Fish and Aquatic Life
The Apple River is a high value warm water stream which supports a regionally noted recreational industry centered on tubing float trips. The river is impacted by nonpoint source pollution generally agriculturally related although rural residential development is increasing. This stream and watershed should be considered a high priority for nonpoint source pollution control.
The Apple River drains a large agricultural area and has moderate water quality impacts as a result of barnyard runoff, streambank erosion, cropland runoff and erosion. The Apple River Flowage has problems typical of man-made flowages including excessive siltation and nutrients combining to create favorable conditions for nuisance aquatic plant growth. The flowage also receives stormwater runoff from the community of Amery which serves as an additional source of nutrients. Implementation of nonpoint source controls in this watershed should include practices aimed at reducing pollution from both rural and urban sources.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The Apple River flows west into the St. Croix River. Five flowages are impounded on this stream in St. Croix County: the Huntington (28 foot head dam), McClure (13'), Riverdale (23'), Somerset (17') and Apple Falls Flowages (84'). Two sections of the stream are managed for brown trout, the remainder is managed for walleyes, bass and panfish. That considered trout water is the portion of stream within the village limits of Star Prairie and a mile stretch of stream below the McClure Flowage dam. Fish sp=cies common to this stream are walleyes, smallmouth bass, rock bass, black bullheads, brown trout, carp and white suckers. Also present are muskellunge, northern pike, perch, largemouth bass, bluegills, black crappies, pumpkinseeds, brown bullheads, burbot and rainbow trout.
A grass-sedge wetlands of 110 acres border the river, providing additional habitat for muskrat and broods of mallards, blue -winged teal, wood ducks and hooded mergansers. Beaver are also present. Public lands here consists of 2,400 feet of state-owned frontage in the St. Croix Islands Wildlife Area. Eight bridges also provide access to the stream. Private development is limited to 20 cottages and homes.
Apple River -T31N, R17W, Sec. 1 to T31N, R20W, Sec. 20, Surface Acres = 157.6 Miles = 13. Q Gradient = 8 feet per mile.
From: Sather, LaVerne M. and Threinen, C.W., 1961. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of St. Croix County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The Apple River (between Apple River Flowage and Black Brook Flowage) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; chloride data clearly met the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was meeting this designated use and not considered impaired.
Author Amanda Smith
The Apple River (Apple Flowage to White Ash Lake) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data clearly met the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category) and chloride data clearly met thresholds. This water was meeting this designated use and not considered impaired.
Author Amanda Smith
The Apple River (St. Croix-Polk County line to Sucker Creek) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data clearly met the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). This water was meeting this designated use and not considered impaired.
Author Amanda Smith
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'.
Water Quality Planning
This watershed is located in east-central Polk County and contains the Apple River drainage upstream from below the Apple River Flowage dam in Amery. The watershed is approximately 125,074 acres in size and consists of 139 miles of streams and rivers, 7,663 acres of lakes and 16,247 acres of wetlands. The watershed is dominated by forest (43%), grassland (23%) and agriculture (14%). It is ranked high for nonpoint source issues affecting lakes and medium for nonpoint source issues affecting streams. The Upper Apple River is a fertile warmwater stream which flows into what is known as the Apple River Flowage in the community of Amery. The Apple River flowage has problems typical of man-made flowages including excessive siltation and nutrients which combine to create favorable conditions for nuisance aquatic plant growth.
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|
|2614000||Apple River||563034||Apple River - W/Bk 340ft Dnst Footbdge||5/23/1977||8/6/1980||Map||Data|
|2614000||Apple River||563053||Apple River at Somerset Village Park||7/24/1985||7/16/1993||Map||Data|
|2614250||Pine Lake (Somerset)T31nr19ws10||10036961||Pine Lake (Somerset)T31nr19ws10||6/29/2010||7/13/2012||Map||Data|
|2614000||Apple River||563035||Apple River - W/Bk 140ft Dnst Footbdge||5/23/1977||8/6/1980||Map||Data|
Apple River is located in the Lower Apple River watershed which is 202.16 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (47%), forest (33%) and a mix of suburban (7%) and other uses (13%). This watershed has 151.64 stream miles, 4,391.99 lake acres and 9,095.80 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Medium 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.