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Cool-Warm Mainstem, Cool-Warm Headwater
High Phosphorus Levels
Fish and Aquatic Life
From the confluence of its East and West branches to its mouth at the Black River about a mile south of Medford, the Little Black River runs a course of seven miles. Its general condition is unknown, but the attainable use for this stream is beleived to be as Warm Water Sport Fishery.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The 2018 assessments of the Little Black River showed impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. However, available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Based on the most updated information, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list.
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.
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
|Project Name (Click for Details)||Year Started|
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|1765300||Little Black River||10030176||Little Black River at CTH O||6/9/2009||10/19/2018||Map||Data|
|1765300||Little Black River||10044129||Little Black River - Private access off CTH O||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1765300||Little Black River||10030174||Little Black River at CTH O||Map||Data|
|1765300||Little Black River||10011651||Little Black River -Highway 13||4/26/1993||11/1/2004||Map||Data|
|1765300||Little Black River||10030175||Little Black River at STH 13||6/9/2009||10/7/2020||Map||Data|
|1765300||Little Black River||10011650||Little Black River - Little Black River-Oreole Road||11/1/2004||11/1/2004||Map||Data|
Little Black River is located in the Black and Little Black Rivers watershed which is 160.81 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily wetland (32.40%), forest (30.10%) and a mix of agricultural (24.40%) and other uses (13.10%). This watershed has 211.97 stream miles, 505.95 lake acres and 23,424.34 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Low for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available for runoff impacts on lakes and Medium for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Medium. 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 Black River is considered a Cool-Warm Mainstem, Cool-Warm Headwater 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 (Warm-Transition) Headwaters are small, sometimes intermittent streams with cool to warm summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are uncommon to absent, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are common to uncommon. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.