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 the Manitowoc River (75900) from the confluence with the South Branch of the Manitowoc River to Spring Creek was placed on the impaired waters list in 1998 for total phosphorus and sediment/total suspended solids. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceeded 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, available biological data do not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.
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.
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||083080||Manitowoc River North Branch at Cth Pp Potter||9/13/2014||9/10/2016||Map||Data|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||10016317||North Branch Manitowoc Ri - 0||10/30/1996||10/30/1996||Map||Data|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||10032484||North Branch Manitowoc River at mouth||Map||Data|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||083029||Manitowoc River North Branch - Potter San Dist Stp||5/16/1979||12/9/1985||Map||Data|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||083081||Manitowoc River North Branch at Riverview Rd||6/26/1996||9/13/2014||Map||Data|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||083100||Manitowoc River - North Branch River View Rd||10/13/2010||11/6/2019||Map||Data|
|75900||North Branch Manitowoc River||10045514||Phragmites Occurrence - Manitowoc River - North Branch at Riverview Rd||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.