport fishery along the entire reach.

The main stem Wolf River flows for 33 miles through the Wolf River/Langlade and Evergreen River watershed (LW18). The Wolf River downstream from the village of Lily is a favorite attraction for canoeing, float trips and other recreational activities. The heavy use has created some problems with immediate bank damage and compaction, and littering. The town of Wolf River has begun to address some of these problems by prohibiting disposable containers on the Wolf River.

The Wolf River from Lower Post Lake to Pearson is classified as warmwater sport fishery and from Pearson to the lower end of this watershed (WR19, below Lily River) as Class II trout water. The entire stretch of the Wolf River in the Lily River watershed (WR19) is listed in Ch NR 102, Wisconsin Administrative Code, as an Outstanding Resource Water.

The entire reach of the Wolf River mainstem (35 miles) in the Upper Wolf River watershed (WR20) is classified as warmwater sport fishery. It is listed as an Outstanding Resource Water. The area is trapped heavily for muskrat, mink and beaver. The portion of the river from Langlade/Menominee County line down to Keshena Falls is considered Wild and Scenic under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

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.

Date  1996

Author  Cheryl Bougie

Historical Description

From Highway 47 near Keshena to CTH T near Pearson in northern Langlade County (class 2).

Date  1980

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Wolf River, T19N, R15E, Section 27, Area = 730 acres, Length = 9.0 miles, Gradient = <1.0 feet/mile.
The Wolf River, in terms of width, is the largest stream present in Winnebago County. It
contains clear to turbid hard water having a fairly high productivity rating. The lower third of the
Wolf flows through a large marsh complex containing some 6,700 acres o f wetlands. Many migrant waterfowl
as well as nesting puddle ducks use this area. Hunting pressure is heavy, especially in the state-owned
public hunting grounds. During the fall hunting season a portion of the state lands are set aside as a waterfowl refuge. Muskrats, deer, and other wildlife species are common in this area. Above the marshy area the Wolf River shoreline has been developed to a large extent with vacation homes. Upland hardwood and some upland conifers are common
shoreline vegetation types. The Wolf contains a fishery similar to that outlined in Table 7. Fishing pressure is quite heavy, especially for walleyes and white bass during their annual spring spawning runs.
Throughout the summer boat traffic is quite heavy and has led to conflicts between boaters, home owners,
and fishermen. A problem, complicated by fluctuating water levels and the heavy boating traffic, is that of shoreline erosion and marsh recession. Rock riprap has been used to try to halt the erosion with fairly good results. The problem, however,
lies in the fact that many landowners do not want to go through the expense of this type of shoreline protection and as a result improvement is spotty at best. In an attempt to halt marsh recession on state-owned lands the DNR plans
to place riprap along marsh fringes. Public access to the Wolf in Winnebago County is available only from navigable waters (Lake Poygan and Rat River).

From: 1975. Surface Water Resources of Winnebago County: Lake and Stream Classification Project.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1975

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Wolf River, T22N, R15E, Sec. 7(11), Area = 536.4 acres, Length = 35.4 miles, M.P.A. = 132 ppm.
The Wolf River is the most important surface water resource in Outagamie County, not only for recreational
pursuits, but for fish and wildlife as well. Sand is the dominant bottom material; silt is also present in
most areas. Instream cover, especially fallen trees, is common. Crayfish are common throughout its length
and caddisflies are present in some sections.
The streem is best known for its fishery. Each year walleye travel upstream to spawn in the wetlands
flooded by spring runoff. The heaviest fishing pressure takes place at this time, and again during the
white bass spawning run. Rocky areas along the banks also provide spawning areas for sturgeon; however, these
ancient fish are protected from fishermen. Other fish species include northern pike, smallmouth bass,
white bass, various panfish, carp, suckers, and other rough fish.
Game species include deer, muskrat, beaver, and various small game animals such as squirrels, rabbits,
and grouse. Various marshlands and a bayou provide excellent areas for ducks and other marsh animals t o
propegate end sustain themselves. In addition to five road crossings, several public access s i t e s are
present along the river. Figure 15 shows the public lands and access sites. The river is a popular canoe
route and is especially suited for the novice canoeist because it is relatively wild in appearance, but has
no rough water areas.

From: Nelson, Linden M. and Ronald L. Fassbender. Surface Water Resources of Outagamie County:
Lake and Stream Classification Project. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1972

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Wolf River, Wolf River - Langlade and Evergreen Rive,West Branch Wolf River Watershed (WR17, WR18) Fish and Aquatic LifeWolf River, Wolf River - Langlade and Evergreen Rive,West Branch Wolf River Watershed (WR17, WR18) RecreationWolf River, Wolf River - Langlade and Evergreen Rive,West Branch Wolf River Watershed (WR17, WR18) Fish Consumption

General Condition

The Wolf River Mainstem from its mouth to the Shawano Dam no longer has specific fish consumption advisories for PCBs or Mercury. The majority of this portion of the river is proposed for delisting.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

General Condition

The Wolf River (miles 140.46-178.32) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new total phosphorus, chloride, and temperature sample data were clearly below 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water is meeting this designated use and is not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

General Condition

The Wolf River - Main Stem was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new total phosphorus, biological (macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores), and sample data were clearly below 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water is meeting this designated use and is not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

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

Educate Lake Residents
POST LAKES P & R DISTRICT: Aquatic Invasive Education - Langlade Co. Waterways - programs at the White Lake and Elcho School Districts
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
Navigability Determination
T20N R14E ; Wolf River;
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
TMDL Development
Fox Wolf TMDL
Monitor Fish Tissue
241300 name Wolf River-Main Stem TMDL ID 617 Start Mile 65.58 End Mile 85.58

Standards Details

Per NR 102.10 (1)(c) Wolf River upstream of the northern Menominee county line.

Date  2009

Author   Aquatic Biologist

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

Wolf River is located in the West Branch Wolf River watershed which is 266.11 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (47%), wetland (34%) and a mix of agricultural (8%) and other uses (10%). This watershed has 219.07 stream miles, 1,704.90 lake acres and 19,841.26 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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

Wolf River-Main Stem is considered a Large River 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.