Watershed - Mississippi River (GP07)
Mississippi River Watershed

Details

The Mississippi River Watershed is a 107 square mile watershed in Grant County that stretches along the Mississippi River from Wyalusing State Park to the Grant River's confluence with the Mississippi River. Steep, wooded slopes that drain to the Mississippi River floodplain characterize the topography of the watershed. Local topographic relief near the Mississippi River is significant, and some bluffs rise over 400 feet above the river. Agriculture is the dominant land use in the watershed. There are sizable woodlots in the watershed, particularly on the steeper slopes. Only about 55 percent of the land is in cropland or pasture in the watershed (Fix, 1991). Due to the slopes and local relief, this watershed has the highest annual soil loss (16.3 tons per acre per year) in the Grant-Platte basin (Fix, 1991).

Date  2001

Nonpoint and Point Sources

There are only two communities with wastewater treatment plants in the watershed. They are Cassville and Bagley. These facilities discharge to Jack Oak Slough and unnamed tributary to the Mississippi River, respectively.

Date  2001

Ecological Landscapes for Mississippi River Watershed

Ecological Landscapes

The Mississippi River watershed is located primarily 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

Recreational Opportunities

Hunting, fishing and boating are important recreational activities in the watershed and the adjoining Mississippi River pools. Camping, nature study and hiking are other recreational activities available in the watershed. The watershed sits on the Mississippi River flyway, a major highway for migratory birds of all types. There are two Wisconsin state parks at least partially in the watershed, Wyalusing and Nelson Dewey. Both provide visitors with opportunities for camping, hiking, birding, boating and canoeing, nature study and just plain relaxing. Wyalusing is also open during winter offering winter camping and cross-country skiing. Stonefield Village, a recreated 1890's village, is the site of the home of Wisconsin's first governor, Nelson Dewey. It is also the site of the State Agricultural Museum. While technically not in the watershed, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers runs a campground near Potosi. It offers camping as well as access to the Mississippi River. There are also private campgrounds in the watershed. The streams in the Mississippi River watershed drain to either Pool 10 or 11 of the Mississippi River. There are a number of backwater sloughs along the Mississippi River and in these pools. They all lie within the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife and Fish Refuge administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The sloughs are used as feeding and resting areas by waterfowl and other migratory birds. The area is a destination for bird watchers as well as sportsmen and women. Many of these sloughs offer excellent fishing and hunting opportunities. There are a number of federal, state and local boat launch areas providing access to the Mississippi and the sloughs.

Date  2001

Mississippi River Watershed At-a-Glance

Impaired Water in Mississippi River Watershed
River and Stream QualityAll Waters in Watershed

There are 68 miles of streams in the watershed and most of these are smaller with steep gradients. The streams are very “flashy” (rapid water level increases and decreases during runoff events) because of the steep gradients. Consequently, local erosion is a problem during runoff events. The smallness of the streams and the steep gradients tend to limit natural habitat. There is little recent information on water quality, habitat, or fisheries conditions for streams in the watershed. Overall, the watershed and the streams in the watershed have been ranked low with respect to non-point source pollution, although the groundwater has a high potential for groundwater contamination as a result of non-point source pollution. The primary water quality problem of the backwater sloughs and pools 10 and 11 is the sediment in runoff from uplands that fill in portions of the pools and sloughs. The sediment also brings nutrients, which in turn promotes excessive aquatic plant growth and exacerbates downstream water quality problems. Waves created by the large river barge tows plying the river have eroded some of the islands reducing habitat and adding to the sediment load. The Wisconsin DNR in cooperation with the Fish and Wildlife Service are working on projects to improve habitat along the river and pools. Zebra Mussels, an invasive exotic species, have become a problem in pools 10 and 11 of the Mississippi River. The presence of excessive numbers of zebra mussels in pools 10 and 11 are thought to be a reason for low dissolved oxygen (DO) in the river during a period of low flow in 1997 (Sullivan and Endris, 1997).

