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Cool-Cold Headwater, Coldwater, Cool-Warm Headwater
Fish and Aquatic Life
This stream flows some eight miles to its confluence with the Sioux River. This Class I trout stream is an outstanding resource water, supporting brook trout and migratory species from Lake Superior and a trout nursery area. The spring-fed headwaters maintain a temperature averaging 48 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. As the water warms downstream, trout species other than brook become more abundant. The stream drains mostly sandy soils and some areas of red clay. In the past, beaver caused extreme siltation in flowage areas. The stream drains a large area comprised of mixed hardwoods and conifers periodically subjected to clearcutting and logging traffic, which may contribute sediment to the stream.
This stream was used as a sampling site to study the occurrence of Cryptosporidium and Giardia in surface waters. This near pristine stream yielded the highest concentration of Giardia in samples taken from streams in the basin in late September. The watershed has a concentration of about 26 white-tailed deer per square mile in summer and 20 in winter. In addition, small numbers of black bear use the watershed, as do beaver and migratory waterfowl. As summer progressed, the number of suspended solids in the stream increased substantially. The fecal coliform count on one occasion reached 200 per 100 milliliters; this exceeds the standard for bacteria for recreational contact.
From: Turville-Heitz, Meg. 1999. Lake Superior Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The Little Sioux River was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new total phosphorus sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.
Author Ashley Beranek
Little Sioux Creek (2886100) 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.
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|
|2886100||Little Sioux River||10034874||Little Sioux - ~1200 ft DS of Little Sioux Rd.||5/1/2008||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2886100||Little Sioux River||10013506||Little Sioux River- 10 Meters Upstream Friendly Valley Road- Station #1||10/24/2003||7/23/2018||Map||Data|
|2886100||Little Sioux River||043096||Little Sioux R - Friendly Valley||1/24/1994||10/17/1994||Map||Data|
|2886100||Little Sioux River||10051598||Dumke Project Reference Station||Map||Data|
Little Sioux River is located in the Bayfield Peninsula Southeast watershed which is 301.48 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (86.80%), wetland (5.60%) and a mix of grassland (4.10%) and other uses (3.50%). This watershed has 453.79 stream miles, 291,749.17 lake acres and 6,560.31 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available 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.
Little Souix River is considered a Cool-Cold Headwater, Coldwater, Cool-Warm 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 (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.
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.