Watershed - Lower Buffalo River (BT07)
Lower Buffalo River Watershed

Details

The Lower Buffalo River Watershed is approximately 176,278 acres in size and consists of 638 miles of streams and rivers, 891 acres of lakes, and 9,907 acres of wetlands. The watershed is dominated by forests and agriculture, but is ranked high for nonpoint source issues affecting streams and groundwater in the watershed. Most streams in the Lower Buffalo River watershed have stream habitat that has been severely degraded by agricultural nonpoint source pollution. All assessed streams have degraded fishery habitat, mainly due to streambank destruction and in-stream sedimentation.

Date  1991

Ecological Landscapes for Lower Buffalo River Watershed

Ecological Landscapes

This watershed is located in the Western Coulee and Ridges Ecological Landscape in southwestern and west central Wisconsin and is characterized by its highly eroded, driftless topography and relatively extensive forested landscape. Soils are silt loams (loess) and sandy loams over sandstone residuum over dolomite. Several large rivers including the Wisconsin, Mississippi, Chippewa, Kickapoo and Black flow through or border the Ecological Landscape. Historical vegetation consisted of southern hardwood forests, oak savanna, scattered prairies, and floodplain forests and marshes along the major rivers. With Euro-American settlement, most of the land on ridgetops and valley bottoms was cleared of oak savanna, prairie, and level forest for agriculture. The steep slopes between valley bottom and ridgetop, unsuitable for raising crops, grew into oak-dominated forests after the ubiquitous presettlement wildfires were suppressed. Current vegetation is a mix of forest (40%), agriculture, and grassland with some wetlands in the river valleys. The primary forest cover is oak-hickory (51%) dominated by oak species and shagbark hickory. Maple-basswood forests (28%), dominated by sugar maple, basswood and red maple, are common in areas that were not subjected to repeated presettlement wildfires. Bottomland hardwoods (10%) are common in the valley bottoms of major rivers and are dominated by silver maple, ashes, elms, cottonwood, and red maple. Relict conifer forests including white pine, hemlock and yellow birch are a rarer natural community in the cooler, steep, north slope microclimates.

Date  2010

Watershed Grants
Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/1997
Waters Involved
Mirror Lake
Status
Complete

City Of Mondovi: Mirror Lake - Mondovi School Assessment: The City of Mondovi proposes to conduct the following lake assessment activities in cooperation with Mark Zuber and the School District of Mondovi on Mirror Lake: 1)Collect field data including dissolved oxygen, temperature, ph, nitrate and total phosphorous; organize it and submit to project data base and use data to make a WILMS lakes system model. 2) Preserve, collect, analyze, identify aquatic plants and algae in Mirror Lake. This informatiom will be complied for a database and use to map the distribution of algae and plants in the lake. A video record will also be kept. 3) All the same parameters from section two will apply to aquatic animals in this section. 4) Construct sediment samplers, crest gauges and event samplers; identify best locations and install instruments. Identify habitats and collect and identify invertabrates down to the family level and track all this information in a database. 5) Collect field information on input stream and calculate sediment loading and nutrient loading of Mirror Lake. This project is designed to develop a school/community partnership to design and implement a monitoring and research plan for Mirror Lake and it's tributaries. The Department of Natural Resources will be provided with both a paper copy and an electronic copy of the final report. The project results will be disseminated to the general public by public meeting, local newspaper articles and state FFA.











Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/1997
Waters Involved
Mirror Lake
Status
Complete

City Of Mondovi: Mirror Lake Predredging Assessment: City of Mondovi proposes to the following lake management activities on Mirror Lake:1) Prepare bathymetric map ofthe bottom of Mirror Lake. Prepare intial plan for dredge cut, present the plan to the City for review, revise plan based on City input, present revised plan to WI DNR to determine the number and locations of sediment samples to take and the number and type of analyses to run on the samples. 2) Based on the above information obtain a quote from a responsible testing firm and conduct the field work according to the agreed on methods and analyze the samples at a responsible liscensed testing lab. 3) Obtain estimates for the entire dredging project based on the plan and lab test results. 4) Prepare complete final report detailing finding and present it to the City and determine the course of action. The Department of Natural Resources will be provided with both a paper copy and an electronic copy of the final report. The project results will be disseminated to the general public by public meeting and local newspaper articles. The final report will be also made available at City Hall.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
1/1/1999
Waters Involved
Mirror Lake
Status
Complete

