Hydrologic Unit Code: 04030101
Totaling 1,652 square miles, the Manitowac-Sheboygan Watershed includes the Branch River, the North and South Branches of the Manitowac River, the Lower Manitowac River, Sevenmile and Silver Creeks, (all in the Manitowac subwatershed) Sauk and Sucker Creeks, the Black River, the Sheboygan River, the Onion River, the Mullet River, and the Pigeon River (in the Sheboygan River subwatershed). Runoff from specific and diffuse sources, contaminated sediments, habitat degradation (i.e. channalization, dams) have degraded water quality throughout the watershed.
Agriculture is the predominant land use in the watershed which includes pasture land, cropland, and vacant fields. Natural areas, including open water, woodlands, wetlands, parklands and undisturbed non-agricultural lands are the second most abundant land use. Grasslands and barrens are promoted through prescribed burns and mowing.
Recreational highlights include wildlife watching, hiking, fishing, birding, bicycling, golf, horseback riding, snowmobiling, skiing, camping, picnicking and water sports. State facilities such as the Kettle Moraine State Forest, Kohler-Andrae State Parks, Harrington Beach State Park, various state wildlife areas, and the Ice Age National Scenic Trail provide both satisfying and unique recreational experiences. Some streams throughout the watershed have the ability to support trout populations and have spring and fall runs of stocked Steelhead and Salmon. Other fishing opportunities exist in rivers and harbors for Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, and Yellow Perch.
The watershed has two primary ecological landscapes which include Southeast Glacial Plains and Northern Lake Michigan Ecological Landscapes that provide habitat for several species. Wildlife includes White-tailed Deer, Ring-Necked Pheasant, Waterfowl, Geese, Gray and Flying Squirrels, Raccoons, Woodcock, a variety of hawks, songbirds, and shorebirds. The National Heritage Inventory has documented 10 endangered, 20 threatened, and 37 special concern plant and animal species, and 24 rare aquatic and terrestrial communities with the Sheboygan River Basin.
Between 1996 and 2001, there has been a slight increase in developed land, wetland, and grassland, and a slight decrease in farmland and forest.
There have been several environmental concerns for the Sheboygan River Management area that have been identified. They are:
- Water quality problems from in-place pollutants, runoff from urban areas, floodplain development, and agricultural practices.
- Preserve biodiversity and protect threatened and endangered species by preserving their habitat.
- A need for a comprehensive approach to wetland protection and restoration.
- Educate people to prevent the spread of exotic nuisance species
- Monitoring of wildlife populations, water quality, and ecosystem function are needed to understand the status and trends of resources in the basin.
Partnership priorities for the Sheboygan River include:
- Educate members and the public about the ecology of the Sheboygan River Basin and threats to its health.
- Promote sustainable use and recreation in the Sheboygan River Basin and its watersheds.
- Increase public awareness and membership
- Promote sound decision making when issues affect the health of the basin’s rivers and watersheds.
- Support the protection and improvement of the Sheboygan River Basin and its watersheds for the benefit of the general public.
- Develop a working relationship with local officials and collaborate with conservation organizations.
- Promote improved health of the rivers and watersheds through conservation projects and education.
- Purchase or promote the purchase of land or easements for conservation purposes.
Several actions have been undertaken in pursuit of these goals. In particular, numerous projects has been undertaken to install buffers to control runoff. For streams that have been impaired by bacterial contamination, there have been project undertaken to control animal waste runoff. Steps have been taken to acquire public land, remove small ponds and dams, install lunker structures and implement farm runoff management practices.
Willow Creek, a tributary to the Sheboygan River that has its confluence in the AOC, receives annual runs of trout and salmon from Lake Michigan. Surveys have discovered the presence of young brook trout and salmon, indicating some amount of natural reproduction. In light of this, several areas of the stream have been identified for improvements and the SRBP has been meeting with landowners and local municipal officials to discuss improvement projects. The SRBP is also actively seeking funds to implement stream improvements.
Recent trout surveys on the Onion River indicate that a newly instituted fishing regulation change on the river has protected many fish from harvest. The intent is to promote natural reproduction of trout in the system.
