Watershed - Root River (SE03)
Root River Watershed

Details

The Root River Watershed is located in portions of Waukesha, Milwaukee, and Racine counties and drains almost two-thirds of the entire Root-Pike River Basin (198 square miles). Nine sub-watersheds contribute flow: the Upper Root, Whitnall Park Creek, East Branch, Lower Root, Middle Root, Root River Canal, West Branch Root River Canal, East Branch Root River Canal, and Hoods Creek. There are a total of 117 miles of rivers and streams in the Root River watershed. The headwaters begin in west central Milwaukee and eastern Waukesha counties. From there, the river flows southeast, picking up contribution from eight sub-watersheds, and ultimately emptying into Lake Michigan in the City of Racine. Each sub-watershed serves a different land use. The Upper Root is heavily urbanized. Whitnall Park Creek and the East Branch drainage areas are changing from mixed residential/agriculture to strictly residential as Milwaukee County is further developed. The Root River Canal system, the Middle Branch of the Root, and Hoods Creek primarily drain agricultural land. The Root River Watershed ranges from heavily urbanized at the headwaters and mouth, to agricultural use in the middle drainage area, and back to urban near the City of Kenosha. All told, agricultural use dominates land usage, at 49 percent, followed by grassland at 16 percent. Urban land uses cover about 14 percent of the land area. The remaining land uses consist of five percent wetland, and five percent barren and shrubland. Twelve named lakes are found in this watershed ranging in size from 20 acres (Quarry Lake) to one acre (Boerner Botanical Garden Pond #2). The majority of lakes within the Watershed are part of the Milwaukee County Park system.

Date  2002

Population, Land Use

Municipalities within the Watershed include: the Cities of Franklin, Greenfield, Milwaukee, Oak Creek, West Allis, Racine, New Berlin, and Muskego; the Towns of Paris Caledonia, Dover, Mt. Pleasant, Raymond, and Yorkville; and the Villages of Greendale, Hales Corners, and Union Grove.

Date  2002

Ecological Landscapes for Root River Watershed

Ecological Landscapes

The Root River watershed is located primarily in the Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Ecological Landscape which is located in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin along Lake Michigan. The landforms in this Ecological Landscape are characteristic of glacial lake influence, with ridge and swale topography, clay bluffs, and lake plain along Lake Michigan. Further inland, ground moraine is the dominant landform. Soils typically have a silt-loam surface overlying loamy and clayey tills. The historic vegetation in the northern part of this Ecological Landscape was dominated by sugar maple-basswood-beech forests with some oak while the southern part was dominated by oak forest, oak savanna and prairies. Wet, wet-mesic, and lake plain prairies were common in this area. Black ash and relict cedar and tamarack swamps were found in this Ecological Landscape. Today, most of the area is dominated by dairy and cash grain agriculture and intense urban development. Only about 8% of the Ecological Landscape is forested. Maple-beech forests are about half of the remaining forest types with the remainder split equally between oak-hickory and lowland hardwood forest types. There are some areas of wet-mesic and wet prairie but only small preserves remain since the landscape is heavily disturbed and fragmented. Because of this isolation, fragmentation, and high level of disturbance, non-native plants are abundant.

Date  2010

Fisheries

The fish species found in the Root River Watershed reflect the range of water quality found amongst the different watersheds. At the mouth of the Root River upstream to the Horlick Dam, seasonal runs of stocked Chinook salmon, coho salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout (steelhead) present a challenging fishery. Other sport fish are caught upstream, including northern pike and largemouth bass. The forage fish population is equally diverse, and includes the common shiner, blackside darter, bluntnose minnow, black bullhead, brook stickleback, and johnny darter. And as may be expected, pollution tolerant fish species like the common carp, fathead minnow, central mudminnow, creek chub, white sucker, and green sunfish are also present in the Root River Watershed.

