11.75 - 28.90
Cool-Cold Mainstem, Cool-Warm Mainstem
Fish and Aquatic Life
The South Branch Oconto River joins the North Branch Oconto River near Suring to form the Oconto River. The watershed is primarily forested with limited agricultural activity. It has a total river length of 15 miles, with a surface area of 72.7 acres and an average width of 40 feet. The South Branch of the Oconto River Fishery Area was created in 1961 and to date
over 450 acres of land bordering the river has acquired by the Department of Natural Resources. The purpose of the fishery area is to perpetuate the native trout population, provide access for anglers and improve overall trout and wildlife habitat. Over 11 miles of the South Branch of the Oconto river flows through the fishery area.
Author Justine Hasz
The South Branch Oconto River was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new temperature 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
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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|480900||South Branch Oconto River||10039458||South Branch Oconto River at Old Camp Road 23||Map||Data|
South Branch Oconto River is located in the South Branch Oconto River watershed which is 219.27 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (75.10%), wetland (14.70%) and a mix of agricultural (6.10%) and other uses (4.00%). This watershed has 216.92 stream miles, 2,812.48 lake acres and 20,277.98 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Low for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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.
South Branch Oconto River is considered a Cool-Cold Mainstem, 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.
Cool (Cold-Transition) Mainstem streams are moderate-to-large but still wadeable perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are common to absent,
mainstem species are abundant to common, and river species are common to absent.
2005The Department of Natural Resources assessed the South Branch Oconto River, Oconto County, on August 23rd and August 24th, 2005, to conduct a comprehensive survey of the brook and brown trout fisheries. The survey was conducted on a 0.38 mile section of the river upstream from the bridge crossing on County Highway W just east of Mountain in the Town of Doty (T.31N. -R.15E. Section26) (Figure 5). A mark-recapture survey was conducted by a stream shocking run to mark trout on August 23, 2005 and a recapture shocking run on August 24, 2005. The population estimate (number per mile) of legal size brook trout (>8 inches) was 55 and legal brown trout (>12 inches) was 111. Brook trout had a catch rate of 444.5 per mile and brown trout had a catch rate of 356 per mile. The overall health of the trout fishery looks good with above average numbers of legal sized brook and brown trout when compared to previous surveys.
Author Justine Hasz