6.88 - 24.20
Cool-Warm Mainstem, Cool-Warm Headwater
Fish and Aquatic Life
The Montreal River forms part of the Michigan-Wisconsin border. The West Fork flows from Island Lake, through the Gile Flowage (pronounced Aguile@) and paralleling the East Fork for many miles before meeting. The East Fork of the Montreal River originates at Pine Lake, eventually forming the border between Ironwood and Hurley before becoming the Montreal River at the junction with the West Fork. All three reaches of the river include trout waters.
Muskrat, mink and beaver occur upstream from Hurley. Stream flow is variable, with gradient increasing downstream of Hurley. The cities of Hurley, WI and Ironwood, MI, discharge into this sub-watershed. The West Fork of the Montreal River above Gile Flowage is considered a warm water fishery including young walleye, perch, crappies, northern pike and the occasional brook trout.
The West Fork Montreal River is identified in the Coastal Wetlands Evaluation (Epstein 1997) as an aquatic priority site. While only 17 taxa were collected in this initial effort, two of these are very rare in Wisconsin. The predominant groups were mayflies and caddisflies. Turbidity and impoundment present challenges to the maintenance of water quality.
From: Turville-Heitz, Meg. 1999. Lake Superior Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The West Fork Montreal River was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.
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.
Water Quality Planning
Montreal River Watershed TWA
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|
|2941600||West Fork Montreal River||10020042||Gile Flowage -- Boat Access||6/22/2005||8/22/2021||Map||Data|
|2941600||West Fork Montreal River||10049507||West Fork Montreal River 8m US Unnamed Forest Road||Map||Data|
|2941600||West Fork Montreal River||10029743||West Fork Montreal River at West Branch Road||5/30/2017||8/26/2021||Map||Data|
|2941600||West Fork Montreal River||263015||West Fork Montreal River at STH 77||8/20/2018||8/20/2018||Map||Data|
|2941600||West Fork Montreal River||10029090||West Fork Montreal River - 41.7m upstream Branch Rd||10/14/2008||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2943700||Unnamed||10032136||Welch Creek (Iron County Forest)||10/23/2017||10/23/2017||Map||Data|
|2942300||Gile Flowage||10020042||Gile Flowage -- Boat Access||6/22/2005||8/22/2021||Map||Data|
|2941600||West Fork Montreal River||10049508||West Fork Montreal River 5m US Unnamed Forest Road||Map||Data|
West Fork Montreal River is located in the Montreal River watershed which is 226.26 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (70%), wetland (22.70%) and a mix of open (3.10%) and other uses (4.10%). This watershed has 382.88 stream miles, 1,369.22 lake acres and 30,742.44 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.
West Fork Montreal River is considered a Cool-Warm Mainstem, Cool-Warm Headwater 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 (Warm-Transition) Headwaters are small, sometimes intermittent streams with cool to warm summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are uncommon to absent, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are common to uncommon. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.