Sheboygan River Area of Concern
The Sheboygan River Area of Concern (AOC) encompasses the lower Sheboygan River downstream from the Sheboygan Falls Dam, including the entire harbor and nearshore waters of Lake Michigan. The AOC serves as a sink for pollutants carried from three watersheds: the Sheboygan River, Mullet River and Onion River. Pollutants of concern, both conventional and toxic, have been identified as suspended solids, fecal coliform bacteria, phosphorus, nitrogen, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals. The Sheboygan River Basin is located in portions of five counties. Industrial, agricultural and residential areas line the rivers of the basin. Agriculture is the dominant land use in the area, totaling 67%. The Sheboygan, Onion and Mullet River Basins contain three cities, eleven villages and seven towns. The cities of Sheboygan and Sheboygan Falls and the Village of Kohler are all located within the AOC.
Sheboygan River priorities include remediation of contaminated sediments, nonpoint source pollution control, brownfield and waterfront restoration, and habitat protection and restoration.
In 1985, the lower Sheboygan River and Harbor were designated an AOC because of water quality and habitat problems associated with the historical discharge of pollutants into the AOC and the potential adverse effect the pollutants could have on Lake Michigan. The high levels of nutrients, solids and toxics entering the river had caused a series of problems including nuisance algal blooms, fish consumption advisories and contaminated sediments. The pollutant discharges also were suspected of contributing to the degradation of wildlife, fish, benthos and plankton populations and the reduction in fish and wildlife habitat.
Of the 14 beneficial uses, these are impaired for Sheboygan River:
- Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption
- Eutrophication or undesirable algae
- Degradation of fish and wildlife populations
- Fish tumors or other deformities
- Bird or animal deformities or reproduction problems
- Degradation of benthos
- Degradation of phytoplankton and zooplankton populations
- Restriction on dredging activities
- Loss of fish and wildlife habitat
- Sheboygan River Basin Partnership – www.sheboyganrivers.org
- Lakeshore Basin Website – basineducation.uwex.edu/lakeshore
- Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership – www.lnrp.org
- Sheboygan River Basin DNR Team – www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/gmu/sheboygan
- Vic Pappas, Sheboygan River Basin Water Team Leader – Victor.Pappas@dnr.state.wi.us
- Deb Beyer, UW Extension Basin Educator, Lakeshore & Sheboygan Basins – firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, see the USEPA “Surf Your Watershed” website at http://cfpub.epa.gov/surf/huc.cfm?huc_code=04030101
The Wisconsin DNR divides the Sheboygan-Manitowac watershed (as defined by the USGS) between the Sheboygan basin management area and the Lakeshore basin management area. For more information, see the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ “Wisconsin’s Basins” website at cnr.wi.gov/org/gmu/gmu.html.
Manitowoc-Sheboygan Additional information is available at Michigan State University's Institute for Water Research's Digital Watershed Tool at: http://18.104.22.168/scripts/esrimap.dll?name=watermap&cmd=WFPage&huc=04030101. This site has interactive watershed-based information on industrial facilities discharge sites, toxic release inventory, permit compliance system, water quality stations, bacteria stations, national sediment inventory stations, best management practices, water quality observation stations, weather data stations, impaired waters (reach and area), landcover change (1992-2001), landuse 2001, soil, and elevation.