Date  2001

Watershed Trout Streams
Watershed Outstanding & Exceptional Resources

Lakes and Impoundments

Impaired Waters

List of Impaired Waters
Watershed Grants
Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2010
Waters Involved
Castle Rock Ditch
Status
Complete

Lake Alice Association, Inc: Lake Alice Stewardship Program Phase Ii - Understanding The Biota Of Lake Alice: Lake Alice Association is sponsoring phased large scale lake planning grants to study Lake Alice, in Lincoln County. The project will focus on developing and updating an Adaptive Lake Management Plan (LMP) for Lake Alice. Phase 2 was funded in this grant cycle and Phases 3-5 will be submitted for funding starting in 2011.

Project activities for Phase 2 include: 1) Educational program, meetings and educational events with lake association and Tomahawk High School students, written educational materials, news releases, and website updates; 2) Point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey; 3) Aquatic plant community and substrate mapping; 4) Water quality assessment; 5) Volunteer amphibian monitoring and angler survey; 6) Update LMP.

Project deliverables include: 1) Educational materials and news releases; 2) Aquatic plant community and substrate maps; 3) PI, water quality, amphibian, and angler data; 4) LMP.

Specific conditions for this project: LMP needs Dept review and approval

WDNR Lakes Management Coordinator will be provided with an electronic (pdf or word) and hard copy of LMP, news releases, any other educational materials/products, all data, all maps from project, and all GIS data.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2010
Waters Involved
Cruson Slough
Status
Complete

Lake Alice Association, Inc: Lake Alice Stewardship Program Phase Ii - Understanding The Biota Of Lake Alice: Lake Alice Association is sponsoring phased large scale lake planning grants to study Lake Alice, in Lincoln County. The project will focus on developing and updating an Adaptive Lake Management Plan (LMP) for Lake Alice. Phase 2 was funded in this grant cycle and Phases 3-5 will be submitted for funding starting in 2011.

Project activities for Phase 2 include: 1) Educational program, meetings and educational events with lake association and Tomahawk High School students, written educational materials, news releases, and website updates; 2) Point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey; 3) Aquatic plant community and substrate mapping; 4) Water quality assessment; 5) Volunteer amphibian monitoring and angler survey; 6) Update LMP.

Project deliverables include: 1) Educational materials and news releases; 2) Aquatic plant community and substrate maps; 3) PI, water quality, amphibian, and angler data; 4) LMP.

Specific conditions for this project: LMP needs Dept review and approval

WDNR Lakes Management Coordinator will be provided with an electronic (pdf or word) and hard copy of LMP, news releases, any other educational materials/products, all data, all maps from project, and all GIS data.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2010
Waters Involved
Lake Du Bay
Status
Complete

Lake Alice Association, Inc: Lake Alice Stewardship Program Phase Ii - Understanding The Biota Of Lake Alice: Lake Alice Association is sponsoring phased large scale lake planning grants to study Lake Alice, in Lincoln County. The project will focus on developing and updating an Adaptive Lake Management Plan (LMP) for Lake Alice. Phase 2 was funded in this grant cycle and Phases 3-5 will be submitted for funding starting in 2011.

Project activities for Phase 2 include: 1) Educational program, meetings and educational events with lake association and Tomahawk High School students, written educational materials, news releases, and website updates; 2) Point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey; 3) Aquatic plant community and substrate mapping; 4) Water quality assessment; 5) Volunteer amphibian monitoring and angler survey; 6) Update LMP.

Project deliverables include: 1) Educational materials and news releases; 2) Aquatic plant community and substrate maps; 3) PI, water quality, amphibian, and angler data; 4) LMP.

Specific conditions for this project: LMP needs Dept review and approval

WDNR Lakes Management Coordinator will be provided with an electronic (pdf or word) and hard copy of LMP, news releases, any other educational materials/products, all data, all maps from project, and all GIS data.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2010
Waters Involved
Little Pine Creek
Status
Complete

Lake Alice Association, Inc: Lake Alice Stewardship Program Phase Ii - Understanding The Biota Of Lake Alice: Lake Alice Association is sponsoring phased large scale lake planning grants to study Lake Alice, in Lincoln County. The project will focus on developing and updating an Adaptive Lake Management Plan (LMP) for Lake Alice. Phase 2 was funded in this grant cycle and Phases 3-5 will be submitted for funding starting in 2011.

