North Branch Of Pike River, Pike River Watershed (SE02)
North Branch Of Pike River, Pike River Watershed (SE02)
North Branch Of Pike River (1900)
5.23 Miles
0 - 5.23
Natural Community
Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results that use predicted flow and temperature based on landscape features and related assumptions. Ranges of flow and temperature associated with specific aquatic life communities (fish, macroinvertebrates) help biologists identify appropriate resource management goals. Wisconsin Natural Communities.
Cool-Cold Headwater
Year Last Monitored
This is the most recent date of monitoring data stored in SWIMS. Additional surveys for fish and habitat may be available subsequent to this date.
This river is impaired
Degraded Habitat, Chronic Aquatic Toxicity
Unknown Pollutant, Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
Kenosha, Racine
Trout Water 
Trout Waters are represented by Class I, Class II or Class III waters. These classes have specific ecological characteristics and management actions associated with them. For more information regarding Trout Classifications, see the Fisheries Trout Class Webpages.
Outstanding or Exceptional 
Wisconsin has designated many of the state's highest quality waters as Outstanding Resource Waters (ORWs) or Exceptional Resource Waters (ERWs). Waters designated as ORW or ERW are surface waters which provide outstanding recreational opportunities, support valuable fisheries and wildlife habitat, have good water quality, and are not significantly impacted by human activities. ORW and ERW status identifies waters that the State of Wisconsin has determined warrant additional protection from the effects of pollution. These designations are intended to meet federal Clean Water Act obligations requiring Wisconsin to adopt an 'antidegradation' policy that is designed to prevent any lowering of water quality - especially in those waters having significant ecological or cultural value.
Impaired Water 
A water is polluted or 'impaired' if it does not support full use by humans, wildlife, fish and other aquatic life and it is shown that one or more of the pollutant criteria are not met.

Fish and Aquatic Life

Current Use
The use the water currently supports. This is not a designation or classification; it is based on the current condition of the water. Information in this column is not designed for, and should not be used for, regulatory purposes.
Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
Attainable Use
The use that the investigator believes the water could achieve through managing "controllable" sources. Beaver dams, hydroelectric dams, low gradient streams, and naturally occurring low flows are generally not considered controllable. The attainable use may be the same as the current use or it may be higher.
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
Designated Use
This is the water classification legally recognized by NR102 and NR104, Wis. Adm. Code. The classification determines water quality criteria and effluent limits. Waters obtain designated uses through classification procedures.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.


The Pike River Basin is a 56 square mile area that lies on the eastern side of Kenosha and Racine Counties. Approximately 52 square miles of land eventually drain into the Pike River, which discharges to Lake Michigan in the City of Kenosha at a point approximately one mile north of the City of Kenosha Harbor. The remaining 4 square miles of land drain directly into Lake Michigan via swales, ditches, channels and stormsewer outlets.

The North Branch Pike River originates in a residential area in the Town of Mt. Pleasant near the junction of County Highway C and 90th Street. From this point, the river flows easterly for about one mile before turning south. Several perennial and intermittent streams, including Waxdale Creek, join this branch before it enters Petrifying Springs Park in the Town of Somers in Kenosha County. In Petrifying Springs Park the river is joined by the South Branch and becomes the Pike River.

The North Branch of Pike Creek is listed as impaired for Fish and Aquatic Life due to degraded habitat caused by stream channelization, debrushing of streambanks, draining of wetlands, sedimentation from runoff and increased stormwater drainage due to expanding development within the watershed. Fish kills attributed to potential chlorine discharge to Waxdale Creek also affected the North Branch Pike River downstream from confluence with Waxdale Creek; however, no fish kills have been documented on the North Branch Pike River since 1990.

Date  2011

Author  Craig Helker

Historical Description

North Branch Pike River Restoration Project
In 1997, in response to historic flooding issues, the WDNR issued a Chapter 30 permit to the Mount Pleasant Storm Water Drainage District for the reconstruction and restoration of approximately 5.5 miles of the Pike River in the Village of Mount Pleasant. Key elements of the project included:

-Comprehensive storm water and non-point source storm water management measures to reduce peak flows and maintain base flow.
-Construction of multiple wetland systems.
-Widening of the floodplain to allow more frequent overbank events, serving to dissipate peak energy flood flows.
-Designing and placing in-stream habitat structures to increase fish community diversity. Land acquisition to expand the functioning environmental corridor.
-Implementing a monitoring plan for habitat, invertebrates, and fish to evaluate the success of the project and guide modifications as necessary.

To date, the Pike River Restoration Project has significantly increased flood storage, expanded the existing environmental corridor, improved water quality and aquatic habitat, restored and increased wetlands, and provided a recreational trail system.

