The Suamico and Little Suamico Rivers arise in eastern Shawano County and flow easterly to Green Bay, draining 139 square miles. Streams in this watershed are generally small and shallow and are not conducive to the development of a sport fishery.
The depth to groundwater is often shallow and large swampy areas are common. Near Green Bay, and inland for several miles, wetlands are especially prominent and are valuable spawning habitat for Green Bay sport fish species.Primary land use in the watershed is agricultural, with dairy farming most prevalent.
Population in the watershed likely will expand as the city of Green Bay grows outward with residential areas spreading to rural regions as subdivisions and housing projects are built. Shallow depths to groundwater and tight soil conditions make areas in the watershed unfavorable for subsurface soil absorption sewage disposal systems. Caution is necessary to ensure adequate disposal systems and sanitary sewers are provided to prevent water pollution and health hazards.
Nonpoint and Point Sources
Point source dischargers to surface waters in the Suamico and Little Suamico River watershed include the village of Pulaski Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Little Suamico Sanitary District WWTP.
Green Bay Dressed Beef landspreads paunch manure and clear rinse water at several field sites in the watershed. The village of Pulaski will soon be connecting with the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District and its WWTP will no longer discharge to the Little Suamico River.
The Suamico and Little Suamico Rivers Watershed is located primarily within the Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Ecological Landscape which is located in northeastern Wisconsin, and includes Green Bay and the northern part of the Door Peninsula. Its landforms consist of the Niagara escarpment, a prominent dolomite outcropping along the east side of Green Bay, a lacustrine plain along the west side of Green Bay, and ground moraine elsewhere. Low sand dunes and beach ridges that support Great Lakes endemics and many other rare species are found along the Great Lakes shoreline. The influence of Lake Michigan moderates extreme temperatures. Soils are very diverse; in some areas, lacustrine sands are found overlying clays or bedrock within only a few feet of the surface. In the Door Peninsula, soils are typically stony loamy sands to loams. Poorly drained sands are common in the lake plain or in depressions between dunes and beach ridges. On the western side of Green Bay, the ground moraine is composed mostly of moderately well drained, rocky sandy loams, interspersed with lacustrine sands and clays, and peat and muck also common.
Historic vegetation included maple-basswood-beech forest, hemlock-hardwood forest, northern white cedar swamp, hardwood-conifer swamp, wet meadows, and coastal marshes. Conifer dominated upland forests that resemble the boreal forest were present along Lake Michigan; they contain a significant component of white spruce and balsam fir. Cliffs, sinkholes, and dolomite ledges are associated with the Niagara Escarpment. Current vegetation consists of more than 60% non-forested land, most of which is in agricultural crops, with smaller amounts of grassland, wetland, shrubland, and urbanized areas. Forested lands are dominated by maple-basswood, with smaller amounts of lowland hardwoods, aspen-birch, and lowland conifers. High quality areas of exposed alkaline bedrock beach occur on the northern Door Peninsula, providing habitat for many rare plants. Several islands lie off the Door Peninsula and these also provide critical habitat for rare species and colonially nesting birds.
Two threatened species of fish. the redfin shiner (Lythrurus umbratilis) and the longear sunfish (Lepomis megalotis). have been reported in the Suamico River. The threatened wood turtle (Clemmys insculpta) breeds and over-winters in portions of the river.
Monitor to follow up on mIBI values from 2003 data.
Cat Island Chain Wetlands Restoration Project
Habitat destruction and degradation due to fluctuating lake levels have negatively impacted habitat and wildlife in this Area of Concern (AOC). This destruction has led to altered food webs, a loss of biodiversity, and a poorly functioning ecosystem. Restoring the Cat Island Chain by constructing a 2.5 mile wave barrier along the remnant Cat Island Shoals is an opportunity for the protection and restoration of the largest and most critical wetland habitat in the Great Lakes.
Water Plans and PartnershipsRead the Watershed Plan
Date 2011 Watershed History Note
The Village of Pulaski, located at the intersection of Shawano, Brown and Oconto counties, in the Suamico and Little Suamico watershed, was named for the Polish Count Kazimierz (Casimer) Pulaski, the great freedom fighter of Europe and America. Pulaski fought the Russians in his native Poland from 1770 to 1772. He later fought with General George Washington at Brandywine during the Revolutionary War from 1777-1778. After this battle, Washington made him a Brigadier General for gallantry in commanding cavalry troops. With congressional consent, Pulaski found an independent cavalry corps (Pulaski Legion). For this reason, he became known as the Father of the American Cavalry. In October 1779, General Pulaski was mortally wounded while fighting with American and French forces against the British at Savannah.
John J. Hoff, an agent of the General Land Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin was responsible for settling the area that is now Pulaski. Hoff encouraged Polish families in Milwaukee and in other cities to sell their homes and to buy land in Wisconsin. In 1883 the first settlers arrived in this area of second growth trees and brush to attempt farming. The trailblazers were Rudolf Wroblewski and Anthony Kulas. Then John Boncel came and set up a saw mill and a general store. They, at that time, determined to name their little colony after their Polish hero Pulaski. By 1885 there were 35 families in the area.
Pulaski is host to the annual "Pulaski Polka Days", which is one of the largest festivals dedicated to the Polish in the United States. Thousands have traveled to the tiny town outside of Green Bay since 1978 for music, parades, dancing and Polish cuisine. Located on the Pulaski Polka Grounds and Zielinski's Ballroom every July, the festival draws the nations best Polka Bands. The festival closes each year with its Polka Day Parade, and traditional Polka Catholic Mass.