Pokegama River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01)
Pokegama River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01)
Pokegema River (2844000)
25.74 Miles
0 - 25.74
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.
Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem, Macroinvertebrate
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.
2019
Poor
 
This river is impaired
Impairment Unknown
Total Phosphorus
 
Douglas
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.
FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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.
FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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.
LFF
Streams capable of supporting small populations of forage fish or tolerant macro-invertebrates that are tolerant of organic pollution. Typically limited due to naturally poor water quality or habitat deficiencies. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 3 mg/L.

Overview

Red clay erosion contributes to large amounts of sediment and turbidity in the river. The river is an important spawning area for walleye, northern pike, longnose and white suckers, burbot and other members of a diverse fishery; water quality is very important for successful reproduction for these species (Pratt 1996).

The outfall of the village of Superior wastewater treatment plant at SW S10 T48 N R14W then along a diffuse surface drainage to the Pokegama River, has been recommended for inclusion in the revision of NR104 as a limited aquatic life water. From the confluence of this drainage to the mouth of the river at the St. Louis River in Pokegama Bay, the Pokegama is recommended for inclusion in NR104 as a limited forage fishery.

An unnamed tributary T48N R14W S04 NESW, receives the discharge from the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway Switching Yards industrial and sanitary wastewater treatment system. The plant outfall discharges to the upper end of a spill containment impoundment that also receives runoff from the railyard and wetland drainage. From the mouth of the tributary to the outfall at T48N R14W S17 is recommended for inclusion in NR104 as a limited forage fishery. After discharging from the impoundment, the drainageway receives additional channelized wetland and yard drainage. These sources form the headwaters of an intermittent Pokegama River tributary. The tributary channel is poorly defined in its upper reaches where it is surrounded by extensive wetland and lowland scrub. Farther down the drainage, the stream takes on the typical patterns of steeply cut clay banks and scoured, sometimes deeply cut channel indicative of the flashy streams in this region. During low flow periods, the stream may have no discharge. While during sampling no discharge occurred from the containment impoundment, a heavy planktonic algae bloom was present throughout the impoundment and abundant mats of filamentous algae were in place near the bottom end of the impoundment. Discharge samples from the weir showed moderate increases in biochemical oxygen demand and nutrients. Indicative of the heavy algae bloom occurring in the impoundment were an elevated pH and a super-saturated dissolved oxygen level. (Prenn May 21, 1991)

Date  1999

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

The Pokegama River was recommended for inclusion in the revision of NR104 (1977) as a limited aquatic life water (LFF) from the confluence of the drainage for the outfall of the Village of Superior's wastewater treatment plant to the mouth of the river at the St. Louis River in Pokegama Bay. However, Pratt (1996) notes that the river is an important spawning area for walleye, northern pike, longnose and white suckers, burbot and other members of a diverse fishery and water quality is very important for successful reproduction for these species. Based on a diverse fishery with gamefish present, this LFF designation does not appear appropriate; rather, it would appear the Pokegama should be designated as a warmwater sport fishery (WWSF) from it's mouth up to at least Hwy 105 (~ river mile 4.0) and possibly further, at which point it would most likely change to a warm-water forage fishery (WWFF).

Condition monitoring and evaluation of the Pokegama River for current, attainable, and most appropriate designated use category throughout its system is recommended.

Date  2010

Author  Cordell Manz

Pokegama River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01) Fish and Aquatic LifePokegama River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01) RecreationPokegama River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of the Pokegama River showed impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. However, available biological data did 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, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list.

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 or Propose 303(d) Listing
This is a 303d assessement of the Pokegama, Little Pokegama and Red Rivers located in the St. Louis AOC. The Little Pokegama is just over eight miles in length and flows parallel until it discharges at the upstream end of Spirit Lake on the St. Louis River (St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed Plan). Bug and fish IBI's will be calculated and continuous temperature data will be used to assess the streams. Also, information about use designation and attainable use will be collected. Information such as flow will be collected for use in the upcoming St. Louis River TMDL.
Monitor or Propose 303(d) Listing
To evaluate Pokegama, Red River Monitoring and Little Pokegama for Impaired Waters listing.
Water Quality Planning
Public Review Draft TWA Projects for WQM Planning For Public Comment
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
The assessment will include: 1. Water quality monitoring to further define nutrient, suspended sediment, and B.O.D. loading. 2. Exploratory TP monitoring to help identify significant TP sources in the watershed, such as tributaries with heavy watershed development, groundwater discharge locations, and wastewater effluent discharges. 3. Fish surveys and macroinvertebrate samples at 6 sites. Monitoring will be conducted during May through October of 2017
Review, Update Use Designation
Condition monitoring and evaluation of the Pokegama River, Little Pokegama River, and tributary streams for most appropriate current, attainable, and designated use categories throughout both stream watersheds is recommended, which would include macroinvertebrate and fish IBI surveys at multiple sample sites in the watershed.

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

Pokegama River is located in the St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River watershed which is 159.67 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily wetland (44.10%), forest (32.50%) and a mix of grassland (11.10%) and other uses (12.40%). This watershed has 432.66 stream miles, 8,490.75 lake acres and 26,945.85 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

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

Pokegema River is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem, Macroinvertebrate 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.

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.

Cool (Cold-Transition) Headwaters are small, usually perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon (<10 per 100 m), transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.