Date  2002

Root River Watershed At-a-Glance

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

The water quality of the 117 miles of rivers and streams in the Root River Watershed ranges from severely degraded to good. Fifty-nine miles of perennial streams (50%) are currently supporting a Warm Water Sport Fish community. Eighteen miles (15%) support a WarmWater Forage Fish community. Eighteen miles (15%) of streams in the basin support a Limited Forage Fish community. One four mile stretch of stream, the East Branch, is considered Limited Aquatic Life (due for a classification revision). Twenty-eight miles of streams in the Root River Watershed are listed on the state’s impaired waters (303(d)) list. These streams include the Root River from the Racine Harbor, upstream to Horlick Dam, the West Branch of the Root River Canal, the Root River Canal, and 12 miles of the Root River mainstem.

Date  2002

Watershed Trout Streams
Watershed Outstanding & Exceptional Resources

Lakes and Impoundments

Impaired Waters

List of Impaired Waters
Watershed Documents
Watershed Grants
Grant Details
Aquatic Invasives Early Detection and Response
Date
5/1/2010
Waters Involved
Hoods Creek
Status
Complete

City Of Racine: City Of Racine- Hairy Willow Control: The City of Racine will contract to remove a well established Hairy Willow Herb population in Carre-Hogle Memorial Park. The project is located in a highly disturbed shoreland wetland. The project involves cutting the Hairy Willow Herb and spraying the cut stems with glyphosate. The contractor will also search for Hairy Willow Herb in the adjacent city parks (Meyer and Simonson). The project deliverables will be a report that summarizes and evaluates the treatment along with photos of the site after treatment. The report will also relay the results of searching for Hairy Willow Herb in Meyer and Simmons parks.


Grant Details
Aquatic Invasives Early Detection and Response
Date
5/1/2010
Waters Involved
Lake Michigan
Status
Complete

City Of Racine: City Of Racine- Hairy Willow Control: The City of Racine will contract to remove a well established Hairy Willow Herb population in Carre-Hogle Memorial Park. The project is located in a highly disturbed shoreland wetland. The project involves cutting the Hairy Willow Herb and spraying the cut stems with glyphosate. The contractor will also search for Hairy Willow Herb in the adjacent city parks (Meyer and Simonson). The project deliverables will be a report that summarizes and evaluates the treatment along with photos of the site after treatment. The report will also relay the results of searching for Hairy Willow Herb in Meyer and Simmons parks.


Grant Details
Aquatic Invasives Early Detection and Response
Date
5/1/2010
Waters Involved
North Branch Pike River
Status
Complete

City Of Racine: City Of Racine- Hairy Willow Control: The City of Racine will contract to remove a well established Hairy Willow Herb population in Carre-Hogle Memorial Park. The project is located in a highly disturbed shoreland wetland. The project involves cutting the Hairy Willow Herb and spraying the cut stems with glyphosate. The contractor will also search for Hairy Willow Herb in the adjacent city parks (Meyer and Simonson). The project deliverables will be a report that summarizes and evaluates the treatment along with photos of the site after treatment. The report will also relay the results of searching for Hairy Willow Herb in Meyer and Simmons parks.


Grant Details
Aquatic Invasives Early Detection and Response
Date
5/1/2010
Waters Involved
Root River
Status
Complete

City Of Racine: City Of Racine- Hairy Willow Control: The City of Racine will contract to remove a well established Hairy Willow Herb population in Carre-Hogle Memorial Park. The project is located in a highly disturbed shoreland wetland. The project involves cutting the Hairy Willow Herb and spraying the cut stems with glyphosate. The contractor will also search for Hairy Willow Herb in the adjacent city parks (Meyer and Simonson). The project deliverables will be a report that summarizes and evaluates the treatment along with photos of the site after treatment. The report will also relay the results of searching for Hairy Willow Herb in Meyer and Simmons parks.


Grant Details
Aquatic Invasives Early Detection and Response
Date
5/1/2010
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

City Of Racine: City Of Racine- Hairy Willow Control: The City of Racine will contract to remove a well established Hairy Willow Herb population in Carre-Hogle Memorial Park. The project is located in a highly disturbed shoreland wetland. The project involves cutting the Hairy Willow Herb and spraying the cut stems with glyphosate. The contractor will also search for Hairy Willow Herb in the adjacent city parks (Meyer and Simonson). The project deliverables will be a report that summarizes and evaluates the treatment along with photos of the site after treatment. The report will also relay the results of searching for Hairy Willow Herb in Meyer and Simmons parks.


