South Fork Lemonweir River, Little Lemonweir River Watershed (LW29)
South Fork Lemonweir River, Little Lemonweir River Watershed (LW29)
South Fork Lemonweir River (1338500)
5.99 Miles
6.21 - 12.20
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.
Warm Headwater, 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.
2015
Poor
 
This river is impaired
Low DO, Degraded Biological Community
Total Phosphorus, BOD
 
Monroe
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.
No
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.
No
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.
Yes

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.
WWSF
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
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.
WWSF
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
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.

Overview

The South Fork of the Lemonweir River, located in eastern Monroe County, flows in a
northeasterly direction for 22 miles before reaching the Lemonweir River at Wyeville. A dam
on this river in Tomah creates Lake Tomah. This river supports a marginal warm water sport
fishery.
Fish and habitat surveys conducted in 1991 of the South Fork of the Lemonweir River
upstream of Lake Tomah documented panfish and northern pike as well as numerous forage
fish species. In-stream fish habitat consisted of overhanging vegetation and some undercut
banks. Streambank erosion due to livestock grazing was observed. The stream bottom
consisted of sand and silt. Stream temperatures documented in 1991 would not support a
population of trout. Fecal coliform concentrations were above the state standard of 400
colonies/ml. Dissolved oxygen levels below the 5 mg/L standard in the South Fork of the
Lemonweir River below the dam at Lake Tomah resulted in listing this section of river as an
impaired water. Since very limited information exists about the South Fork of the Lemonweir
River downstream of Lake Tomah, a fish and habitat survey should be conducted to determine
existing conditions and classification.

Ripp, Coreen, Koperski, Cindy and Folstad, Jason. 2002. The State of the Lower Wisconsin River Basin.
PUBL WT-559-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  2002

Author  Cynthia Koperski

South Fork Lemonweir River, Little Lemonweir River Watershed (LW29) Fish and Aquatic LifeSouth Fork Lemonweir River, Little Lemonweir River Watershed (LW29) RecreationSouth Fork Lemonweir River, Little Lemonweir River Watershed (LW29) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of the South Fork Lemonweir River (Kreyer Creek to Lake Tomah dam) showed continued biological impairment; new macroinvertebrate sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use (i.e. at least one macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) average scored in the poor condition category). Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Condition

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.

Reports

Recommendations

Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
This study proposes to re-assess baseflow and events loads by using fixed period sampling.
Shoreland Ordinance
Monroe County proposes to amend or create a shoreland zoning ordinance that complies with the requirements of NR 115, Wisconsin Administrative Code (as revised effective February 1, 2010) and retain existing regulations that exceed the water resource protections of NR 115 or are specific or unique to local needs.
Habitat Restoration - Lake
The City of Tomah proposes to restore aquatic and fisheries habitat in Lake Tomah in Monroe County. Major project elements to include tree drops, placement of rip rap, establishment of rock bars and revegetation of disturbed areas and islands.
Nine Key Element Plan
Lake Tomah PWS Plan - Nine Key Element Plan - The Lake Tomah Priority Watershed Project plan assesses the nonpoint sources of pollution in the Lake Tomah Watershed and guides the implementation of nonpoint source control measures. These control measures are needed to meet specific water resource objectives for Lake Tomah and its tributaries. The purpose of this project is to reduce the amount of pollutants originating from nonpoint sources that reach surface water and groundwater within the Lake Tomah Priority Watershed Project area.

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

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

South Fork Lemonweir River is located in the Little Lemonweir River watershed which is 218.01 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (33.10%), agricultural (28.30%) and a mix of wetland (17.20%) and other uses (21.40%). This watershed has 488.22 stream miles, 1,656.86 lake acres and 18,277.64 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, Low 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.

Natural Community

South Fork Lemonweir River is considered a Warm Headwater, 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.

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.

More Interactive Maps