The Upper Yellow River Watershed is the headwaters for the Yellow River. It is located in southwestern Taylor County with a small section extending into Chippewa County. The upper half of the watershed lies within the Chequamegon National Forest. The lower portion of the watershed has a significant amount of agricultural activity. The southern half of the watershed consists of glacial end moraines. Nearly all the natural lakes are located in this area, their watersheds draining primarily forested land. Agricultural land becomes more common in the western third of this area. Shoreline development around the lakes is limited. The northern half of the watershed consists of ground moraine.
The Chequamegon Waters Flowage is an impoundment in this area, draining mostly forested land and numerous large wetlands. Agricultural land use becomes dominant to the west of the Flowage. Most of the streams in the watershed are small, low gradient streams that support warm water forage fish communities.
The watershed has 12 lakes larger than 10 acres, with a combined area of 3,071 acres. The 2,714-acre Chequamegon Waters Flowage accounts for 88 percent of the watershed's lake surface area. Two of the lakes are shallow impoundments in the Pershing Wildlife Area, managed by WDNR for wildlife production. Fish tissue monitoring for mercury on the Chequamegon Waters Flowage resulted in a listing on the current fish advisory.
Self-help monitoring volunteers would be instrumental in obtaining information on the Chequamegon Waters Flowage, Jerry, Nineteen, Salem, and Spruce Lakes.
The North Central Forest Ecological Landscape occupies much of the northern third of Wisconsin. Its landforms are characterized by end and ground moraines with some pitted outwash and bedrock controlled areas. Kettle depressions and steep ridges are found in the northern portion. Two prominent areas in this Ecological Landscape are the Penokee-Gogebic Iron Range in the north extending into Michigan, and Timm's Hill, the highest point in Wisconsin (1,951 feet) in the south. Soils consist of sandy loam, sand, and silts. The vegetation is mainly forest, with many wetlands and some agriculture, though the growing season is not as favorable as it is in southern Wisconsin. Lake Superior greatly influences the northern portion of the Ecological Landscape especially during the winter season, producing greater snowfall than in most areas in Wisconsin.
The historic vegetation was primarily hemlock-hardwood forest dominated by hemlock, sugar maple, and yellow birch. There were some smaller areas of white and red pine forest scattered throughout the Ecological Landscape, and individual white pines trees were a component of the hemlock-hardwood forest. Harvesting hemlock to support the tanneries was common at the turn of the century, and the species soon became a minor component of forests due to over-harvesting and lack of regeneration. Currently, forests cover approximately 80% of this Ecological Landscape. The northern hardwood forest is dominant, made up of sugar maple, basswood, and red maple, and also including some scattered hemlock and white pine pockets within stands. The aspen-birch forest type group is also relatively abundant, followed by spruce-fir. A variety of wetland community types also are present, both forested and non-forested.
Monitoring & Projects
Projects including grants, restoration work and studies shown below have occurred in this watershed. Click the links below to read through the text. While these are not an exhaustive list of activities, they provide insight into the management activities happening in this watershed.
Confirm FCA: IW pre-2000 data
Yellow River TP
Category 3. 2018 TP Results: May Exceed. Station: 613123. AU: 16186.
Yellow River TP
Category 3. 2018 TP Results: May Exceed. Station: 10016979. AU: 1525718.
Watershed History Note
The Village of Gilman is located in Taylor County in the Upper Yellow River watershed. In the middle to late 1800's when the Northwestern Lumber Company started logging it off, the Gilman area was a vast area of wooded lands. There were several Indian tribes in the area including the Chippewa, Menominee, Huron, and the Kickapoo. Most migrated up the Yellow River and its tributaries. Prior to the arrival of the railroad in the early 1900's, most of the people in the area were loggers living in many logging camps.
Gilman was named after Sallie Gilman, wife of Delos R. Moon, President of the Northwestern Lumber Company. In the original plot of the village of Gilman, the streets were named after their children. In 1902, the first train arrived in Gilman. In the years that followed, new tracks and railroads came and went, and in 2001, the Canadian National bought the Wisconsin Central and now use this as their main line to Chicago and on to New Orleans.