Watershed - Wolf Creek (SC09)
Wolf Creek Watershed

Details

The Wolf Creek Watershed lies in west central Polk County and contains a large portion of land adjacent to the St. Croix River that is lacking in any substantial surficial drainage pattern due to the high permeability of the glacial outwash and the drainage to kettle lakes. The watershed is approximately 70,515 acres in size and contains 85 miles of streams and rivers, 1439 acres of lakes and 4,111 acres of wetlands. The watershed is dominated by grasslands (36%), forest (35%) and agriculture (18%) and is ranked low for nonpoint source issues affecting groundwater.

Date  2010

Ecological Landscapes for Wolf Creek Watershed

Ecological Landscapes

The Wolf Creek Watershed lies in two ecological landscapes: the Forest Transition and the Northwest Lowlands. The Forest Transition Ecological Landscape lies along the northern border of Wisconsin's Tension Zone, through the central and western part of the state, and supports both northern forests and agricultural areas. The central portion of the Forest Transition lies primarily on a glacial till plain deposited by glaciation between 25,000 and 790,000 years ago. The eastern and western portions are on moraines of the Wisconsin glaciation. The growing season in this part of the state is long enough that agriculture is viable, although climatic conditions are not as favorable as in southern Wisconsin. Soils are diverse, ranging from sandy loam to loam or shallow silt loam, and from poorly drained to well drained. The historic vegetation of the Forest Transition was primarily northern hardwood forest. These northern hardwoods were dominated by sugar maple and hemlock, and contained some yellow birch, red pine and white pine. Currently, over 60% of this Ecological Landscape is non-forested. Forested areas consist primarily of northern hardwoods and aspen, with smaller amounts of oak and lowland hardwoods. The eastern portion of the Ecological Landscape differs from the rest of the area in that it remains primarily forested, and includes some ecologically significant areas. Throughout the Ecological Landscape, small areas of conifer swamp are found near the headwaters of streams, and associated with lakes in kettle depressions on moraines. Ground flora show characteristics of both northern and southern Wisconsin, as this Ecological Landscape lies along the Tension Zone. The Northwest Lowlands Ecological Landscape forms a triangular wedge in northwestern Wisconsin, bounded on the north by the Superior Coastal Plain and on the south and east by the Northwest Sands. The major landforms are ground and end moraines, with drumlins present in the southwestern portion. Topography is gently undulating. Bedrock outcroppings are rare except in association with the basalt ridge that follows the Douglas County fault line and forms part of the northern boundary of the Northwest Lowlands. Maximum local relief is approximately 350'. Waterfalls, cliffs, exposed bedrock glades, and rock-walled gorges are associated with the bedrock features. Local exposures of sandstones and/or conglomerates occur in some of these gorges. Soils are predominantly loams, with significant acreages of peat deposits in the poorly drained lowlands. Significant portions of this landscape extend westward into the state of Minnesota. The historic upland vegetation of this landscape was almost entirely forest, composed mostly of paper birch, fir, sugar maple, aspen, and white spruce, with some white and red pine on the drier ridges. The lowlands supported extensive wet forests of black spruce and tamarack, and some white cedar and black ash swamps. The notes made by US General Land Office surveyors during the mid-nineteenth century indicate that overall tree densities were high in this Ecological Landscape; also, the witness trees included many large individuals. The landscape at that time was likely a mosaic made up of young, recently disturbed forests interspersed with patches of old-growth. The present-day forests remain extensive and relatively unbroken, occupying about 76% of the landscape. Forests consist of mainly of aspen, paper birch, sugar maple, basswood, spruce, and fir. Minor amounts of white and red pine and red oak are also present. Older successional stages are currently rare. The large undisturbed peatland complexes are composed of mosaics of black spruce-tamarack swamp, muskeg, open bog, poor fen, shrub swamp, and white cedar swamp. Among the important sensitive species occurring here are the timber wolf, moose, gray jay, lesser purple fritillary, subarctic darner, and bog bluegrass. Many birds and invertebrates with generally boreal ranges are found here. Road density is notably low in the western part of the landscape.

Date  2010

Watershed Grants
Grant Details
Lake Protection Grant
Date
9/1/2005
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Star Prairie Land Preservation Trust: Acq-Cedar Lake (Menke) Acquis. Costs: The Trust seeks $11,567 in reimbursement for costs associated with the acquisition (via donation) of 63 acres on Cedar Lake In St. Croix County.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/1/2004
Waters Involved
Saint Croix River
Status
Complete

River Country Rc&D Council, Inc: Green Development Conference: River Country RC&D proposes to conduct a conference entitled "The Nuts and Bolts of Green Development" in conjunction with the St. Croix Basin Partnership Team. Objective of the conference and associated bus tours will be to provide riparian owners, interested citizens, and municipal operators and engineers with information useful to the development of small-scale and community-wide stormwater management practices.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/1/2004
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

River Country Rc&D Council, Inc: Green Development Conference: River Country RC&D proposes to conduct a conference entitled "The Nuts and Bolts of Green Development" in conjunction with the St. Croix Basin Partnership Team. Objective of the conference and associated bus tours will be to provide riparian owners, interested citizens, and municipal operators and engineers with information useful to the development of small-scale and community-wide stormwater management practices.