City Of Mondovi: Mirror Lake Sediment Reduction Task Iii: The City of Mondovi proposes to do studies needed before it can proceed with plans to dredge Mirror Lake and dispose of the sediments at a site within the city's industrial park. Project activities would include: 1) Surveys and sounding for the purpose of creating a bathymetric map to facilitate review of the proposed dredging plans, 2) sediment sampling, 3) design of sediment disposal area, 4) development of reports documenting anticipated environment impacts associated with the dredging and disposal plans, 5) preparation of applications for permits required, 6) preparation of bid specifications and contracts. The Department of Natural Resources will be provided with both a paper copy and aan ewlectronic copy of the final report. Project results will be disseminated to the public through regular meetings with city officials, and through advertisemnets associated with open bidding.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/1998
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

City Of Alma: Riecks Lake Adopt-A-Lake: The City of Alma proposes to work with local schools on a long-term project designed to monitor the health of Rieck's Lake and to introduce students and local residents to lake health issues and study methodologies. Project activities would include: 1) Annual lake depth, water quality, sedimentation rate and biological surveys, 2) establishment of a data base of the biotic and abiotic components of Rieck's Lake, 3) collection, study and cataloging of plant and animal species,
4) production and distribution of educational materials in conjunction with local schools and events. The Department of Natural Resources will be provided with both a paper and an electronic copy of the final report. Project results will be disseminated to the public through local displays, brochures, art work, photographic records and activities.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2001
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Buffalo: Rieck'S Lake Environmental Assessment: This assessment will include an appraisal of potential management options that may be employed to improve wildlife habitat on Rieck's Lake, especially waterfowl habitat, and maintain the current viewing opportunities for waterfowl and Tundra Swans. This assessment is designed to meet the following objectives:
1. Provide an appraisal of the habitat changes that have occurred
2. Provide a listing of the major habitat
3. Provide an appraisal of potential management options
4. Provide a summary of future actions that will be necessary to fullfill both habitat and use objectives


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2002
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

C/O Buffalo County Lcc: Rieck'S Lake Sediment Sampling Project: Buffalo County proposes to determine the distribution and environmental quality of the sediments in Rieck's Lake.

The project objectives, activities and deliverables include: 1) Resurveying historic USACE silt ranges, 2) Determine sedimentation rates since 1993 Faulkner resurvey of silt ranges, 3) Assess changes in distribution flow paths, 4) Determine the physical, chemical and environmental conditions of sediments within Rieck's lake, and 5) Produce at least one map illustrating the elevations of sediment along established silt ranges. The map will include locations of sediment sampling.

The Department will be provided with a paper and electronic copy of the final report.


Grant Details
Small Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2001
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

City Of Alma: Rieck'S Lake Managment Planning: Rieck's Lake and Beef Slough area is a valuable and highly utilized habitat for migratory and local waterfowl and other wildlife. It is a highly used area for family recreation and for naturalists and bird watchers. Specific issues to be addressed include: 1. Address the aging of Rieck's Lake. 2. Utilizing the resources of the lake for environmental education purposed. 3. Changing use of lake by, man, and natural wildlife. 4. Understanding the watershed management of Rieck's Lake, Beef Slough and the Buffalo River. 5. Creation of water quality data base. 6. Involving Tundra Swan Watch Volunteers, parents and community members in determining the number and types of wildlife utilizing the area.


Grant Details
Small Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2002
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Alma School District: Rieck'S Lake Education Management Planning: The Alma School District proposes to work with the local schools to continue to study the resources at Rieck's Lake for educational purposes. The project activities include: 1) Continue to develop an environmental curriculum for the sixth grade students at Alma schools, 2) Monitor the vegetation and wildlife at Rieck's Lake, 3) Monitor health of wetlands through a frog count, 4) Work with Tundra Swan Watch volunteers, 5) Work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to do a sampling of the vegetation, 6) Determine impact agriculture and other communities have on the sedimentation of Rieck's Lake, and 7) Inform the community and civic organizations on the finding at Rieck's Lake.

The Department will be provided with both a paper copy and electronic copy of the final report. Project resulrs will be disseminated to the public through local newspapers, newsletters, school activities, powerpoint presentations and a web page.


Grant Details
Small Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2003
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Alma School District: Rieck'S Lake Education Mgmt Planning: The Alma School District will continue its array of educational activities on Rieck's Lake. The project deliverables are clearly stated in Item E of the project applications. These items include a variety of monitoring activities, educational opportunities and presentation of information to the community and other school groups.

The DNR will be provided with both a paper copy and electronic copy of the final report. The project results will be disseminated to the public by newsletter(s), public meeting(s), and local newspaper articles.


Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Rural Construction
Date
1/1/2002
Waters Involved
Buffalo River
Status
Complete

Buffalo County: Rieck'S Lake Tributary Stabilization: to provide 70% cost-sharing for installation of best management practices in the Rieck's Lake Tributary Stabilization and protection Project


Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Rural Construction
Date
1/1/2003
Waters Involved
Buffalo River
Status
Complete

Buffalo County: Rieck'S Lake Tributary - Phase Ii: to c-s landowner installation of BMPs @70%


Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Rural Construction
Date
1/1/2003
Waters Involved
Buffalo River
Status
Complete

Buffalo County: Upper Reaches Of Lower Buffalo: to c-s @70% landowner BMPs w/in the Lower Buffalo River


Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Rural Construction
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Buffalo River
Status
Complete

Buffalo County: Lbr Conservation Project: to c-s LO installs at 70%


Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Rural Construction
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Peeso Creek
Status
Complete

Buffalo County: Ml Conservation Project: to cost-share @70% landowner installations


Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Rural Construction
Date
1/1/2008
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Buffalo County: Mark Kyle Farm: To cost-share landowner installation of runoff management practices designed to enable the Mark Kyle farm operation to achieve compliance with the agricultural performance standards and prohibitions under Subchapter II of NR 151 relating to prevention of direct runoff from a feedlot or stored manure into waters of the state.


Monitoring & Projects

Projects including grants, restoration work and studies shown below have occurred in this watershed. Click the links below to read through the text. While these are not an exhaustive list of activities, they provide insight into the management activities happening in this watershed.

Lower Buffalo River Watershed
Watershed Recommendations
Monitor and/or Protect Groundwater, Sourcewater
 
Date
Status
WDNR staff should continue to encourage communities to develop wellhead protection plans in the Watershed and the whole basin.
7/1/2010
Proposed
Projects
 
Wastewater Monitoring, Management
 
Date
Status
The following communities should complete a facility plan for an upgrade of the existing WWTP.  Mindoro Sanitary District  City of Alma Center
7/1/2010
Proposed
 
Water Quality Planning
Bear Creek Watershed Planning
Date
Status
The Bear Creek Watershed covers 76.5 square miles in Buffalo and Pepin counties. Bear, Little Bear, and Spring creeks are the three primary sub-watersheds within the Bear Creek Watershed. The watershed drains rolling agricultural and wooded areas with many of the tributaries originating in steep coulees. The watershed also drains one urban area, the City of Durand. All streams within the Bear Creek Watershed drain the eastern slope of the Chippewa River Valley. The Bear Creek Watershed contains typical steep topography characteristic of the driftless or un-glaciated area of the state. Because the most productive and level land is on the valley floor, most farming takes place immediately adjacent to streams. Former prairie and a portion of the forested lands have been converted to agricultural uses. The quality of trout streams in this watershed have improved or degraded as agricultural uses have diminished or increased. Earlier editions of the Lower Chippewa River Water Quality Management Plan indicated the Nelson wastewater treatment plant and Nelson Cheese actory discharged to the Lower Chippewa Basin. Due to a basin oundary change, both are in the Buffalo- Trempealeau River Basin. The majority of the wetlands in the watershed are adjacent to the Chippewa and Mississippi Rivers.
7/1/2010
In Progress
Projects
 
Lower Buffalo River WatershedWatershed History Note

The city of Alma in the Lower Buffalo Watershed was founded in 1848 by two young Swiss men who arrived in this area to cut the wood to be used to fuel the steamboats which traveled the Mississippi River. They built a small shack and decided to stay. Others soon followed these early settlers. Until 1857, the newcomers were mostly Swiss immigrants. Perhaps the geographical features of this area reminded them of their native Switzerland. Twelve Mile Bluff was the original name (assigned by pilots of steamboats as they used a prominent cliff as a guide on dark nights) for the settlement. There are several theories as to how the current name, Alma, was chosen for this new settlement. One was that it was short and easier to spell. Another was that it derived its name from the battle of 1854 on the Alma River, in Russia. From an Indian trail along the river, the settlers built two streets at the base of the bluffs. They were - and still are - called Main (or First) Street and Second (or Upper) Street. A number of short streets connect them. Automobiles can drive on some of the streets while some are concrete stairways for foot traffic; a unique feature of the city. Main Street is also State Highway 35, a part of the Great River Road. The first industry in Alma was a brewery. This is understandable since the river froze in the winter and settlers were isolated, and the Swiss were fond of their special beer. There were a number of cigar factories also intended for relaxation during the winter months. A large portion of the city is listed within the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the houses and buildings are over 100 years old.

Date  2010