Project activities for Phase 2 include: 1) Educational program, meetings and educational events with lake association and Tomahawk High School students, written educational materials, news releases, and website updates; 2) Point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey; 3) Aquatic plant community and substrate mapping; 4) Water quality assessment; 5) Volunteer amphibian monitoring and angler survey; 6) Update LMP.

Project deliverables include: 1) Educational materials and news releases; 2) Aquatic plant community and substrate maps; 3) PI, water quality, amphibian, and angler data; 4) LMP.

Specific conditions for this project: LMP needs Dept review and approval

WDNR Lakes Management Coordinator will be provided with an electronic (pdf or word) and hard copy of LMP, news releases, any other educational materials/products, all data, all maps from project, and all GIS data.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2010
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Lake Alice Association, Inc: Lake Alice Stewardship Program Phase Ii - Understanding The Biota Of Lake Alice: Lake Alice Association is sponsoring phased large scale lake planning grants to study Lake Alice, in Lincoln County. The project will focus on developing and updating an Adaptive Lake Management Plan (LMP) for Lake Alice. Phase 2 was funded in this grant cycle and Phases 3-5 will be submitted for funding starting in 2011.

Project activities for Phase 2 include: 1) Educational program, meetings and educational events with lake association and Tomahawk High School students, written educational materials, news releases, and website updates; 2) Point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey; 3) Aquatic plant community and substrate mapping; 4) Water quality assessment; 5) Volunteer amphibian monitoring and angler survey; 6) Update LMP.

Project deliverables include: 1) Educational materials and news releases; 2) Aquatic plant community and substrate maps; 3) PI, water quality, amphibian, and angler data; 4) LMP.

Specific conditions for this project: LMP needs Dept review and approval

WDNR Lakes Management Coordinator will be provided with an electronic (pdf or word) and hard copy of LMP, news releases, any other educational materials/products, all data, all maps from project, and all GIS data.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2010
Waters Involved
Wisconsin River
Status
Complete

Lake Alice Association, Inc: Lake Alice Stewardship Program Phase Ii - Understanding The Biota Of Lake Alice: Lake Alice Association is sponsoring phased large scale lake planning grants to study Lake Alice, in Lincoln County. The project will focus on developing and updating an Adaptive Lake Management Plan (LMP) for Lake Alice. Phase 2 was funded in this grant cycle and Phases 3-5 will be submitted for funding starting in 2011.

Project activities for Phase 2 include: 1) Educational program, meetings and educational events with lake association and Tomahawk High School students, written educational materials, news releases, and website updates; 2) Point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey; 3) Aquatic plant community and substrate mapping; 4) Water quality assessment; 5) Volunteer amphibian monitoring and angler survey; 6) Update LMP.

Project deliverables include: 1) Educational materials and news releases; 2) Aquatic plant community and substrate maps; 3) PI, water quality, amphibian, and angler data; 4) LMP.

Specific conditions for this project: LMP needs Dept review and approval

WDNR Lakes Management Coordinator will be provided with an electronic (pdf or word) and hard copy of LMP, news releases, any other educational materials/products, all data, all maps from project, and all GIS data.


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.

Mississippi River Watershed
Mississippi River WatershedWatershed History Note

The City of Cassville, located on the banks of the Mississippi River, was once the home of early Native Americans, as evidence by an eagle effigy mound, estimated to have been built in the 1000s. Europeans arrived to settle the area in 1827, when it was still part of the Michigan Territory. The city was named after Territorial Governor Lewis Cass. When Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848, one of Cassville’s favorite sons, Nelson Dewey, became the first governor. Ferry service across the Mississippi River started in 1858, and consisted of a large rowboat which was powered by horses on a treadmill. In later years, the ferry was used to transport vegetables from the Iowa farm fields to the Klindt Geiger Canning Company, founded in 1893. Pickles and sauerkraut were the company’s main product and it was known locally as “The Pickle Factory.” Tomatoes, peas and corn were later added and the company became of the first producers of creamed corn in the country and provided the largest source of employment in the area in its time. Frozen foods and other problems led to the demise of the company in 1950 and today only the large brick warehouse is left.

Date  2010