Pike River, Pike River Watershed (SE02)
Pike River, Pike River Watershed (SE02)
Pike River (1300)
8.05 Miles
1.45 - 9.50
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-Cold Mainstem, 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.
This river is impaired
Acute Aquatic Toxicity, Degraded Biological Community, Chronic Aquatic Toxicity
Chloride, Total Phosphorus
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.
Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
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.
Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
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.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.


The Pike River Basin is a 56 square mile area that lies on the eastern side of Kenosha and Racine Counties. Approximately 52 square miles of land eventually drain into the Pike River, which discharges to Lake Michigan in the City of Kenosha at a point approximately one mile north of the City of Kenosha Harbor. The remaining 4 square miles of land drain directly into Lake Michigan via swales, ditches, channels and stormsewer outlets.

Date  2011

Author  Craig Helker

Historical Description

In 2005, the US Fish and Wildlife Service working with WDNR and several other public and private partners removed a 1950s era dam from the Pike River approximately four miles upstream from the river's Lake Michigan outlet. A four foot high concrete dam was replaced with a series of deep pools and shallow riffles and approximately 800 lineal feet of eroding streambank was stabilized. (USFWS 2009) Salmon and steelhead can now be found above the old dam site during their annual runs from Lake Michigan. The dam had provided a source of irrigation water for a golf course and this function was preserved with the new river pools.

Date  2011

Author  Craig Helker

Pike River, Pike River Watershed (SE02) Fish and Aquatic LifePike River, Pike River Watershed (SE02) RecreationPike River, Pike River Watershed (SE02) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Pike River (from Atford Park to confluence with Pike Creek) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use and biological impairment was observed (i.e. at least one macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the poor condition category). Chloride sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM chronic and acute listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use.

Date  2015

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.
Monitor or Assess Watershed Condition
The Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network will contract with a qualified Planning Firm who will work with the Stakeholders to develop an updated Pike River Watershed Restoration Plan. The Restoration Plan will include: 1) Identification of goals and objectives: meeting with stakeholders to refine goals and objectives, review drafts of management plan. 2) Natural resource assessment in the watershed: collect existing watershed data, assess current watershed and wetland conditions, examine open space planning, and develop GIS inventory of the watershed resources. 3) Water quality assessment: compile existing data, collect additional data such as locations of severely eroded stream banks and shorelines, use GIS to estimate pollutant load reductions using BMPs. 4) Prioritized action plan with cost estimates: Identify stakeholder roles and responsibilities, programmatic actions, and site-specific actions. Prioritized action plan with dates, an estimate of financial and technical assistance needs and identification of implementation responsibility and cost. 5) Final assessment and Plan Report. Hold six scheduled meetings between the Planning Firm and Stakeholders Group with a Technical Advisory Group to learn about plan progress and provide input. The public will be invited to attend these meetings, and will be able to submit written questions and comments. The deliverables will include agendas for each meeting, minutes from each meeting, and a listing of the people who attended each meeting. Hold Pike River Summit II in September 2013 that will feature the first public presentation of the Plan. Workshop sessions will feature the Watershed Action Teams who will discuss their role in Phase III to implement restoration projects, and presentations by federal, state and local funders on grant opportunities for river restoration projects.
Water Quality Planning
SEWRPC is a designated planning agency for the multi-county area covering SE Wisconsin. SEWRPC's budget for this work is $1,457,765, with a fraction coming from the WDNR in the form of "pass through contracts," approximately $170-200K per year. In recent years, funding has declined due to budget cutbacks. The 2015 period covers approximately $170K of federal and state grant funding through WDNR and many thousands of dollars in local and regional funding. SEWRPC's work deliverables and contract reports are below.
Best Management Practices, Implement
BMPs will be implemented as part over and overall restoration strategy.
Water Quality Planning
Project: Pike River (SE02) Watershed Planning
Restore Wetlands
Evaluate and implement wetland restoration projects where practices are applicable.
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Support continuation of Pike River project.
Master Planning
Pursue installation of toe protection on bluff adjacent to river at UW-Parkside.
Restore Hydrology, Morphology
Create bench and meanders where possible.
Dam Safety or Removal
Evaluate Kenosha Country Club dam for removal and support and encourage removal at Petrifying Springs Dam.
Control Streambank Erosion
Pursue bank stabilization and floodplain access where practicable.

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

Watershed Characteristics

Pike River is located in the Pike River watershed which is 56.51 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (39%), suburban (26.20%) and a mix of urban (19.40%) and other uses (15.30%). This watershed has 85.36 stream miles, 4,846.64 lake acres and 701.59 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High 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.

Natural Community

Pike 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 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 (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.