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Agricultural nonpoint source pollution
Learn more about agricultural nonpoint source pollution.
Urban nonpoint source pollution
Learn more about urban nonpoint source pollution.
What you can do
Learn more about controlling nonpoint source pollution in your area.
TMDL implementation
Learn more about what the DNR is doing to control nonpoint source pollution.
Contact information
For more information on nine key element plans, contact:
Andrew Craig
Nonpoint source planning coordinator
Runoff Management, Bureau of Watershed Management

Nine key element watershed plans
Implementing plans on a watershed basis to restore and protect Wisconsin’s waters



Watershed plans consistent with EPA's nine key elements provide a framework for improving water quality in a holistic manner within a geographic watershed. The nine elements help assess the contributing causes and sources of nonpoint source pollution, involve key stakeholders and prioritize restoration and protection strategies to address water quality problems.

Summary of the nine minimum elements
  • Identify the causes and sources
  • Estimate pollutant loading into the watershed and the expected load reductions
  • Describe management measures that will achieve load reductions and targeted critical areas
  • Estimate the amounts of technical and financial assistance and the relevant authorities needed to implement the plan
  • Develop an information/education component
  • Develop a project schedule
  • Develop the interim, measurable milestones
  • Identify indicators to measure progress and make adjustments
  • Develop a monitoring component

Understanding the nine key elements

Development of watershed–based plans funded with Section 319 funds must be consistent with EPA's nine elements [PDF]. The elements can be used in watersheds with impaired waters or used to protect watersheds not yet impaired.

The first three elements characterize and set goals to address pollution sources. The remaining six elements determine specific resources and criteria to implement and evaluate the plan.

The nine elements can provide a structure to develop:


Nine key element plan areas

The watersheds shown on the map below have DNR and EPA-approved “Nine Key Element” watershed plans.

Nine key element watershed plan areas map

View a higher-resolution version of this map [PDF]


Nine key element watershed plan areas

Active priority watershed/lake plan areas
Red highlight = Plans expiring soon!

Map code River/lake watershed name Watershed code Hydrologic unit code (HUC) Plan expiration date
B Beaver Dam River [PDF] UR03 0709000109 2019
C Big Wood Lake [PDF] SC11 0703000501 2019
D Branch River [PDF] MA03 0403010105 2017
E Camp & Center Lakes [PDF] part of FX02 071200061005 2017
F Dell Creek [PDF] LW26 0707000319 2019
G Duck/Apple/Ashwaubenon Creeks [PDF] LF02 0403020404 & 0403020401 2019
I Fond du Lac River [PDF] UF03 0403020301 & 0403020302 2019
K Horse Creek [PDF] part of SC04 070300050804 2019
L Kinnickinnic River (St. Croix Basin) [PDF] SC01 0703000511 2019
M Lake Mendota [PDF] LR09 0709000205 2018
Q Lower Little Wolf River [PDF] WR06 0403020217 2018
R Lower Rib River [PDF] CW23 0707000210 2019
S Middle Peshtigo/Thunder Rivers [PDF] GB10 0403010504 2019
U Osceola Creek [PDF] part of SC08 070300050902 2017
V Pensaukee River [PDF] GB02 0403010301 2018
W Pigeon River [PDF] SH06 0403010108 2019
X Pine & Willow Rivers [PDF] WR02 0403020220 2019
Y Red River/Sturgeon Bay [PDF] TK07 0403010204 2018
Z Soft Maple/Hay Creeks [PDF] UC17 0705000107 2017
BB Springbrook Creek [PDF] CW21 0707000211 2018
CC St. Croix County Lakes Cluster [PDF] parts of SC01, SC02, SC08 070300050808, 070300050908, 070300051008, 070300051002 2018
DD Sugar/Honey Creeks [PDF] FX05 0712000604 & 0712000605 2018
EE Tomorrow/Waupaca River [PDF] WR05 0403020218 2017
GG Upper St. Croix/Eau Claire Rivers [PDF] SC18 0703000101 2018

Other active 9 key element watershed plan areas

Map code River/lake watershed name Watershed code Hydrologic unit code (HUC) Plan expiration date
JJ Marengo River [PDF] LS12 0401030204 2023
KK Pike River [PDF] SE01 & SE02 0404000204 2038
LL Plum & Kankapot Creeks [PDF] LF03 0403020402 2025
MM St. Croix River Basin [PDF] SC01-SC22 07030001 07030002 07030005 2025
NN Root River [exit DNR] SE03 0404000202 0404000203 2024
OO Red Cedar Basin [PDF] LC04-LC11 07050007 2026
PP Upper East River [PDF] LF01 040302040301 2026
QQ Upper Duck Creek [PDF] LF05 040302040102 2026
RR Fenwood Creek [PDF] CW-17 070700021602 2026
SS Jackson Creek [exit DNR] LR-01 070900021401 2026
TT Eau Claire River [exit DNR] LC 14-17 & LC25 07050006 2027
UU Apple Creek [PDF] LF-02 040302040402 2027
VV Lower Peshtigo River [PDF] part of GB-07 0403010506 2027
WW Wind Point [exit DNR] SE-04 040400020101 2027
XX Bear Lake-Little Wolf River [PDF] Part of WR-06 040302021704 2028