Grant Details
Small Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/1/2003
Waters Involved
Saint Croix River
Status
Complete

St. Croix County: St. Croix Nutrient River Conference: St. Croix County Land and Water Conservation Department proposes to sponsor a conference in Februrary of 2004 to identify and begin to address factors contributing to the pollution of Lake St. Croix. The goal is to bring together wastewater treatment managers, local officials, water resource professionals, land developers and watershed manager to allow networking and sharing of information associated with nutrient and sediment loading in the lake. The DNR will be provided with both a paper copy and electronic copy of the final report.


Grant Details
Small Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/1/2004
Waters Involved
Saint Croix River
Status
Complete

St. Croix County: St. Croix Basin Conference: St Croix County proposes to sponsor an informational and educational conference relating to the protection and management of Lake St. Croix.


Grant Details
Small Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2006
Waters Involved
Saint Croix River
Status
Complete

St. Croix County: St. Croix Conference '06: St. Croix County proposes to sponsor an informational and educational conference relating to the protection and management of Lake St. Croix. Major project elements to include: 1) conference costs associated with printing mailing, provision of lunch and transportation, 2) staff coordination.


Grant Details
Small Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/1/2003
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

St. Croix County: St. Croix Nutrient River Conference: St. Croix County Land and Water Conservation Department proposes to sponsor a conference in Februrary of 2004 to identify and begin to address factors contributing to the pollution of Lake St. Croix. The goal is to bring together wastewater treatment managers, local officials, water resource professionals, land developers and watershed manager to allow networking and sharing of information associated with nutrient and sediment loading in the lake. The DNR will be provided with both a paper copy and electronic copy of the final report.


Grant Details
Small Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/1/2004
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

St. Croix County: St. Croix Basin Conference: St Croix County proposes to sponsor an informational and educational conference relating to the protection and management of Lake St. Croix.


Grant Details
Small Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2006
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

St. Croix County: St. Croix Conference '06: St. Croix County proposes to sponsor an informational and educational conference relating to the protection and management of Lake St. Croix. Major project elements to include: 1) conference costs associated with printing mailing, provision of lunch and transportation, 2) staff coordination.


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.

Grants and Management Projects
Wolf Creek Watershed
Watershed Recommendations
Monitor Fish Tissue
Confirm FCA: IW pre-2000 data
Date
Status
2601400 name St Croix River TMDL ID 618 Start Mile 44.29 End Mile 54.14
11/21/2011
Proposed
 
Wolf Creek WatershedWatershed History Note

The Wolf Creek Watershed is located in Polk and Burnett counties. The City of St. Croix Falls is the largest community in the watershed. In the late 1700s, the "Battle of St. Croix Falls" drove off the Sioux and Fox tribes and established this as Chippewa territory. This "Place by a Waterfall" as it was called by the Native Americans had long been their gathering place, where traders, trappers, explorers and missionaries came to meet with them. It was the potential power of the falls that drew the first settlers here in 1838 after the Native Americans ceded this land to the U.S. government. The St. Croix Falls Lumber Company established this community to build a sawmill at the falls. Loggers were already cutting down the vast pine forest to the north, and it was predicted that this place would become an industrial center, possibly even the capital city of a new state. But the great expectations of the lumbering enterprise were wiped out by the force of the power it had set out to harness. The high springtime waters that carried the logs from the logging camps repeatedly wiped out the company's dams and mills, and swept the logs downstream to the benefit of down river mills. Spectacular log jams in the narrow rocky dalles below the falls occurred regularly, attracting visitors to watch the frantic, dangerous efforts to loosen the massive jumble. Still, the village prospered as people harnessed the power of the many springs that flowed from the bluffs, and a flour mill, grist mill, woodworking shop, and even a ginseng washing plant flourished. Tote roads to the pineries carried supplies from the town, and men earned good wages as loggers. As the pine forests were depleted, another development, the construction of the hydropower plant in the early 1900s, occupied the people. Again, the prospect of a great industrial center at the falls burned bright, but instead the electricity generated here was carried off to Minneapolis. The falls are still there, hidden under the 60-foot impoundment of the century-old hydropower dam on the St. Croix River.

Date  2011