Impaired Water - Mississippi River (Mississippi (Reach 1) Rush-Vermillion - St. Croix R to Chippewa R(Pools 3- lower Pool 4, Lake Pepin))
Pepin, Pierce County, Wisconsin
LC01, LC02, LC22, LC23, SC01
721000
763.40 - 811.50
48.10
Water is impaired due to one or more pollutants and associated quality impacts.
Notes
This portion of the Mississippi River was evaluated for phosphorus every two years between 2012 and 2020; phosphorus levels were found to be too high. Biological impairment was seen in 2012 but has not been confirmed since. This water has been listed since 1998 for PCBs and PFOS in fish tissue.
Listing Details
Pollutant
Total Phosphorus
Listed For
Fish and Aquatic Life
Impairments
Degraded Biological Community
Current Use
WWSF - Warmwater Sport Fishery
Listing Status
303d Listed
Attainable Use
WWSF - Warmwater Sport Fishery
Priority
Low
Designated Use
WWSF - Warmwater Sport Fishery
303(d) ID
2012-100
Listing Date
4/1/2012
Impaired Water Notes
This water was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new total phosphorus sample data exceed 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, no biological data (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) were available to assess biological impairment.
Date
8/8/2017

Impaired Water Notes
Based on the total phosphorus criteria excursions and the corroborating biological assessment, Degraded Biological Community impairment was added to the existing impaired water listing in 2012.
Date
9/9/2011

Impaired Water Notes
This water was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, no biological data (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) were available to assess biological impairment.
Date
10/7/2015

Impaired Water Notes
This water was assessed during the 2020 listing cycle; new total phosphorus sample data exceed 2020 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, no biological data (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) were available to assess biological impairment.
Date
8/8/2019

 
Pollutant
Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
Listed For
Fish and Aquatic Life
Impairments
Degraded Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV)
Current Use
WWSF - Warmwater Sport Fishery
Listing Status
303d Listed
Attainable Use
WWSF - Warmwater Sport Fishery
Priority
Low
Designated Use
WWSF - Warmwater Sport Fishery
303(d) ID
296
Listing Date
4/1/2008
Impaired Water Notes
303d List Proposal River Mile 811 to 781:
1) A large portion of this reach (St. Croix River to upper Lake Pepin) has been identified by Minnesota to be impaired by turbidity due to the exceedance of their water quality standard. Since Wisconsin shares its Clean Water Act responsibilities on the Mississippi River with Minnesota, we should recognize Minnesota’s turbidity criterion (25 ntu) and impaired waters listing for the Mississippi River waters by including sediment-related impairments in Wisconsin’s 303(d) listing for the river.

2) In 2003, the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee recommended light penetration-related water quality criteria to protect and sustain submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) in the UMR. Specific summer average (May 15 to Sept. 15) criteria for TSS (25 mg/L), turbidity (20 ntu) and Secchi depth transparency (0.5m) were recommended. This documented is available from the UMRCC Web site (http://www.mississippi-river.com/umrcc/).

3) Water quality assessments and evaluations of monitoring data from MPCA, USGS, Metropolitan Council of Environmental Services and WDNR indicate these criteria are not being achieved in the reach extending from the St. Croix River to upper Lake Pepin.

4) Submersed aquatic vegetation monitoring conducted by MDNR as part of the USGS Long Term Resource Monitoring Program (LTRMP) has indicated low frequency of occurrence and declining SAV levels in upper Pool 4 (above Lake Pepin) over the last 10 years. This monitoring program has also revealed a notable increase in SAV species richness from upper to lower Lake Pepin (Yao Yin, USGS personal communication), which is believed to be closely linked to greater water clarity in lower Lake Pepin. Cursory evaluations of SAV in Pool 3 (Prescott, WI to Lock and Dam 3) by the WDNR Mississippi River Team indicate that this vegetation is rare or absent in main channel border, side channels or backwater areas (lower Sturgeon Lake). It is interesting to note that moderate beds of SAV are present in Pool 3 in the main channel border at Prescott, Wisconsin in areas that are influenced by the St. Croix River, which has low TSS concentrations.