Expired nine key element watershed plan areas

Expired priority watershed/lake plan areas

Map code River/lake watershed name Watershed code Hydrologic unit code (HUC) Plan expiration date
A Arrowhead & Rat Rivers & Daggets Creek [PDF] WR01 0403020221 2013
B Bass Lake [PDF] GB08 040301050504 2004
C Beaver Creek [PDF] BR02 0704000711 2005
D Big Green Lake [PDF] UF07 0403020109 2002
E Black Earth Creek [PDF] LW17 0707000505 2009
F Cedar Creek [PDF] MI04 0404000303 2014
G Crossman Creek/Little Baraboo River [PDF] LW23 0707000402 2004
H Dunlap Creek [PDF] LW18 070700050303 2014
I East & West Branch Milwaukee River [PDF] MI06 0404000302 2011
J East River [PDF] LF01 0403020403 2012
K Elk Creek [PDF] BT03 0704000503 1998
L Galena River [PDF] GP01 Parts of 0706000502 & 070600503 & 0706000505 2000
M Hay River [PDF] LC05 0705000706 2006
N Kewaunee River [PDF] TK03 0403010203 2001
O Kinnickinnic River (Milwaukee basin) [PDF] MI01 0404000305 2004
P Lake Tomah [PDF] LW29 070700031501 2012
Q Lake Winnebago East [PDF] UF02 0403020303 2014
R Little River [PDF] GB04 0403010404 2001
S Lower Big Eau Pleine River [PDF] CW17 0707000216 2012
T Lower Black River [PDF] BR01 Parts of 0704000601 & 0704000712 2003
U Lower East Branch Pecatonica River [PDF] SP03 0709000308 2013
V Lower Eau Claire River [PDF] LC14 0705000605 2003
W Lower Grant River [PDF] GP04 0706000303 2012
X Lower Manitowoc River [PDF] MA02 0403010106 1997
Y Lowes Creek [PDF] LC24 0705000507 2010
Z Menomonee River [PDF] MI03 0404000304 2010
AA Middle Kickapoo River [PDF] LW05 0707000603 2014
BB Middle Trempealeau River [PDF] BT02 0704000504 2014
CC Milwaukee River South [PDF] MI02 0404000306 2013
DD Minocqua Lake [PDF] UW38 070700010803 2003
EE Narrows Creek - Baraboo River [PDF] LW22 0707000403 2014
FF North Branch Milwaukee River [PDF] MI05 0404000301 2011
GG Oconomowoc River [PDF] UR09 0709000105 2004
HH Onion River [PDF] LS07 0403010110 2001
II Rock Lake [PDF] UR02 071200061005 2014
JJ Root River [PDF] SE03 0404000203 2000
KK Seven-Mile/Silver Creeks [PDF] MA01 0403010107 2005
LL Sheboygan River [PDF] SH03 0403010111 2013
MM Six-Mile Pheasant Branch Creek [PDF] LR10 0709000206 2000
NN Spring Creek [PDF] LR07 070900020803 2014
OO Turtle Creek [PDF] LR01 0709000214 2002
PP Upper Big Eau Pleine River [PDF] CW18 0707000215 2005
QQ Upper Door Peninsula [PDF] TK06 0403010201 2005
RR Upper West Branch Pecatonica River [PDF] SP10 0709000302 1995
SS Upper Willow River [PDF] SC03 0703000510 2000
TT Upper Yellow River [PDF] CW05 0707000311 2014
UU Waumandee Creek [PDF] BT06 0704000304 & 0704000306 2011
VV Yahara River - Lake Monona [PDF] LR08 0709000207 2009
Duncan Creek [PDF] LC18 0705000504 2015
Hillsboro [PDF] part of LW24 070700040104 & 070700040105 2015
Little Muskego, Big Muskego, Wind Lakes [PDF] FX04 0712000603 2015
Neenah Creek [PDF] UF14 0403020102 2015
South Fork Hay River [PDF] LC06 0705000705 2015
Upper Fox River (IL) [PDF] FX07 0712000601 2015
A Balsam Branch [PDF] SC05 0703000508 2016
N Lake Noquebay [PDF] GB09 0403010503 2016
O Lake Ripley [PDF] part of LR11 070900020404 2016
HH Upper Trempealeau River [PDF] BT05 0704000502 2016
II Whittlesey Creek [PDF] part of LS07 010403011008 2016
Last revised: Monday April 16 2018