Watershed Data and Information
USGS Water Resources Links for: 04030101 - Manitowoc-Sheboygan
USGS State Information and Contacts:
- Wisconsin Water Science Center - http://wi.water.usgs.gov/
Current Water Data:
- NWIS Real-time Streamflow Stations Grouped by County in Manitowoc-Sheboygan - HUC 04030101 - http://water.usgs.gov/cgi-bin/inventory.pl?huc=04030101
- NWIS Real-time Water Quality Samples Grouped by County in Manitowoc-Sheboygan - HUC 04030101 - http://water.usgs.gov/cgi-bin/realwaterquality.pl?huc=04030101
- NWIS Real-time Groundwater Sites Grouped by County in Manitowoc-Sheboygan - HUC 04030101 - http://water.usgs.gov/cgi-bin/realgroundwater.pl?huc=04030101
All Water Data (Current and Historic Sites):
- National Water Information System: Mapper - http://wdr.water.usgs.gov/nwisgmap/?state=wi
- NWIS Site Inventory Grouped by County in Manitowoc-Sheboygan - HUC 04030101 - http://water.usgs.gov/cgi-bin/inventory.pl?huc=04030101
- NWIS Water Quality Samples Grouped by County in Manitowoc-Sheboygan - HUC 04030101 - http://water.usgs.gov/cgi-bin/waterquality.pl?huc=04030101
- NWIS Groundwater Inventory Levels Grouped by County in Manitowoc-Sheboygan - HUC 04030101 - http://water.usgs.gov/cgi-bin/groundwater.pl?huc=04030101
Other Data Links:
- Western Lake Michigan Drainages Study Unit, NAWQA - http://wi.water.usgs.gov/wmic/
- USGS GIS Spatial Data Sets Available on the WRD NSDI Node - http://water.usgs.gov/lookup/getgislist?type=huc&value=04030101
- Water Use In The United States - http://water.usgs.gov/watuse
- Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS Data) for the Manitowoc-Sheboygan - HUC 04030101 - http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/SpeciesList.asp?Size=50&Group=&Sortby=1&status=0&FMB=0&pathway=0&HUCNumber=04030101
Current Regional/National Conditions:
- USGS Drought Watch - U.S Map of Drought and Low Flow Conditions - http://water.usgs.gov/waterwatch/?m=dryw&w=map&r=us
- USGS WaterWatch - Real-time Streamflow Map for the Great Lakes Region- HUC 04 - http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/?m=real&r=04&w=real%2Cmap
- USGS WaterWatch - Real-time Floods and High Flow Conditions Map for the Great Lakes Region - HUC 04 - http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/?m=flood&r=04&w=flood%2Cmap
Search USGS for Links, Publications and Web Sites Associated with:
- Manitowoc-Sheboygan - HUC 04030101 - http://search.usgs.gov/results.html?cx=005083607223377578371%3Ab5ixbbpqpx0&cof=FORID%3A11&q=Manitowoc-Sheboygan%20&charset=iso-8859-1
- Northwestern Lake Michigan - HUC 040301 - http://search.usgs.gov/results.html?cx=005083607223377578371%3Ab5ixbbpqpx0&cof=FORID%3A11&q=Northwestern%20Lake%20Michigan%20&charset=iso-8859-1
- Northwestern Lake Michigan - HUC 0403 - http://search.usgs.gov/results.html?cx=005083607223377578371%3Ab5ixbbpqpx0&cof=FORID%3A11&q=Northwestern%20Lake%20Michigan%20&charset=iso-8859-1
- Great Lakes - HUC 04 - http://search.usgs.gov/results.html?cx=005083607223377578371%3Ab5ixbbpqpx0&cof=FORID%3A11&q=Great%20Lakes%20&charset=iso-8859-1
EPA Links for the Manitowoc-Sheboygan - HUC 04030101:
- EPA - Impaired Waters for the Manitowoc-Sheboygan - HUC 04030101 - http://iaspub.epa.gov/tmdl_waters10/huc_rept.control?p_huc=04030101&p_huc_desc=Manitowoc-Sheboygan
- EPA - Storet Watershed Station Summary for the Manitowoc-Sheboygan - HUC 04030101 - http://iaspub.epa.gov/tmdl_waters10/attains_get_services.storet_huc?p_huc=04030101
- EPA - Surf Your Watershed for the Manitowoc-Sheboygan for HUC 04030101 - http://yosemite.epa.gov/water/surfnote.nsf/FTsearchForm?readform&Limit=200&Query=04030101
- EPA - Adopt Your Watershed for the Manitowoc-Sheboygan HUC 04030101 - http://yosemite.epa.gov/water/adopt.nsf/SearchAdopt?SearchView&Query=%2804030101%29
- EPA - EnviroMapper for the Manitowoc-Sheboygan HUC 04030101 - http://map24.epa.gov/EMR/?ZoomToWatershed=04030101
Impaired (303d) Waters
A listing of impaired waters can be found on the U.S. EPA website at: http://iaspub.epa.gov/tmdl_waters10/huc_rept.control?p_huc=04030101&p_huc_desc=Lower Grand River