Fish and Aquatic Life
The Couderay River joins the Chippewa River just below the Arpin Dam: upstream of this
confluence, the Couderay is impounded to form the Grimh Flowage.
Larson, Nancy and Lisa Kosmond (Helmuth). 1996. Upper Chippewa River Basin Water Quality Management Plan.
PUBL-WR-345-96-REV. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The Couderay River is fed by Grindstone, Lac Courte Oreilles, Whitefish, and Sand lakes
in west-central Sawyer County. From its outlet at Little Lac Courte Oreilles, the
Couderay flows south 5.5 miles, before heading east to meet the Chippewa River just
below Radisson. There are two impoundments on the river, the Billy Boy Flowage, a 74-
acre impoundment just south of Little Lac Courte Oreilles, and Grimh Flowage, an 86-
acre impoundment near Radisson which has a hydroelectric plant. Fish movement
between the Chippewa and Couderay Rivers is blocked by dams. The Couderay would
probably be a sturgeon stream if not for the barrier imposed by the dam at Grimh
The Couderay River, which is managed as a sports fishery, is better known for its
rougfish than its northern pike and walleye (Pratt 1993). The river is one of the few
streams in the watershed not known to be affected by beaver activity.
Author Aquatic Biologist
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.
Shoreland Monitoring, Assessment, Inventory
Courte Oreilles Lake Association is sponsoring a project to design and install shoreline buffer restorations on Lac Courte Oreilles and Little Lac Courte Oreilles Lakes. Project tasks include: 1) Shoreline buffer design/restoration on approximately 25 shoreline sites; 2) Modeling to estimate TSS and TP reductions from buffer restorations; 3) Develop and distribute shoreline buffer educational materials.
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|
|2384700||Couderay River||10049112||Couderay River SMB/Sturg -C2- DS Right of Way Rd. to US CTH C||Map||Data|
|2384700||Couderay River||10015187||Couderay 060 (below Alder Creek/River Rd.)||8/21/2012||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2384700||Couderay River||10030675||Couderay River 43m DS Right of Way Road||10/16/2009||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2384700||Couderay River||10039025||Couderay River (COUD-1)||6/22/2011||8/29/2011||Map||Data|
|2384700||Couderay River||10047004||Couderay below historical marker||Map||Data|
|2384700||Couderay River||10052817||Couderay River SMB/Sturg -C1- DS Billy Boy Dam to US Right of Way Rd.||Map||Data|
Couderay River is located in the Couderay River watershed which is 212.25 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (64.90%), wetland (13.50%) and a mix of open (12.90%) and other uses (8.70%). This watershed has 211.96 stream miles, 18,300.76 lake acres and 14,697.69 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Low for runoff impacts on streams, High 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.