Grant Details
Lake Protection Grant
Date
9/1/2000
Waters Involved
Upper Kelly Lake
Status
Complete

Kelly Lakes Association: Acq-Kelly Lakes Corridor Land Acq.: The Kelly Lakes Association will acquire seven properties, approximately nine acres located on Upper Kelly Lake.
Time extention given in 03/2003. This was the actual first extention given by the region due to wrong date put on the grant agreement when sent out in the beginning. Sheila Henneger had them sign the grant agreement and then processed an extention right away to correct the grant ending date.


Grant Details
Lake Protection Grant
Date
9/1/2004
Waters Involved
Upper Kelly Lake
Status
Complete

Kelly Lakes Association: Res-Upper Kelly Lake Wetland Restoration: The Kelly Lakes Association will undertake a wetland restoration and stream relocation project on property owned by the KLA in the City of New Berlin, WI. Eligible costs include 1) volunteer labor; 2) plants; 3) coconut fiber bioengineering materials; 4) rip rap in the stream channel where approved by permit; 5) contractor construction costs (labor, equipment use at DOT approved rate, erosion control materials and disposal fees); 6) consultant costs for preparation of permit materials from September 1, 2003 through the grant period; 7) consultant costs for construction oversight; and 8) printing and mailing costs. The project deliverable will be a completed project per DNR approved plans. Department staff will tour the project upon completion with the KLA. The site must have stabilized vegetation before the project can be closed out and before final reimbursement takes place.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
12/27/1994
Waters Involved
Lower Kelly Lake
Status
Complete

Kelly Lakes Association: Upper And Lower Kelly Lakes: Establish continuing support through public involvement and education. Assess current water quality status and establish and implement trend monitoring strategy. Characterize sensitive aquatic plant areas. Determine the presence of exotic species.Estimate impacts of residential development on lake water quality. The grantee will disseminate information to the public by newsletter, public meetings and local newspaper articles. Project results will be reposited at DNR Southern District Office,New Berlin Town Hall, Hales Corners Town Hall and New Berlin City Hall.


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

Kelly Lakes Association: Upper & Lower Kelly Lakes Water Quality And Management Study: Kelly Lakes Association proposes to conduct the following lake management activities on Upper and Lower Kelly Lakes: 1) Review and analysis of available data on water quality and pollution loading data including phase 1 planning study. 2) Determine in-lake water quality currently and potential future water quality and pollution loadings of Kelly LAkes under 1995, 2010, and buildout land use conditions. In-lake water quality sampling will include 2 sample from each lake the summer of '97. These samples will be analyzed for total phosphorus and chorophyll-a concentrations. 3) To reduce stormwater runoff impacts to the lakes a retention basis has been proposed, this phase of the planning grant will determine it's optimal size, elevation and possible alternate sites. 4) Site specific studies for the retention basin including site surveys, soil studies and preliminary engineering design concepts. 5) Aquatic plant study that would include an aquatic plant inventory and management plan for the Kelly Lakes. 6) Public Information strategies of these plans will be passed to the residents at their regular meetings and copies of the final reports will be available at various governmental offices and public repositories.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/1/2002
Waters Involved
Upper Kelly Lake
Status
Complete

Kelly Lakes Association: Kelly Lakes Wetland & Apm Plan: This grant will update their aquatic plant management plan. An updated APM plan is needed to decide on whether harvesting or chemical treatment should be used in the future. This grant will also cover the costs for completing a detailed topographic survey of the parcel they plan to restore and the immediate tributary flowing into the parcel and adjacent upland areas. This will help them complete the design specifications for the wetland restoration.


Grant Details
Date
7/1/2002
Waters Involved
Upper Kelly Lake
Status
Complete

Kelly Lakes Association: Lmi-Kelly Lakes Inlet Wetland Restoration: Phase 1 of the proposed project will be comprised of site preparation activities, and enhancement of the shoreland wetlands bordering the unnamed tributary to Upper Kelly Lake. During this phase, nonnative and invasive species will be cleared from the site. Large debris will be cleared and disposed of as appropriate. Materials requiring special disposal, such as concrete rubble, are proposed to be removed from the site by the City of New Berlin or other contractor and transported to an appropriate disposal site.

