Fish and Aquatic Life
Devil's River is a tributary to the West Twin River and has a moderate gradient (22.7 feet per mile), good substrate and fair water quality. The lower four miles of the river are not classified as trout water, but the Maribel Sportsmens Club has stocked trout in this reach. A stream-shocking survey performed in 1984 on 300 yards of this reach showed that a few trout are still present. The rest of the river is dominated by forage fish including the redside dace (Clinostomus elongatus), which is a "watch" species in Wisconsin. Fisheries managers believe that agricultural runoff and stream intermittency are limiting the fishery throughout the entire stream. With management of nonpoint sources of water pollution, the lower four miles may have the potential to be a Class III trout stream.
From: Willman, Guy and Mike Toneys. 2001. The State of the Lakeshore Basin. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Hacker (1956) surveyed the river and found abundant forage minnows (redside dace, longnose dace, blacknose dace, redbelly dace, creek chub, white sucker, and common shiners) and a few gamefish (rock bass and black bullhead). Most of the fish that were captured were caught in lower sections of the river, while many sites in the upper river were dry or were small non-connected pools of water. Peeters (1984 and 1991) observed a similar mix of species when electrofishing to determine the overwintering survival of stocked brown and rainbow trout in the Devils River. Few trout were found and it appeared overwintering survival was low. Hogler and Surendonk (2003) found a diverse warmwater fish community during surveys conducted in 2002. Several species of dace, including redside dace, common shiner and creek chub dominated the catch. Much lower numbers of northern pike and stocked brown trout were captured. IBI scores indicated that the fish population was fair in the Devils River.
Author Mary Gansberg
Devil's River was recently evaluated during the ten-year period of 2009 through 2018 for results that were reported to the USEPA for the 2020 Clean Water Act condition report. The waterbody is considered impaired, or in poor condition for designated uses which include the quality of fish and aquatic life, recreational use, and public health and welfare (fish consumption and related). Pollutants or problems encountered during sampling (impairments) are determined based on water quality standards outlined in Wisconsin 2020 Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (WisCALM). Assessment results show water conditions that are potentially harmful for Aquatic Life use due to values for total phosphorus that fall into the range expected for an aquatic community in poor health, therefore this water is listed as impaired.
Devil's River (mile 0-6): Assessment results during the 2020 listing cycle show impairment by total phosphorus. Total phosphorus levels were found to be too high for healthy aquatic communities (plants, bugs, fish) according to 2020 WisCALM standards. Based on the most updated information, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list in 2020.
Devil's River (mile 6-15.77): This segment of the river is in either good condition for its designated uses or there is not enough information to assess condition.
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.
NE NW S28 T22N R21E; Devils River, trib;
SW SW S35 T22N R21E; Devils River, trib;
Rivers Management Grant
More funding is needed for nutrient management planning - $250,000 is critical, $500,000 would be excellent.
In order to minimize agricultural runoff from rural areas in the watershed it is necessary to provide funding for nutrient management programs and manure storage.
Adjust NRCS manure storage program so that each pit is eligible for up to $50,000 rather than only one or two per county getting $100,000.
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Clean Boats/Clean Waters volunteers monitor lake and stream public access sites to educate water users of aquatic invasive species prevention steps.
Monitor Fish Community
Monitor invertebrates and fish in the upper reaches of Devils River (use warmwater IBI).
Information and Education
This watershed has the more traditional, smaller farms, so perhaps it would be a good one for encouraging grazing, fence rows, cover crops and other habitat enhancements.
Make water quality data accessible to county staff.
Rivers Management Grant
Increase funding for nutrient management. For example Manitowoc County used to receive $150,000 per year from DATCP, now it receives $22,000 annually.
Wastewater Monitoring or Management
In Manitowoc Countys portion of the watershed, two more manure storage facilities are needed. The old Priority Watershed program had lots of benefits and it has not been replaced with anything comparable.
Monitor Fish Community
Conduct a fish community survey and assess water condition status in the Devils River. Last survey was in 2002
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|
|89900||Devils River||10020783||Devil'S River-300 Feet Below U.S. 141 Bridge.||Map||Data|
|89900||Devils River||10032659||Devils River at Hwy. T N of Maribel||Map||Data|
|89900||Devils River||363266||Devils River - Kvitek Road||3/30/1994||11/8/1994||Map||Data|
|89900||Devils River||363265||Devils River - Kvitek Road||3/30/1994||10/17/2002||Map||Data|
|89900||Devils River||10009831||Devils River - Kritzek Rd ||Map||Data|
|89900||Devils River||10009230||Devils R. (Pleasant Rd.) Stocking||10/17/2002||9/18/2019||Map||Data|
|89900||Devils River||10039597||Devils River 0.5 mi US of Pleasant Rd||5/18/2010||12/16/2012||Map||Data|
|89900||Devils River||10035002||Devils River at Rosencrans Rd (USGS 04085322)||8/14/2006||8/14/2006||Map||Data|
|89900||Devils River||10039193||Devils River at Hwy R||6/14/2017||11/7/2019||Map||Data|
Devils River is located in the West Twin River watershed which is 180.11 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (54.30%), grassland (21.50%) and a mix of wetland (10.60%) and other uses (13.80%). This watershed has 360.91 stream miles, 1,898.59 lake acres and 10,189.53 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Medium 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.This water is ranked High Stream for individual Rivers based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.