The Village of Mount Pleasant intends to continue the restoration of the planned 5.5 miles of the Pike River, constructing Phase 5 (of a total of nine planned phases) in 2010.

Key elements will include floodway improvements, low-flow channel improvements and in-stream habitat expansion, construction of a storm water pond, and expansion of the Mt. Pleaseant recreation trail.

Date  2011

Author  Craig Helker

North Branch Of Pike River, Pike River Watershed (SE02) Fish and Aquatic LifeNorth Branch Of Pike River, Pike River Watershed (SE02) RecreationNorth Branch Of Pike River, Pike River Watershed (SE02) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

The North Branch of Pike River, from highway 20 to headwaters (miles 5.23 to 7.87), was put on the impaired waters list for chloride in the 2018 cycle. Evaluations of chloride in the 2020 and 2022 cycles confirmed impairment. Phosphorus evaluation in the 2022 cycle showed no impairment.

Date  2022

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

The North Branch of Pike River, from its mouth to highway 20 (miles 0 to 5.23), was put on the impaired waters list for aquatic toxicity in 1998. In the 2008 cycle total suspended solids and degraded habitat listings were added. This portion of the river was evaluated for phosphorus and chloride every two-year cycle from 2018 to 2022 - no impairment was found.

Date  2022

Author  Ashley Beranek


Wisconsin has over 84,000 miles of streams, 15,000 lakes and milllions of acres of wetlands. Assessing the condition of this vast amount of water is challenging. The state's water monitoring program uses a media-based, cross-program approach to analyze water condition. An updated monitoring strategy (2015-2020) is now available. Compliance with Clean Water Act fishable, swimmable standards are located in the Executive Summary of Water Condition in 2018. See also the 'monitoring and projects' tab.



Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
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.
Habitat Restoration - Upland
This project will include habitat restoration and plantings including wetland and prairie environments, channel widening and bank stabilization, replacing culverts to aid fish passage, providing fish habitat structures, and the creation of fish spawning areas.
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Extensive restoration of N. Br. Pike River has occurred in last 10 years. Downstream site sampled had multiple exceedances. However, this section was re-meandered two seasons before sampling. Would like additional data after vegetation firmly established and restored channel stabilized.
Habitat Restoration - Instream
Evaluate and implement aquatic habitat restoration and water quality improvement practices where applicable.

Management Goals

Wisconsin's Water Quality Standards provide qualitative and quantitative goals for waters that are protective of Fishable, Swimmable conditions [Learn more]. Waters that do not meet water quality standards are considered impaired and restoration actions are planned and carried out until the water is once again fishable and swimmable

Management goals can include creation or implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load analysis, a Nine Key Element Plan, or other restoration work, education and outreach and more. If specific recommendations exist for this water, they will be displayed below online.


Monitoring the condition of a river, stream, or lake includes gathering physical, chemical, biological, and habitat data. Comprehensive studies often gather all these parameters in great detail, while lighter assessment events will involve sampling physical, chemical and biological data such as macroinvertebrates. Aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish communities integrate watershed or catchment condition, providing great insight into overall ecosystem health. Chemical and habitat parameters tell researchers more about human induced problems including contaminated runoff, point source dischargers, or habitat issues that foster or limit the potential of aquatic communities to thrive in a given area. Wisconsin's Water Monitoring Strategy was recenty updated.

Grants and Management Projects

Monitoring Projects

Watershed Characteristics

North Branch Pike River is located in the Pike River watershed which is 56.51 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (39%), suburban (26.20%) and a mix of urban (19.40%) and other uses (15.30%). This watershed has 85.36 stream miles, 4,846.64 lake acres and 701.59 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked for runoff impacts on lakes and Low for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Low. This value can be used in ranking the watershed or individual waterbodies for grant funding under state and county programs.However, all waters are affected by diffuse pollutant sources regardless of initial water quality. Applications for specific runoff projects under state or county grant programs may be pursued. For more information, go to surface water program grants.

Natural Community

North Branch Of Pike River is considered a Cool-Cold Headwater under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results and DNR staff valiation processes that confirm or update predicted conditions based on flow and temperature modeling from historic and current landscape features and related variables. Predicated flow and temperatures for waters are associated predicated fish assemblages (communities). Biologists evaluate the model results against current survey data to determine if the modeled results are corect and whether biological indicators show water quaity degradation. This analysis is a core component of the state's resource management framework. Wisconsin's Riverine Natural Communities.

Cool (Cold-Transition) Headwaters are small, usually perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon (<10 per 100 m), transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.

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