The DNR will be provided with both a paper copy and an electronic copy of the final report. Information will be disseminated to the public as described in the grant application.


Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Urban Construction
Date
11/1/2001
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Town Of Yorkville: Ives Grove Drainage Basin: TRM grant cost-sharing for construction of the Ives Grove Drainage Basin


Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Urban Construction
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Town Of Yorkville: 65th Drive Streambed Stabilization: to cost-share at 70% stabilization of 65th Drive streambed


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2003
Waters Involved
Legend Creek
Status
Complete

City Of Franklin: Swp-1 Detention Pond: to c-s @50% construction & design of pond SWP-1


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2008
Waters Involved
Root River
Status
Complete

City Of Racine: Colonial Park Root River Stabilization: To cost-share installation of streambank restoration and stabilization practices on the Root River between Colonial Park & Lincoln Park.


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2012
Waters Involved
Root River
Status
Complete

City Of Racine: Johnson Park Streambank Stabilization: Cost-share streambank protection and sediment reduction practices within the segment of the Root River within Lincoln Park adjacent to the Spring Street bridge and assist the City in meeting the requirements of its Municipal Stormwater Permit and remedy discharges of sediment and total suspended solids entering waters of the state.


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
10/1/2001
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District: Nw Branch Whitnall Park Creek Detention Pond: to c-s @50% property acquisition & construction of detention pond alongside northwest branch of Whitnall Park creek.


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2002
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

City Of Muskego: Tess Corners Stormwater Pond: to costshare at 50% land acquisition, design & construction of Tess Corners Pond, in combination with New Berlin


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2003
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Mt. Pleasant Storm Water Utility District: Indian Hills Retention Ponds: to c-s @50% design & construction of Indian Hills pond projects.


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

City Of New Berlin: New Berlin Hills Golf Course: to costshare at 50% shoreline restoration/stabilization practices along Root River tributary through New Berlin Hills Golf Course


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

City Of New Berlin: Root River Streambank Stabilization: to cost-share at 40% design & construction of streambank restoration practices along Root River tributary


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Milwaukee County Dpw - 2nd Floor: North Channel Wehr Nature Center: to c-s at 50% shoreline rehab practices on Wehr Channell north


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Milwaukee County Dpw - 2nd Floor: Wehr Nature Center Drainage Channel - South: to costshare @ 50% drainage channel reconstruction


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
10/1/2005
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Town Of Caledonia: Sw Pond Retrofits: To cost-share retrofit of three (3) drainage basins with mechanical & biological practices to remove sediment, nutrients and heavy metals prior to entry into Hoods Creek and the Root River.


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Planning
Date
1/1/2003
Waters Involved
Legend Creek
Status
Complete

Milwaukee County Dpw: Streambank Inventory: to c-s @70% analysis of streambank erosion stabilization needs & priorities w/in co


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Planning
Date
1/1/2002
Waters Involved
Root River
Status
Complete

City Of Racine: Stormceptor Design Study: To cost-share study of stormceptor design


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Planning
Date
1/1/2003
Waters Involved
Root River
Status
Complete

City Of Racine: Stormwater Utility District: to c-s @70% development of stormwater utility district.


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Planning
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Root River
Status
Complete

City Of Racine: Root River Outfall Assessment: to cost-share @70% development of an analysis & remediation plan for stormwater outfall erosion along the Root River


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Planning
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Root River
Status
Complete

Town Of Caledonia: Stormwater Management Plan: to cost-share @70% development of stormwater plan


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Planning
Date
10/1/2005
Waters Involved
Root River
Status
Complete

Town Of Caledonia: Public Information & Education Program: To cost-share development and implementation of a public education and public participation program.


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Planning
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Village Of Hales Corners: Utility Feasibility Study: to costshare at 70% development of stormwater utility district


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Planning
Date
10/1/2005
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Town Of Caledonia: Public Information & Education Program: To cost-share development and implementation of a public education and public participation program.


