Menominee Watershed

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Hydrologic Unit Code: 04030108

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Watershed Overview

The total watershed basin area covers approximately 4,070 square miles with 2,618 square miles located in Michigan and 1,452 square miles located in Wisconsin. The Menominee River itself forms the boundary between Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in Marinette, Florence, Forest, Vilias, Menominee, Dickinson, and Iron counties before draining into Lake Michigan. The Menominee system is comprised of a number of large and small tributaries, the major tributaries being the Michigamme, Brule, Pine, Paint, Iron, and Sturgeon Rivers. The Menominee originates at the confluence of the Michigamme and Brule Rivers and flows approximately 115 miles to the east toward the waters of Green Bay.

Topography in the Menominee River Watershed was formed and heavily altered by periodic glaciation, the most recent of which was the Wisconsin period – 10,000-20,000 years ago. The region is characterized by lakes, glacial plains, end moraines, and poorly integrated east to west drainage. Bedrock outcrops and moraine deposits in the northern river basin create a more rugged terrain with a maximum elevation of 1300 feet, giving the basin a gradient of approximately 5 feet per mile. The Menominee basin consists mostly of sand and gravel called outwash which is underlain by dolomite.

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Historic mining in the watershed was a catalyst for growth. Active resource exploitation and land use changes occurred throughout the watershed in the mid 1800’s. Iron ore deposits were discovered in the 1850’s on the western edge of the Menominee Iron Range and numerous mines opened shortly after, particularly in the Iron Mountain, Michigan area.

The logging era impacted water quality and physical habitat conditions in the watershed as well. The rivers and streams were used extensively for log drives during the 1880’s and 1890’s. Some of the developed areas are constructed on man-made soils that were deposited during the lumbering boom around the turn of the century. The man-made soils are composed of sawdust and waste wood that was discarded and then overlain wit sand or topsoil as the building surface. These unstable soils have impacted many structures with excessive settling and alignment shifting.

Two large impoundments are located on the Sturgeon River including Genes Pond and the Hardwood Reservoir. These impoundments modify river temperatures and influence downstream fish and macroinvertabrate communities. Warmwater fish species such as walleye, black crappie, and yellow perch are now common in the Sturgeon River downstream of these impoundments. Additionally, the Menominee River is a sturgeon spawning area.

The major economic activities are logging, paper making, tourism, and potato farming. Piers Gorge Whitewater area offers a recreational benefit by providing a big-water, carry up park-and-play whitewater rafting area.

The Nature Conservancy has identified the Pine-Popple River as having a critical, large to moderate groundwater flow and small to medium-sized streams on outwash and course ground/end moraine. In addition, the Lower Menominee River has been identified as a critical ecological system with riverine coastal march, lake sturgeon, and skillet clubtail.

Between 1996 and 2001, there has been a slight increase in developed land and farmland, and a slight decrease in grassland, and wetland.

Watershed Activities

The Wisconsin portion of the watershed is included in the Wisconsin DNR’s Upper Green Bay Basin Management Area.

There are ongoing efforts to address non-point source pollution throughout the watershed to protect and restore creeks, lakes and streams within the watershed from further degradation. Grants have targeted sediment and nutrient pollution caused by road crossings, forest harvest practices, agriculture, cropland erosion, ORV trail crossing, and eroding streambanks. The watershed has also received funding to promote education about Best Management Practices and non-point source pollution control. Consistent with the Wilderness Shores Settlement (WSS), the Wisconsin Electric Power Company is required to remove a 65 foot dam located on the Sturgeon River near Loretto, Michigan. This dam removal project was scheduled to be completed in 2007.

Menominee River Area of Concern

The Menominee River Areas of Concern (AOC) is located in the Menominee River watershed and includes the lower three miles (4.8 km) of the river from the Upper Scott Paper Company (Wisconsin) Dam to the river's mouth and approximately 3.1 miles (5 km) north and south of the mouth along the adjacent shoreline of Green Bay. The AOC also includes the cities of Marinette and Menominee, as well as the adjacent nearshore area of Green Bay, Wisconsin, extending three miles north to John Henes Park and south of the river mouth to the point of land known as Seagull Bar. The AOC also includes Green Island.

Land use in the AOC is primarily industrial and residential. A chemical company, two paper mills, two municipal wastewater treatment plants, a ship building company, and a foundry are located along the river. The AOC watershed is shared between Michigan and Wisconsin. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is the lead agency working on the Ansul Fire Protection Company site. The Wisconsin DNR is providing support.

Beneficial Use Impairments

Of the 14 beneficial uses, these are impaired for Menominee River:

  • Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption
  • Degradation of fish and wildlife populations
  • Beach closings
  • Degradation of benthos
  • Restriction on dredging activities
  • Loss of fish and wildlife habitat

Watershed Groups

  • Dickinson Conservation District –
  • Hamilton, Fumee, and Pine Creek Watershed Projects –;;

  • Menominee River Area of Concern –
  • Menominee River RAP, Great Lakes Commission –

For more information, see the USEPA “Surf Your Watershed” website at or contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment at 517-335-6969 to request a copy of the following reports:

  • MI/DEQ/WD-03/039, “A Biological Survey of Selected Streams in the Menominee River Watershed, Dickinson County, 2002”
  • MI/DEQ/WB-08/020, “A Biological Survey of the Menominee River Watershed including the Iron, Brule, Paint, Michigamme, Sturgeon, and Little Cedar River Subwatersheds, Barage, Dickinson, Iron, Marquette, and Menominee Counties, Michigan, June 2007.”

