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Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem, Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Warm Mainstem
Fish and Aquatic Life
The Little Rib River is a twenty-two mile warm water stream that flows into the Big Rib River west of the City of Wausau. The lower portion of the Little Rib River is classified as a warm water sport fishery while the upper portion is classified as a warm water forage fishery.
The lower portion habitat had extensive bank erosion and lacked coarse substrate. Limiting factors of in-stream habitat for the upper portion include, lack of fish cover, bank erosion, and sedimentation.
The lower IBI scores were a result of low number of top carnivore and sucker species. The lower reach had sport fish present likely a result of migration from the Big Rib River. No sport fish were found in the upper reach, therefore it is proposed to stay at a Warm Water Forage Fishery classification.
Fishery surveys were completed at four sites that were previously studied in 1975 and 1981. Fewer trout or no trout were found in 2001 when compared to the earlier years. Decreased trout densities in 2001 may be the result of changes in stream habitat or water temperatures. According to 1981 observations, substrate was comprised of coarse materials. The 2001 habitat surveys indicated that in-stream habitat was limited by sedimentation and lack of cover. Water temperatures may have also resulted in fewer trout collected in 2001. These surveys were completed in August, while the historic studies were conducted in May. Although trout may inhabit these areas when water temperatures are favorable, they would more often migrate to areas where water temperatures are suitable.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The Little Rib River is a warm water game and forage fishery. Rough fish are common to abundant. The stream suffers from heavy flooding and streambank erosion and elevated levels of bacteria and nutrients occur in the stream after rainstorms. Animal waste is the suspected source. Streambank pasturing also occurs.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Little Rib River (1451900) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus and biological (macroinvertebrate and fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) sample data were clearly below 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water is meeting this designated use and is not considered impaired.
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.
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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||373347||Little Rib River - Woodland Drive||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||10008278||Little Rib Woodland Dr Site 3||5/12/1980||11/3/1980||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||373346||Little Rib River - Highway U||5/12/1980||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||373349||Little Platte River - L Rib R 1 Mile Above Highway A||5/12/1980||10/16/2001||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||10008277||Little Rib River (North Of) Cth U Site 2||8/12/2008||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||10008280||Little Rib Site 5 - Lincoln Dr ||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||10021215||Little Rib River ~100m Upstream Conflu. W/ W. Fk. L. Rib R.||7/30/2007||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||10008279||Little Rib Upstream Of Wf Confl North Ln Rd Site 4||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||10040658||Little Rib River US Rainbow Drive||7/9/2013||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||10008276||Little Rib (North Of) Stewart Ave Site 1||10/13/2010||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||10008305||Unnamed Creek 24-1 Site 10 - West of end Decator Dr||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||10030529||Little Rib River at Railroad Bridge (upstream from Big Rib River)||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||373439||Little Rib River - 250 Ft Upst Of Stettin Dr. Bridge||3/11/1999||3/11/1999||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||373345||Little Rib River - Stettin Drive||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||10012808||Little Rib River Stettin Drive||5/12/1980||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1451900||Little Rib River||10021214||Little Rib River at Cth A||7/30/2007||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
Little Rib River is located in the Little Rib River watershed which is 92.44 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (37.40%), agricultural (31.40%) and a mix of grassland (15.40%) and other uses (15.90%). This watershed has stream miles, lake acres and 2,768.75 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Medium for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked for runoff impacts on lakes and High for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of High. 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.
Little Rib River is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem, Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Warm Mainstem under the state's Natural Community Determinations.
Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model resultsand 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) Mainstem streams are moderate-to-large but still wadeable perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are common to absent,
mainstem species are abundant to common, and river species are common to absent.
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.