Grant Details
River Planning Grant
Date
7/1/2002
Waters Involved
Root River
Status
Complete

Ywca Of Racine: Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network: The planning grant is to increase organizational capacity and improve their products and services. The mission is to protect, restore, and sustain the ecosystem in the watershed through funding and facilitation of a regional network of locally initiated projects. The river grant money will be used to market and develop long-term financial independence. Futrue funds will be used to supply grant money to other organizations for watershed improvements projects.

The DNR will be provided with both a paper copy and an electronic copy of the final report. Information will be disseminated to the public as described in the grant application.


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
Root River Watershed
Watershed Recommendations
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Citizen Stream Monitoring
Date
Status
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
1/1/2012
In Progress
Projects
 
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Citizen Stream Monitoring
Date
Status
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
1/1/2012
In Progress
Projects
 
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Citizen Stream Monitoring
Date
Status
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
1/1/2012
In Progress
Projects
 
Hire County Aquatic Invasives Coordinator
 
Date
Status
Hire Aquatic Invasives (AIS) County Coordinator - Milwaukee
1/1/2011
Not Proposed
Projects
 
Hire County Aquatic Invasives Coordinator
 
Date
Status
Hire Aquatic Invasives (AIS) County Coordinator - Racine
1/1/2011
Not Proposed
Projects
 
Hire County Aquatic Invasives Coordinator
 
Date
Status
Hire Aquatic Invasives (AIS) County Coordinator - Waukesha
1/1/2011
Not Proposed
Projects
 
Hire County Aquatic Invasives Coordinator
 
Date
Status
Hire Aquatic Invasives (AIS) County Coordinator - Kenosha
1/1/2011
Not Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Aquatic Biology
Monitor biology on WBIC: 5550
Date
Status
Conduct biological (mIBI or fIBI) monitoring on Legend Creek, WBIC: 5550, AU:3999666
5/21/2016
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Aquatic Biology
Monitor biology on WBIC: 5038857
Date
Status
Conduct biological (mIBI or fIBI) monitoring on Unnamed, WBIC: 5038857, AU:3993608
5/21/2016
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Aquatic Biology
Monitor biology on WBIC: 3600
Date
Status
Conduct biological (mIBI or fIBI) monitoring on Unnamed, WBIC: 3600, AU:3993581
5/21/2016
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Targeted Area
 
Date
Status
Proposed monitoring Root River Canal for 303d confirmation.
7/1/2008
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Unnamed TP
Date
Status
Recommend listing, and continued monitoring. AU: 5719859; Station ID: 10035053
5/1/2108
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Unnamed (Kilbournville) Tributary TP
Date
Status
TP may exceed; further monitoring recommended. AU: 3993581; ID: 523108
5/1/2018
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Kilbournville Trib TP
Date
Status
Category 2. 2018 TP Results: May Exceed. Station: 523108. AU: 3993581.
1/1/2018
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Root River Temperature
Date
Status
Mouth to Horlick Dam (AU 10533). 2016 assessment indicated a possible impairment but station was not representative.
5/1/2016
Proposed
Projects
 
Root River WatershedWatershed History Note

The Root River watershed is located within Waukesha, Milwaukee, and Racine counties and includes communities such as Franklin, Oak Creek, West Allis, and Greendale. Greendale had its beginnings in 1936, following the Great Depression, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture began construction of three new communities known as the Greenbelt towns . The greenbelt towns not only provided work and affordable housing, but also served as a laboratory for experiments in innovative urban planning. Greendale's plan was designed between 1936 and 1937 by a staff headed by Joseph Crane, Elbert Peets, Harry Bentley, and Walter C. Thomas on a site that had formerly consisted of 3,400 acres of farmland. The first courageous families moved in on April 30, 1938. The original downtown included a Village Hall, several businesses, and 572 living units in 366 buildings, each with an average of 5,000 square feet of space for lawns and gardens. All of the property was owned by the government and then rented to families, based on income, housing need and family size. In 1949 the Public Housing Administration gave Greendale residents the right to purchase their homes from the government. The transfer of ownership from the government to the people was largely complete by 1952.

Date  2011