5) Studies conducted by the University of Minnesota have indicated sedimentation rates in Lake Pepin are approximately 10-fold greater than levels experienced prior to European settlement (Engstrom and Almendinger, 2000). At current sedimentation rates the upper one-third of Lake Pepin is projected to be lost within 100 years. Lake Pepin is the only natural riverine lake in the UMR and its accelerated in-filling represents an important loss of a unique aquatic resource that has persisted since the last glaciation. Lake Pepin offers an important role in trapping sediments, including contaminant-bound particulate matter originating from upstream urban and agricultural areas that would otherwise negatively influence the river ecosystem downstream. The 261 mile long UMR National Wildlife Refuge begins immediately below Lake Pepin and represents the longest river refuge in the Lower 48 States and offers a critical migratory corridor for fish and wildlife (http://www.fws.gov/midwest/UpperMississippiRiver/).

Date
4/1/2008

Impaired Water Notes
Mississippi River UMRBA WQ Assessment Reach - Rush-Vermillion (HUC 0704001) Waterbody ID Code (WBIC): 721000 County: Pierce and potentially other “inland” counties with drainage to the Mississippi River. Note: Minnesota counties not included but are a major contributor to the impairment problem described below.

Impaired Stream Reach (location and mileage): St. Croix River mouth to Upper Lake Pepin River Mile 811.5 to 781.0 Type of impairment-Exceedance of Wisconsin’s narrative water quality standards NR 102.04.The reach also exceeds Minnesota turbidity water quality standard for aquatic life (25 ntu).The reach is included on Minnesota’s Impaired Waters Listing for turbidity & nutrients.

High concentrations of TSS are negatively impacting submersed aquatic vegetation and are contributing to excessive sedimentation of Lake Pepin. Cause of impairment -High total suspended solid concentrations and turbidity levels. Source of impairment -More than 80% of the suspended sediment load is believed to originate from non-point source loading from the Minnesota River watershed. Water quality monitoring has been conducted within the impaired reach by the Metropolitan Council of Environmental Services, USGS Long Term Resource Monitoring Program (LTRMP), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Wisconsin DNR. A summary of long term water quality monitoring in this reach has been completed by Meyer and Schellhaass (2000), UMRCC (2002), and Houser (2005). Stratified random sampling of water quality, fish, vegetation and invertebrates has been conducted quarterly for about 10 years in Lake Pepin and upper Pool 4 as part of the LTMRP. In addition substantial water quality monitoring and assessment work has been completed as part of the River Phosphorus Studies as led by the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services. References and links to these and other reports are provided below. References: see word document Reviewer’s Name: John Sullivan, WDNR-La Crosse Date Reviewed: Data was reviewed over a long period of time. Report completed January 3, 2006
Date
1/1/2006

 
Pollutant
PFOS
Listed For
Fish Consumption
Impairments
PFOS Contaminated Fish Tissue
Current Use
Specific Restricted Fish Consumption
Listing Status
303d Listed
Attainable Use
Unrestricted Fish Consumption
Priority
Low
Designated Use
Unrestricted Fish Consumption
303(d) ID
296
Listing Date
4/1/2008
Impaired Water Notes
New fish tissue data: Fish advisory for PFOs in fish tissue. Perfluorooctane sulfonate in Pool 3 - Mile 797, Pool 4 - Mile 753. Bluegill (PFOS) - Pools 3, 4; Pools 5, 5A, and 6 - Bluegill and Crappie (PFOs). All sizes: Eat no more than 1 meal a week or 52 meals per year.
Date
4/1/2008

 
Pollutant
Mercury
Listed For
General
Impairments
Impairment Unknown
Current Use
Restricted General Water Use
Listing Status
303d Listed
Attainable Use
General Water Use
Priority
Low
Designated Use
General Water Use
303(d) ID
530
Listing Date
4/1/1998
Impaired Water Notes
This portion of the Mississippi River was assessed during the 2020 listing cycle; new mercury data showed continued exceedance of Wildlife use criteria.
Date
8/8/2019

 
Pollutant
PCBs
Listed For
General
Impairments
Impairment Unknown, PCBs Contaminated Fish Tissue
Current Use
Restricted General Water Use
Listing Status
303d Listed
Attainable Use
General Water Use
Priority
Low
Designated Use
General Water Use
303(d) ID
296
Listing Date
4/1/1998
Impaired Water Notes
Specific advisory for PCBs in fish.
Date
4/1/2008