Fish and Aquatic Life
The Hay River, along with the Red Cedar River, are large rivers that drain into Tainter Lake. Both
rivers contribute nutrients to Tainter Lake, whch experiences frequent algal blooms. In an attempt
to quantify nutrient loads to the lake, the Hay River was sampled for phosphorus, suspended solids,
and stream flow from October, 1989, to September, 1990, by the U.S Geological Survey. Numerous
water quality samples were also collected from wastewater treatment plant discharges on the Hay
An estimated 700,000 pounds of phosphorus was delivered to Tainter Lake by both the Hay and
Red Cedar Rivers. The Hay River contributed about 30 percent of the total, or 210,000 pounds. Of
that, about 12 percent was attributed to point source discharges, primarily wastewater treatment
plants, and the balance is assumed to be from nonpoint sources. About 94 percent of thls
phosphorus load is thought to be controllable (Schreiber).
The Cumberland wastewater treatment plant discharges to the headwaters of the Hay-River
downstream of the dam forming Beaver Dam Lake. This rotating biological contactor plant
discharges more than 150 pounds of phosphorus per month, and must provide phosphorus removal
under NR 217 of the Wis. Adm. Code. The present permit requires construction of phosphorus
removal facilities and sludge storage, as well as whole effluent toxicity testing.
Stella Cheese operates a cheese factory and whey drying plant south of Almena. An aerated lagoon
and spray irrigation system treats process wastewater. Steam, whey condensate, and non-contact
cooling water are discharged to an unnamed tributary to the Hay River. Past testing has shown
this discharge to be potentially toxic to aquatic life. Follow-up testing is ongoing, and the reissued
permit should address whole effluent toxicity in this discharge. WDNR is also conducting a study
on this and similar discharges to identify the causes of the toxicity.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Hay River, from its mouth to CTH F (miles 0 to 37.68) was placed on the impaired waters list for phosphorus in 2012. This segment of Hay River was evaluated for phosphorus and biology every two years between 2012 and 2020; phosphorus levels were consistently elevated.
Hay River, from CTH F to 7th Street (miles 37.68 to 69.98) was placed on the impaired waters list for phosphorus in 2012. This segment of Hay River was evaluated for phosphorus and biology every two years between 2012 and 2018; phosphorus levels were consistently elevated.
Hay River, from 7th Street to headwaters (miles 69.98 to 66.35), was evaluated in the 2018 and 2020 listing cycles; phosphorus and biology did not show impairment. This segment is on the healthy waters list.
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.
Dunn 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.
Monitor Fish Community
AU 15685, poor fIBI, Station 10040913
Nine Key Element Plan
Hay River PWS Plan - Nine Key Element Plan - The WI Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Abatement Program was developed to address water quality programs and to implement technical and institutional solutions delineated in the area wide plan. The Hay River Watershed was selected as one of the first five priority watersheds.
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
incorrect IBI applied to the sites. Verified the natural community. Sites are headwater not main stem. IBIs are fair and good.
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|
|2068600||Hay River||10021409||2a- 322 Meters U.S. Cth F||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10016161||Hay River at Wheeler||10/6/1998||10/6/1998||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10011961||Hay River - 2-Hay River. 2400' D.S. Of Sth 64||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10040521||Hay River at Tainter Lake||7/9/2008||7/9/2008||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10052635||Hay River 0.15 miles south of CTH V river crossing||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10011944||Hay River - 1-Hay River. 2300' D.S. Of Sth 170||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||173058||Hay River South Fork - Cth F||9/11/1979||1/29/1980||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10011967||Hay River - 3-Hay River. 1628' D.S. Of Cth V||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||033054||Hay River - Above Dam R.Mi-32.5||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10021096||Hay River 2b-140 Meters Upstream Cth N||5/19/2009||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||173069||Hay River - Hwy 170||5/1/1979||1/29/1980||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||173059||Hay River - Cth N||5/1/1979||10/22/2002||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||173123||Hay River - Deep Hole||9/13/1973||2/9/1975||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||173062||Hay River - Sth 64||9/11/1979||10/6/1998||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||173065||Hay River - Cth V Sec 8||9/11/1979||4/27/1983||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||173251||Hay River at Wheeler WI||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||173209||Hay River at N Bridge St||10/2/1989||7/14/2021||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10039255||Hay River at Hwy N||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10016830||Hay River - Upstream Of Cth F Approx 60 To 70meters||11/6/2002||10/26/2018||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10009892||Hay River #1||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10020085||Hay River/South Fork Hay River -- Access||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||033056||Hay River - Twn Rd R.Mi-31||5/12/1979||5/12/1979||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10030692||Hay River at CTH V ||10/27/2009||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2068000||Tainter Lake||173221||Tainter Lake - Hay R Bay Above Hwy D||8/19/1991||8/19/1991||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10017268||Hay River-Below Prairie Farm||10/21/1979||10/26/2018||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10051102||Hay River at South Road DS||5/22/2018||10/26/2018||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10020997||Hay River 3a-At Confluence Of Vance Creek U.S. Of Cth V||Map||Data|
|2068600||Hay River||10022740||Hay River at Cty. F South Of Prairie Farm At Thompson Residence||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
Hay River is located in the Wilson Creek watershed which is 244.75 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (37.50%), forest (31.40%) and a mix of grassland (19.40%) and other uses (11.70%). This watershed has 425.11 stream miles, 1,332.74 lake acres and 5,388.38 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.