Little Pokegema River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01)
Little Pokegema River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01)
Little Pokegema River (2845200)
8.55 Miles
0 - 8.55
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.
Macroinvertebrate, Coldwater
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.
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.
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.
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.

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.
Supported Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
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.
Supported Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
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.


The Pokegama River originates just across the Wisconsin/Minnesota border near Jay Cooke State Park in Minnesota and flows in an eastern direction before turning north near Wisconsin State Hwy 35. The Pokegama River is nearly twentysix miles in length, while the Little Pokegama River is only about eight-miles long and flows just north and west of the Pokegama River and is also tributary to the St. Louis River, with its confluence located at the upstream end of Spirit Lake. The headwater areas of the Pokegama and Little Pokegama River are associated with the Pokegama-Carnegie wetlands, which have been identified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Bureau of Endangered Resources as a Lake Superior Basin Priority Site. This high quality wetland is an extensive area of poorly drained, red clay flats comprised of shrub swamp, sedge meadow, emergent marsh, small ponds, and is punctuated with tiny upland “islets” consisting of white spruce, white and red pine, balsam poplar, and trembling aspen (Lake Superior Basin Water Quality Management Plan, WDNR, 1999).

The Little Pokegama River had a baseline monitoring survey conducted at State Hwy 105 in 2006 which suggest the current use of the Little Pokegama could be as WWFF. Given habitat and water quality present, the best attainable use designation for the Little Pokegama may be as a WWFF also; presently, its current and attainable use is listed as “unknown”

Date  2009

Author  Nancy Larson

Little Pokegema River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01) Fish and Aquatic LifeLittle Pokegema River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01) RecreationLittle Pokegema River, St. Louis and Lower Nemadji River Watershed (LS01) Fish Consumption


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.



Monitor Fish Community
AU 17469, poor fIBI, Station 10015473
Monitor for 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. [09/10]

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 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

Little 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

Little Pokegema River is considered a Macroinvertebrate, Coldwater under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results and 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.