Fish and Aquatic Life
Big Green River - Currently, 11 of the Big Green RiverÃ½s 14 miles are supporting a Class I trout stream. Eleven
of these also designated as an outstanding resource water, (ORW), and the WDNR owns
easements on 8 of these 11 miles. The Big Green River has been ranked high as a nonpoint
source priority. Recent changes in farming operations have concentrated more livestock into
smaller areas in this subwatershed. Feedlots and barnyards exist close to the creek and on
some of the unnamed tributaries to the stream. The proximity of manure storage pits to
surface water is a threat. Cattle grazing and trampling of banks are a problem in some areas.
Sediment in some pools and in the lower reaches of the stream may be causing in-stream
habitat problems. A citizen stream monitoring group has been collecting data on the river
since June 2000. Some of the parameters being monitored include turbidity, temperature,
dissolved oxygen and flow. To see the data collected by this group, visit
From: Ripp, Coreen, Koperski, Cindy and Folstad, Jason. 2002. The State of the Lower Wisconsin River Basin.
PUBL WT-559-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Cynthia Koperski
Big Green River
Although 11 of the Big Green River’s 14 miles are currently listed as a Class II trout stream in the 1980 version of the Wisconsin Trout Streams book, it has been recommended that this section of the river be upgraded to a Class I trout stream. The Big Green River’s 11 miles of trout water are also designated as an outstanding resource water, (ORW), and the DNR owns easements on 8 of these 11 miles. The Big Green River has been ranked high as a nonpoint source priority. Recent changes in farming operations have concentrated more livestock into smaller areas in this subwatershed. Feedlots and barnyards exist close to the creek and on some of the unnamed tributaries to the stream. The proximity of manure storage pits to surface water is a threat. Cattle grazing and trampling of banks are a problem in some areas. Sediment in some pools and in the lower reaches of the stream may be causing in-stream habitat problems. A citizen stream monitoring group has been collecting data on the river since June 2000. Some of the parameters being monitored include turbidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen and flow.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Big Green River is listed as a Class II trout stream (WDNR 1980) for 11 of its 14 miles.
The Class II miles are also designated as outstanding resource waters. The stream has
the potential to become a Class I trout stream (WDNR 1991), but nonpoint source water
pollution may be limiting that potential. Trout population surveys have shown a decline
in population for the portion of the stream surveyed (WDNR, Kerr 1991). Recent
changes in farming operations have concentrated more livestock into smaller areas in
this subwatershed (WDNR, Kerr 1991). Feedlots and barnyards exist close to the
creek and on some of the unnamed tributaries to the stream (WDNR, Kerr, Schlesser,
vollrath 1 gg 17.1 1.22.2837 ). Cattle grazing and trampling of banks are a problem in some
areas (WDNR Kerr, Schlesser 199 17.11*22.28 ). Sediment in some pools and in the lower
reaches of the stream (Schlesser. WDNR 199 1 22*28) may be causing in-stream habitat
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
From: Smith, Tom D., and Ball, Joseph R., Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Grant County, Department of Natural Resources, 1972.Surface Area = 24.73 acres, Length = 12.0 miles, Gradient = 20 ft./rnile, Flow = 29.1 c.f.s.
This stream is one of the better spring-fed trout streams in southwest Wisconsin and one of the best in Grant County. It begins three miles east of Werley and empties into the Wisconsin River two miles southwest of Woodman. The Little Green River, another good trout stream, enters Big Green one mile above the mouth. The Rocky Dell Spring and the Werley Spring are famous springs found on this stream. Water from the Rocky Dell Spring is bottled and sold throughout the midwest. Its owners claim the water is rich in minerals and has certain therapeutic qualities. Eight miles of stream is considered trout water with brown trout dominating the fishery. "Lunker" browns inhabit many of the deep, clear pools. Rainbowand brook trout are also present throughout the stream. Some natural reproduction of all three species occurs. Forage fish are abundant throughout and commercial minnow seining was conducted on the stream in the past.
This was considered marginal trout water in 1945 because of serious floods and heavy bank erosion. The quality of the stream has improved since then due to better land use and water control practices. A lower portion of this stream was straightened just above the bridge on highway 133 in 1968. The project was never completed creating a problem of water backing up and forming a narrow lake on the lower portions of trout water.
A cheese factory located on the lower reaches below trout water is considered a potential pollution source. A total of 51 acres of shallow marsh wetland is found near the mouth. Aquatic game assets include muskrats, mink, and a few migratory waterfowl. Excellent public access is provided by nine bridge crossings, the Woodman Recreation Area at the mouth, the Wisconsin River, and 7.5 miles of stream easement. A total of 15 dwellings adjoin the stream.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
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.
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|
|1203900||Big Green River||10042740||Big Green River US CTH K||10/2/2014||8/18/2020||Map||Data|
|1203900||Big Green River||10047008||Big Green River ~ 50ft US from Hwy 133||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1203900||Big Green River||10017850||Wisconsin River -- Big Green River Access||10/20/2010||6/5/2020||Map||Data|
|1203900||Big Green River||10030321||Big Green River||Map||Data|
Big Green River is located in the Green River and Crooked Creek watershed which is 125.71 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (46.60%), grassland (26.30%) and a mix of agricultural (16.80%) and other uses (10.30%). This watershed has 278.95 stream miles, 257.04 lake acres and 4,127.32 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High 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.