Watershed Management Plans

  • Fumee Creek – Dickinson Conservation District –
  • Hamilton Creek – Dickinson Conservation District –
  • Pine Creek (Dickinson Co) – Dickinson Conservation District –

Additional information is available at Michigan State University's Institute for Water Research's Digital Watershed Tool at: 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: 04030108 - Menominee

USGS State Information and Contacts:

Current Water Data:

All Water Data (Current and Historic Sites):

Other Data Links:

Current Regional/National Conditions:

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EPA Links for the Menominee - HUC 04030108:

Impaired (303d) Waters

A listing of impaired waters can be found on the U.S. EPA website at: River


Subwatersheds for the Menominee River Watershed

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Information on other Lake Michigan subwatersheds can be found at:
HUC Watershed Name
04030108 0101 Little Popple River
04030108 0102 Upper Popple River
04030108 0103 South Branch Popple River
04030108 0104 Middle Popple River
04030108 0105 Laman Tangue Creek
04030108 0106 Woods Creek
04030108 0107 Lower Popple River
04030108 0201 North Branch Pine River
04030108 0202 McDonald Creek-Pine River
04030108 0203 Jones Creek
04030108 0204 Stevens Creek
04030108 0205 Kingstone Creek-Pine River
04030108 0206 Fay Lake Outlet
04030108 0207 Wakefield Creek/Johnson Creek-Pine River
04030108 0208 Keys Lake-Pine River
04030108 0209 Halls Creek-Pine River
04030108 0301 North Branch Sturgeon River
04030108 0302 Gestner Branch-West Branch Sturgeon River
04030108 0303 Mill Pond-West Branch Sturgeon River
04030108 0304 Genes Pond Dam-East Branch Sturgeon River
04030108 0305 Sixmile Creek-East Branch Sturgeon River
04030108 0306 Skunk Creek-East Branch Sturgeon River
04030108 0307 Peronto Lake-East Branch Sturgeon River
04030108 0308 West Branch Sturgeon River
04030108 0309 East Branch Sturgeon River
04030108 0401 Tailings Pond Outlet-Pine Creek
04030108 0402 Seiberts Creek-Pine Creek
04030108 0403 Breen Creek-Sturgeon River
04030108 0404 Cassidy Creek-Sturgeon River
04030108 0405 Beaver Creek-Sturgeon River
04030108 0406 Pine Creek
04030108 0407 Hamilton Creek
04030108 0408 Sturgeon Creek
04030108 0501 Headwaters South Branch Pembonwon River
04030108 0502 South Branch Pembonwon River
04030108 0503 Spikehorn Creek-North Branch Pembonwon River
04030108 0504 North Branch Pembonwon River
04030108 0505 Sullivan Creek-North Branch Pembonwon River
04030108 0506 Pembonwon River
04030108 0601 Headwaters South Branch Pike River
04030108 0602 Little South Branch Pike River
04030108 0603 South Branch Pike River
04030108 0604 Upper North Branch Pike River
04030108 0605 Middle North Branch Pike River
04030108 0606 Lower North Branch Pike River
04030108 0607 Pike River
04030108 0701 Twin Falls Dam-Menominee River
04030108 0702 Henry Ford Dam-Menominee River
04030108 0703 Little Popple River
04030108 0704 Big Quininnesec Dam-Menominee River
04030108 0705 Little Quinnesec Falls-Menominee River
04030108 0706 Sturgeon Dam-Menominee River
04030108 0707 Silver Creek-Menominee River
04030108 0708 Pemenee Creek
04030108 0709 Miscauno Creek
04030108 0710 Chalk Hill Dam-Menominee River
04030108 0711 White Rapids Dam-Menominee River
04030108 0712 Squaw Creek-Menominee River
04030108 0801 Holmes Creek-Little Cedar River
04030108 0802 Schetter Creek-Little Cedar River
04030108 0803 Hays Creek
04030108 0804 Ross Creek-Little Cedar River
04030108 0805 Little Cedar River
04030108 0901 Little Shakey Creek-Shakey River
04030108 0902 Shakey River
04030108 0903 Holmes Creek-Menominee River
04030108 0904 Wolf Creek
04030108 0905 Wausaukee River
04030108 0906 The Oxbow-Menominee River
04030108 0907 Phillips Creek
04030108 0908 Grand Rapid Dam-Menominee River
04030108 0909 Maggies Island-Menominee River
04030108 0910 Twin Creek
04030108 0911 Hanson Creek-Little River
04030108 0912 Little River
04030108 0913 Menominee River