7.35 - 22.25
Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Cold Headwater, Warm Headwater, COOL-Warm Headwater
Fish and Aquatic Life
The North Branch of the Manitowoc River flows for nearly 10 miles from its origin west of Brillion
Marsh to its confluence with the South Branch to form the main stem of the Manitowoc River. It is a
sluggish, hard water stream that drains most of northeastern Calumet County. During extensive dry
periods there is no measurable flow in the river. Wetland complexes located along upper portions of this
stream are attractive to ducks, pheasant, deer and small game mammals.
Historic reductions in the percentage of forested and wetland vegetation have resulted in a watershed that
lacks adequate opportunities for infiltration and retention of precipitation and snow melt resulting in
flashy runoff which overwhelms existing stream channels and aquatic habitat. This excessive runoff also
strips valuable sediments and nutrients from the terrestrial environment and delivers them to our streams
and lakes where they result in degraded water quality and poorer habitat which can kill sensitive and
intolerant fish and aquatic invertebrates. Flashy runoff also limits the amount of water available to
sustain adequate flows during drought. Restoration efforts should focus on increasing the overall
percentage of forested and wetland vegetation in this watershed to restore a more natural hydrologic
regime and minimize the impacts of flashy runoff and an altered hydrologic regime.
From: Willman, Guy and Mike Toneys. 2001. The State of the Lakeshore Basin. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Michael Toneys
The North Branch of Manitowoc River from its mouth to Spring Creek (miles 0 to 7.35) suffers from low dissolved oxygen from total suspended solids and total phosphorus. It was added to the Impaired Waters List in the 1998 cycle. Evaluations during every two-year cycle from 2014 to 2022 confirmed the phosphorus impairments.
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.
SW SE S24 T20N R19E; North Branch Manitowoc River, trib;
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|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||10032485||North Branch Manitowoc River at Cty. Rd. 114 mile w of Hilbert||Map||Data|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||10042884||N Br Manitowoc River at Hwy BB||9/13/2014||8/17/2019||Map||Data|
|5022701||Unnamed||10047429||Wetland [ID 8423690129]||Map||Data|
|5022464||Unnamed||10047429||Wetland [ID 8423690129]||Map||Data|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||10047429||Wetland [ID 8423690129]||Map||Data|
|5022702||Unnamed||10047430||Wetland [ID 8423690186]||Map||Data|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||10013333||North Branch Manitowoc River- Irish Road||Map||Data|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||10047430||Wetland [ID 8423690186]||Map||Data|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||10044238||N Branch Manitowoc R HwyB - W of St. John W of BB||8/29/2015||8/15/2020||Map||Data|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||10042885||N Br Manitowoc River at Irish Rd Bridge||9/13/2014||8/17/2019||Map||Data|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||10032484||North Branch Manitowoc River at mouth||Map||Data|
North Branch Manitowoc River is located in the North Branch Manitowoc River watershed which is 76.97 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (61.80%), grassland (16%) and a mix of wetland (14.60%) and other uses (7.50%). This watershed has 129.77 stream miles, 292.80 lake acres and 7,389.45 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, High 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.
North Branch Manitowoc River is considered a Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Cold Headwater, Warm Headwater, 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.
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.
Warm Headwaters are small, usually intermittent streams with warm summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are absent, transitional fishes are common to uncommon, and warm water fishes are abundant to common. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and
river species are absent.