Watershed - Tyler Forks (LS13)
Tyler Forks Watershed

Details

All the named streams in this watershed support trout populations, primarily brook trout. Most are small and flashy, subject to siltation and beaver activity. The management boundaries of this watershed have been slightly reconfigured since the last plan.

The Bad River reach is no longer treated as part of this watershed and has been included within the boundaries of the Upper and Lower Bad River watersheds. This watershed's management boundaries now only include Tyler Forks and its tributaries. Much of the land is in county ownership and there are no WPDES-permitted discharges in the watershed. We have little data on any of the streams in this watershed.

Date  1999

Ecological Landscapes for Tyler Forks Watershed

Ecological Landscapes

The North Central Forest Ecological Landscape occupies much of the northern third of Wisconsin. Its landforms are characterized by end and ground moraines with some pitted outwash and bedrock controlled areas. Kettle depressions and steep ridges are found in the northern portion. Two prominent areas in this Ecological Landscape are the Penokee-Gogebic Iron Range in the north extending into Michigan, and Timm's Hill, the highest point in Wisconsin (1,951 feet) in the south. Soils consist of sandy loam, sand, and silts. The vegetation is mainly forest, with many wetlands and some agriculture, though the growing season is not as favorable as it is in southern Wisconsin. Lake Superior greatly influences the northern portion of the Ecological Landscape especially during the winter season, producing greater snowfall than in most areas in Wisconsin.

The historic vegetation was primarily hemlock-hardwood forest dominated by hemlock, sugar maple, and yellow birch. There were some smaller areas of white and red pine forest scattered throughout the Ecological Landscape, and individual white pines trees were a component of the hemlock-hardwood forest. Harvesting hemlock to support the tanneries was common at the turn of the century, and the species soon became a minor component of forests due to over-harvesting and lack of regeneration. Currently, forests cover approximately 80% of this Ecological Landscape. The northern hardwood forest is dominant, made up of sugar maple, basswood, and red maple, and also including some scattered hemlock and white pine pockets within stands. The aspen-birch forest type group is also relatively abundant, followed by spruce-fir. A variety of wetland community types also are present, both forested and non-forested.

Date  2010

Wildlife and Habitat

All the named streams in this watershed support trout populations, primarily brook trout. Most are small and flashy, subject to siltation and beaver activity. This management boundaries of this watershed have been slightly reconfigured since the last plan. The Bad River reach is no longer treated as part of this watershed and have been included within the boundaries of the Upper and Lower Bad River watersheds. This watershed's management boundaries now only include Tyler Forks and its tributaries. Much of the land is in county ownership and there are no WPDES-permitted discharges in the watershed. We have little data on any of the streams in this watershed.

WDNR's Natural Heritage Inventory Database indicates that the following water-dependent endangered, threatened or special concern species and/or communities have been sighted in this watershed within the last 20 years. In addition, a coastal wetlands evaluation conducted in 1995 and 1996 identified a number of species and habitats described in a comprehensive report, AWisconsin's Lake Superior Coastal Wetlands Evaluation / Including Other Selected Natural Features of the Lake Superior Basin@ (Epstein 1997). This report is largely excerpted here.

Note: The lack of rare elements listed here does not signify a lack of rare elements in the watershed. They have merely gone unreported in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database.

Date  1999

Wildlife and Habitat

WDNR's Natural Heritage Inventory Database indicates that the following water-dependent endangered, threatened or special concern species and/or communities have been sighted in this watershed within the last 20 years. In addition, a coastal wetlands evaluation conducted in 1995 and 1996 identified a number of species and habitats described in a comprehensive report, Wisconsin's Lake Superior Coastal Wetlands Evaluation / Including Other Selected Natural Features of the Lake Superior Basin (Epstein 1997). Note: The lack of rare elements listed here does not signify a lack of rare elements in the watershed. They have merely gone unreported in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database. BIRDS Golden-Winged Warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera Vogues Road Swamp Nashville Warbler - Vermivora ruficapilla Vogues Road Swamp Veery Catharus fuscescens - Vogues Road Swamp Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher - Empidonax flaviventris Vogues Road Swamp RARE MACROINVERTEBRATES Ephemeroptera; Family Ephemerellida - Drunella cornutella Feldcher Creek Ephemeroptera; Family Heptageniida - Epeorus vitreus Tyler Forks (Ashland County) Odonata; Family Gomphidae - Ophiogomphus carolus Tyler Forks (Ashland, Iron Counties) Odonata; Family Cordulegastridae - Cordulegaster obliqua Scott-Taylor Creek Trichoptera; Family Philopotamidae - Dolophides distinctus Gehrman Creek

Date  1999

Tyler Forks Watershed
Watershed Recommendations
Monitor or Propose 303(d) Listing
Rouse Creek
Date
Status
This water is recommended for listing in the 2016 303(d) listing cycle based on three Poor fIBI results from 2006 to 2008.
7/9/2014
Proposed
 
Tyler Forks WatershedWater Plans and PartnershipsRead the Watershed Plan

The Watershed Plan is in final Draft Form

Date  2016

Watershed History Note

During the last several thousand years, many different Indian tribes lived in this region. The earliest Indians followed the retreating glaciers edge as nomadic hunters, and killed giant mastodons for food. Other ancient Indians, primarily hunters, followed the earliest tribes. Old Copper Culture Indians lived here for many centuries mining pure copper veins for the metal to make hunting weapons and tools.

The most recent Indians in this region were the Sioux and Chippewa. They were here when the French first came to Lake Superior country.

Tyler Forks River is named for John Tyler, a Great Lakes ship captain and surveyor for the Indian Agency at Ashland, Wisconsin.

In the early 1860s and before, exploratory mining for copper ore occurred in the canyon of the Bad River between Copper Falls and Brownstone Falls. Not much is known of this activity other than the shafts shown on early maps, but it is assumed that this search for copper was due to the North's armament needs during the Civil War.

Edward Dolan of Mellen was son of Mrs. Ellen Bacon Dolan, cook for the Ruggles mining crew. They lived at Copper Falls for several years in the early 1900s. On January 16, 1975, at age 76, he gave the following information to Park Manager Kent Goeckermann:

"In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Wells M. Ruggles ran a four- or five- man mining crew in what is now Copper Falls State Park. Mr. Ruggles was an attorney by profession who somehow ended up running a mining camp. The camp consisted of several houses and farm buildings on the Bad River just southwest of the present picnic grounds. John Blix was mine captain and crew boss of the Ruggles men in their search for copper ore.

The Ruggles crew sank a vertical shaft at the site of the present footbridge across the Bad River. They also dug a nearly horizontal shaft into the hillside at the southeast corner of the present picnic grounds. This shaft was known as "the cave."

While working on this shaft, the mining crew became irritated at the rises of the Bad River causing flooding in their diggings. To solve this problem, the Ruggles crew proceeded to divert the Bad River to the north of the hill that you can see at the east end of the present picnic ground. The river formerly curved to the south in the area of the present concession footbridge, then swept east, and then north in a quarter-mile loop back to Copper Falls.

The Ruggles mining venture found little copper, and investors were disappointed."

Date  2012