Yellowstone River, Yellowstone River Watershed (SP04)
Yellowstone River, Yellowstone River Watershed (SP04)
Yellowstone River (902500)
7.50 Miles
17.50 - 25
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.
Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem
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.
2016
Poor
 
This river is impaired
Degraded Biological Community
Total Phosphorus
 
Iowa, Lafayette
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.
WWSF
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
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.

Overview

Yellowstone Lake is a 455-acre impoundment on the Yellowstone River. The lake has a good warm water fishery and experiences a high level of public use because it is within a state park. Water quality has been a problem. Excessive sedimentation and nutrient loading resulted in algae blooms and excessive aquatic plant growth in the past (Eagan, 1988). Lack of adequate aquatic plant growth due to sedimentation has been a more recent problem. Heavy motor boat use and high winds cause excessive wave action resuspending sediment and nutrients and keeping the lake turbid. Carp and bullhead populations in the lake have expanded rapidly (Van Dyck, 1994). Yellowstone Lake is one of the biggest lakes in the driftless region of Wisconsin and has a relatively small watershed-to-lake surface area ratio for impoundments in this region. Thus, the lake may have a better chance of responding to improved land use management than other impoundments in the region

Date  

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Yellowstone River - Mouth location T4N R4E Section 14 - 12, Surface acres = 6.5 acres, Length = 4.9 miles, Gradient = 30.6 feet per mile, Total alkalinity = 279.0 mg/l, Volume of flow = 2.1 cfs.

The Yellowstone River is classified as a warmwater seepage stream which begins in a valley between two ridges. The drainage from one side of the ridges is northeasterly to Dodge Branch and the other drainage is to Otter Creek in Lafayette County to the southwest. Four unnamed tributaries enter in Iowa County. Their total flow is equivalent to approximately 51 percent of the Yellowstone's base flow as measured at the county line. Over 94 percent of the watershed is cleared for beef cattle pasturing. As a result of this type of farming, many areas in the watershed are overpastured. This permits the
rapid runoff of precipitation with subsequent flooding and stream bank erosion. The sport fishery consists of smallmouth bass which are common. Forage fishes which are present include white suckers, bluntnose minnows, common shiners, redbelly dace, creek chubs, fathead minnows, hornyhead chubs, stoneroller minnows, brook stickleback, and johnny darters. Aquatic game is scarce and is limited to some muskrats, green herons and migratory waterfowl on the wider stretches. There are no public lands in the county but it is accessible from five road bridges.

From: Piening, Ronald and Threinen, C.W., 1968. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of
Iowa County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1968

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Yellowstone River, T4N, R4E, Sections 35-11, Surface acres = 10.5, Miles = 4.0, Gradient = 25.0 feet per mile, Total alkalinity = 256 mg/l, Volume of flow = 15..9 cfs. (Average for 11 years).
The Yellowstone River is a warm water drainage stream which begins in Iowa County and flows southerly into the East Branch of the Pecatonica River about one mile above the Town of Argyle. Five miles after it enters Lafayette County
it is impounded forming the 455 acre Yellowstone Lake. Two principal tributaries above the lake are Steiner Branch and Cannon Creek which are both spring-fed. The principal stream entering below the lake is McClintock Creek. There are also four small unnamed streams which enter the river and three which enter the lake. Most of the watershed area within the county is devoted to agriculture. Cropland and pasture cover the uplands.
The floodplain is generally in firm and meadow pasture. The 2,217 acres of state-owned land surrounding Yellowstone Lake are almost entirely wooded. Stream bank erosion varies from light to heavy throughout its length. Rubble and gravel are the most common bottom types with silt present just above Yellowstone Lake and near the mouth.
The sport fishery consists of good populations of smallmouth bass, and channel catfish. Panfish, largemouth bass, brown trout, northern pike and walleyes are also present. Most of these are also found in Yellowstone Lake. Game species present in the watershed include squirrels, pheasants, quail, ruffed grouse in the uplands and ducks and muskrats in and near the stream. Public land in the watershed consists of the Yellowstone Lake Wildlife Area which also provides public access to the river. Access is also possible from three town and two county roads.

From: Piening, Ronald; Poff, Ronald; Threinen, C.W., 1967. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Lafayette County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1967

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Yellowstone River, Yellowstone River Watershed (SP04) Fish and Aquatic LifeYellowstone River, Yellowstone River Watershed (SP04) RecreationYellowstone River, Yellowstone River Watershed (SP04) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of the Yellowstone River showed impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. However, no biological data (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) were available to assess biological impairment at this assessment unit (AU). An upstream AU (13712) was assessed for biology; new macroinvertebrate sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use (i.e. at least one macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) average scored in the poor condition category). Based on the most updated information, this segment of the Yellowstone River (Yellow River inlet to just south of Unnamed Stream (WBIC 5039251)) was proposed for the impaired waters list.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of the Yellowstone River (from just south of the Iowa, Lafayette Co line to the headwaters, miles 17.5-25) showed biological impairment; new macroinvertebrate sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use (i.e. at least one macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) average scored in the poor condition category). Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of the Yellowstone River (miles 0-10.35) showed continued impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. However, there was no new available biological data to observe further biological impairment (i.e. this water was listed in previous water evaluation cycles, but no new macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores were available). Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

Yellow River (902500) from the mouth to Yellow Lake was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use and biological impairment was observed (i.e. at least one macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the poor condition category).

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson

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

Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Category 5A. Only 2012 temperature data was exceeded based on biologist's analysis of data. 2018 TP Results: May Exceed. Station: 333235. AU: 13713.
Water Quality Planning
Yellowstone River TWA [HUC10] 2016

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

Yellowstone River is located in the Yellowstone River watershed which is 57.46 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily grassland (47%), agricultural (30.10%) and a mix of forest (18.80%) and other uses (4.00%). This watershed has 158.93 stream miles, 9.53 lake acres and 636.16 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.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

Yellowstone River is considered a Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem 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.

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