The watershed drains gently rolling agricultural and wooded lands and features a number of cold water streams. Ths watershed contains eight Class I and 25 Class II trout streams. Fish surveys documented both brook and brown trout in the streams, however brook trout dominate the cold water fishery.
Water resource problems documented during the appraisal include streambank erosion, sedimentation of riffle and pool areas, organic and nutrient loading from animal waste and elevated stream temperatures. The straightening of streams and beaver dams are detrimental to some streams in this watershed.
The South Fork Hay River Watershed is located primarily in the Western Coulee and Ridges Ecological Landscape in southwestern and west central Wisconsin which is characterized by its highly eroded, driftless topography and relatively extensive forested landscape. Soils are silt loams (loess) and sandy loams over sandstone residuum over dolomite. Several large rivers including the Wisconsin, Mississippi, Chippewa, Kickapoo and Black flow through or border the Ecological Landscape.
Historical vegetation consisted of southern hardwood forests, oak savanna, scattered prairies, and floodplain forests and marshes along the major rivers. With Euro-American settlement, most of the land on ridgetops and valley bottoms was cleared of oak savanna, prairie, and level forest for agriculture. The steep slopes between valley bottom and ridgetop, unsuitable for raising crops, grew into oak-dominated forests after the ubiquitous presettlement wildfires were suppressed. Current vegetation is a mix of forest (40%), agriculture, and grassland with some wetlands in the river valleys. The primary forest cover is oak-hickory (51%) dominated by oak species and shagbark hickory. Maple-basswood forests (28%), dominated by sugar maple, basswood and red maple, are common in areas that were not subjected to repeated presettlement wildfires. Bottomland hardwoods (10%) are common in the valley bottoms of major rivers and are dominated by silver maple, ashes, elms, cottonwood, and red maple. Relict conifer forests including white pine, hemlock and yellow birch are a rarer natural community in the cooler, steep, north slope microclimates.
River and Stream QualityAll Waters in Watershed
The South Fork of the Hay River watershed was selected in October, 1993, as a large-scale priority watershed project under the Wisconsin Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Abatement Program. A water resource appraisal initiated in March, 1994 and was completed in March, 1995. Monitoring consisted of fish surveys, macroinvertebrate sampling, temperature monitoring and habitat assessment. Water quality monitoring and a rooted aquatic plant survey were also conducted on Glen Lake.
Date 1996 Watershed Trout StreamsWatershed Outstanding & Exceptional Resources
Lakes and Impoundments
Impaired WatersList of Impaired Waters
Confirm FCA: IW pre-2000 data
South Fork Hay River TP
Category 2. 2018 TP Results: May Exceed. Station: 10010864. AU: 15722.
Wetland protection and restoration should continue for habitat conservation, wildlife production, and water quality improvements.