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Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Warm Headwater
High Phosphorus Levels, Elevated Water Temperature
Total Phosphorus, Unknown Pollutant, PCBs
Fish and Aquatic Life
The Killsnake River originates northwest of Brant and flows easterly 14 miles before joining the North
Branch of the Manitowoc River. Prior to joining the South Branch of the Manitowoc River, the Killsnake
flows through a large wetland area known as Aebisher's Marsh. Waterfowl make heavy use of this river and adjacent wetlands. A majority of the land draining to it is in agricultural use, with overgrazed
streambanks and improper cropping practices. The hard bottom substrate is covered by silt and in some pools the silt deposits are excessive. This is indicative of soil erosion in the watershed. The Killsnake River likely only supports a forage fishery in its present condition. The Killsnake River has a history of fish kills in the lower reaches. A comprehensive fish survey was conducted in 1979 (Meyers 1996). Land use practices dominated by agriculture have left the fish habitat in poor shape due to excessive siltation. The Killsnake River was selected as a basin assessment trend monitoring station. Sampling will begin in January 1996 and run through December, 1996. For more information regarding this monitoring refer to the Surface Water Quality Report.
Author Michael Toneys
The 2018 assessments of the Killsnake River (WBIC 78200) showed continued impairment by temperature; new temperature sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed. The 2018 assessments also showed impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, biological data (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) were not available to assess biological impairment. Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.
Author Ashley Beranek
Killsnake River (78200) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; temperature data exceeded 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use.
Author Aaron Larson
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.
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|
|78200||Killsnake River||083186||Killsnake River - Killsnake River 0696-X||Map||Data|
|78200||Killsnake River||10042875||Killsnake River at County Rd Y||9/13/2014||7/26/2017||Map||Data|
|78200||Killsnake River||083032||Killsnake River at Lemke Rd||5/30/1984||9/13/2014||Map||Data|
|78200||Killsnake River||083185||Killsnake River - 0696-B at McHugh Rd||Map||Data|
|78200||Killsnake River||10039566||Killsnake River W of Killsnake Rd and CTH BB ||6/3/2012||7/4/2022||Map||Data|
|78200||Killsnake River||10042874||Killsnake River at Cth BB||9/13/2014||9/13/2014||Map||Data|
|78200||Killsnake River||10013060||Killsnake River Remap 0696||Map||Data|
|78200||Killsnake River||10041028||Killsnake River at CTH E||8/29/2013||10/18/2018||Map||Data|
|78200||Killsnake River||363291||Killsnake River at Lemke Road||1/16/1996||11/18/2019||Map||Data|
|78200||Killsnake River||10015676||Killsnake River-Irish Road Crossing||Map||Data|
|5556644||Unnamed||10041028||Killsnake River at CTH E||8/29/2013||10/18/2018||Map||Data|
|78200||Killsnake River||10039288||Killsnake River at Irish Rd||Map||Data|
Killsnake River is located in the South Branch Manitowoc River watershed which is 189.10 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (60.30%), wetland (17.60%) and a mix of grassland (14.10%) and other uses (8.10%). This watershed has 228.03 stream miles, 86.31 lake acres and 21,287.68 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High 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.
Killsnake River is considered a Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Cold 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.