Rare animals
Find rare and non-game animals.
Rare plants
Learn about plants on the Natural Heritage Working List.
Rare lichens
Discover Wisconsin's lichens.
Natural communities
Explore Wisconsin's natural communities.
Other features
Discover unique resources.
Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's natural communities, contact:
Ryan O'Connor
Natural Heritage Inventory Ecologist

Warmwater streams


General natural community overview

Warmwater streams are flowing waters with maximum water temperatures typically greater than 25 degrees Celsius. They usually have watershed areas less than 500 square miles and mean annual flow rates of less than 200 cubic feet per second. These streams are common statewide, particularly in southeastern and east-central Wisconsin. A rich fish fauna, dominated by warmwater species in the Cyprinidae, Catostomidae, Centrarchidae, and Percidae families can be found in warmwater streams.

Streams modified by dams, agricultural drainage, or increased flows due to changes in land cover have lost varying degrees of their pre-development biological productivity and diversity. Improvement work has focused on three main objectives, reducing bank erosion and in-stream sedimentation, restoring a more natural channel morphology and alignment, and increasing in-stream cover.

Rare animals

Species of Greatest Conservation Need

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

The following Species of Greatest Conservation Need are listed according to their level of association with the natural community type, based on the findings in Wisconsin's 2015 Wildlife Action Plan.

Scores: 3 = high association, 2 = moderate association, and 1 = low association. See the key to association scores for complete definitions.

Blanchard's Cricket FrogAcris blanchardi3
Mink FrogLithobates septentrionalis3
Pickerel FrogLithobates palustris2

A Hydroporus Diving BeetleHeterosternuta wickhami2
A Hydroporus Diving BeetleHeterosternuta pulchra2
A Predaceous Diving BeetleLioporeus triangularis2
A Predaceous Diving BeetleIlybius confusus2
A Riffle BeetleStenelmis sexlineata2
Robust Dubiraphian Riffle BeetleDubiraphia robusta2

American Black DuckAnas rubripes1
Black-crowned Night-HeronNycticorax nycticorax1
Common NighthawkChordeiles minor1
Yellow-crowned Night-HeronNyctanassa violacea1

Dragonflies and damselfliesScore
Double-striped BluetEnallagma basidens3
Plains EmeraldSomatochlora ensigera3
Sioux (Sand) SnaketailOphiogomphus smithi3
Swamp DarnerEpiaeschna heros3
Extra-striped SnaketailOphiogomphus anomalus2
Pronghorn ClubtailGomphus graslinellus2
Royal River CruiserMacromia taeniolata2
Smoky RubyspotHetaerina titia2
Springwater DancerArgia plana2
Slaty SkimmerLibellula incesta1
Sphagnum SpriteNehalennia gracilis1

Gilt DarterPercina evides3
Gravel ChubErimystax x-punctatus3
Least DarterEtheostoma microperca3
Longear SunfishLepomis megalotis3
Ozark MinnowNotropis nubilus3
Slender MadtomNoturus exilis3
Starhead TopminnowFundulus dispar3
Striped ShinerLuxilus chrysocephalus3
Lake ChubsuckerErimyzon sucetta2
Pugnose ShinerNotropis anogenus2
Redfin ShinerLythrurus umbratilis2
Mud DarterEtheostoma asprigene1

Big Brown BatEptesicus fuscus3
Eastern PipistrellePerimyotis subflavus3
Little Brown BatMyotis lucifugus3
Northern Long-eared BatMyotis septentrionalis2
Silver-haired BatLasionycteris noctivagans2
Water ShrewSorex palustris1

A Small Minnow MayflyParacloeodes minutus3
A Brush-legged MayflyHomoeoneuria ammophila2
A Cleft-footed Minnow MayflyMetretopus borealis1
A Flat-headed MayflyMaccaffertium pulchellum1
A Small Minnow MayflyPlauditus cestus1
A Spiny Crawler MayflyDrunella cornuta1
A Spiny Crawler MayflyEurylophella aestiva1

Mussels and clamsScore
BuckhornTritogonia verrucosa3
ElktoeAlasmidonta marginata3
EllipseVenustaconcha ellipsiformis3
FawnsfootTruncilla donaciformis3
MapleleafQuadrula quadrula3
Rainbow ShellVillosa iris3
Salamander MusselSimpsonaias ambigua3
Slippershell MusselAlasmidonta viridis3
SnuffboxEpioblasma triquetra3
ButterflyEllipsaria lineolata2
Elephant EarElliptio crassidens2
MonkeyfaceQuadrula metanevra2
Purple WartybackCyclonaias tuberculata2
SheepnosePlethobasus cyphyus2
SpectaclecaseCumberlandia monodonta2
WartybackQuadrula nodulata2

QueensnakeRegina septemvittata3
Wood TurtleGlyptemys insculpta3
Blanding's TurtleEmydoidea blandingii2
Plains GartersnakeThamnophis radix2

Please see Section 2. Approach and Methods of the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Rare plants

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

Scores: 3 = "significantly associated," 2 = "moderately associated," and 1 = "minimally associated."
Scientific Name Common Name Score
Eleocharis robbinsii Robbins' Spike-rush 2


The following Ecological Landscapes have the best opportunities to manage for , based on the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin Handbook.

Major (3 on map)
A major opportunity for sustaining the natural community in the Ecological Landscape exists, either because many significant occurrences of the natural community have been recorded in the landscape or major restoration activities are likely to be successful maintaining the community's composition, structure, and ecological function over a longer period of time.

Important (2 on map)
Although the natural community does not occur extensively or commonly in the Ecological Landscape, one to several occurrences do occur and are important in sustaining the community in the state. In some cases, important opportunities may exist because the natural community may be restricted to just one or a few Ecological Landscapes within the state and there may be a lack of opportunities elsewhere.

Present (1 on map)
The natural community occurs in the Ecological Landscape, but better management opportunities appear to exist in other parts of the state.


Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

What are conservation actions?

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for natural communities




Rapids on the Jump River, a medium-sized stream with good water quality and a significant aquatic biota that drains a forested watershed.

Photo by W.A. Smith.

Note: photos are provided to illustrate various examples of natural community types. A single photograph cannot represent the range of variability inherent in a given community type. Some of these photos explicitly illustrate unusual and distinctive community variants. The community photo galleries are a work in progress that we will expand and improve in the future.

Last revised: Wednesday, June 16, 2021