Brunsweiler River, Marengo River Watershed (LS12)
Brunsweiler River, Marengo River Watershed (LS12)
Brunsweiler River (2913800)
1.37 Miles
14.01 - 15.38
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-Warm Mainstem
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.
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.
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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.
Class III Trout
Streams capable of supporting a seasonal coldwater sport fishery and which may be managed as coldwater streams.
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.
Streams capable of supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.


This stream has a number of warmer lakes of glacial origin in its headwaters and feeder streams, making the upper reaches more suitable for warmer water forage communities. As it passes along valleys at the feet of the Gogebic Range, the water quality and river characteristics change markedly. The principal tributaries contributing to the river's flow are Spider Creek, Hell Hole Creek, Camp Six Creek and several unnamed streams. Trout streams include McCarthy Creek, Spring Brook, Trout Brook and unnamed streams.

Below the outlet of Beaver Dam Lake, spring water raises the water quality to that of a medium quality brook, brown and rainbow trout stream down to the confluence with Spring Brook. From this point to Highway 13 the trout habitat deteriorates due to unstable bottom conditions and erosion in the red clay area. A few migratory rainbow trout are present between Highway 13 and the confluence with the Marengo River, but mostly the stretch from Highway 13 to the mouth is considered a warm water sport fishery including muskellunge, smallmouth bass, perch, bluegills, black crappies, rock bass, pumpkinseeds, and a variety of forage species. This stream changes from a warm water drainage stream to a rocky hard-bottomed high-gradient stream in its midsection and finally back to a warmer low-gradient stream at its outlet. Extreme water level fluctuations make habitat management difficult. A large portion of the river flows through the Chequamegon National Forest and other forested lands where the potential exists for logging activities. The river is considered highly scenic, but not very navigable due to the rugged river bed.

During survey work conducted as part of the coastal wetlands evaluation one rare species of macroinvertebrate was found and overall taxa richness was moderate (5-24 species) (Epstein 1997). At survey sites, livestock, barnyards and cropland were considered pollutant threats. Water quality indicators included significant aquatic plants, and slime and iron bacteria to a lesser extent.

From: Turville-Heitz, Meg. 1999. Lake Superior Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1999

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Brunsweiler River, Marengo River Watershed (LS12) Fish and Aquatic LifeBrunsweiler River, Marengo River Watershed (LS12) RecreationBrunsweiler River, Marengo River Watershed (LS12) Fish Consumption


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.
County Land and Water Management Plan
Ashland County Land & Water Conservation Department is sponsoring a 1 year River Planning Grant to help increase protection of the Brunsweiler River by reducing soil erosion and sediment loading. Deliverables include: 1) final report summarizing the project accomplishments/progress with descriptions of research and planning, conservation activities including erosion control/storm-water management and stream bank stabilization efforts, photographs & maps of construction such as vegetation buffers, deflectors, bank protection, and vortex weir, outreach activities and any resulting conservation collaborations with landowners and partners shall be described. Special conditions: applicable water regulation permits must be issued before construction activities commence.

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

Monitoring Studies

Monitoring data at Brunsweiler River- Springbrook Road from 2007 is considered Fair for this cool-warm mainstem stream. Two monitoring stations associated with upstream portions of Brunsweiler Creek, mile 4.2 to 9.53, were monitored between 2007 to 2009. Results indicated 'excellent' conditions for two stations in both years.

Date  2015

Author  Lisa Helmuth

Watershed Characteristics

Brunsweiler River is located in the Marengo River watershed which is 217.53 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (67.40%), wetland (15.30%) and a mix of grassland (11.60%) and other uses (5.70%). This watershed has 450.89 stream miles, 1,497.18 lake acres and 18,112.32 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Medium 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.

Natural Community

Brunsweiler River is considered a 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.