Upper Fox River Watershed

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Hydrologic Unit Code: 04030201

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Watershed Overview

The Upper Fox River watershed is approximately 1,637 square miles with over 55,678 acres of major public lands including 51,311 acres of state wildlife, fisheries, and park lands (not including the 11 state natural areas in the basin). It also has 4,367 acres of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife refuge and waterfowl production acres. Over 8% of the basin area is wetland greater than 40 acres in size, accounting for 145,428 acres. Several species which include various waterfowl, amphibians, and reptiles make use of these areas as their natural habitat.

The watershed is also home Duffy’s Marsh, a 1,732 acre wetland restoration project in Marquette County, and is part of the state’s largest Wetland Reserve Restoration Program (WRP).

The most common forest type in the watershed area is Oak-Hickory with the most prominent species being white oak followed by black and pin oak, white and red pine, aspen and soft maple. Common woodland wildlife includes the white-tailed deer, turkey, and ruffed grouse. Grassland areas within the watershed are home to several additional species such as the ring-necked pheasant, non-game songbirds (i.e. vesper sparrow, bobolink, and meadowlark), and nesting waterfowl such as mallards and blue-winged teal.

There are numerous threatened, endangered, and otherwise rare species that exist in the watershed basin, including the threatened White Lady’s Slipper, a species that resides in fens and calcareous wet prairies, and Forster’s Tern, which resides in large marshes, estuaries, and lake islands.

The watershed basin includes the Central Sand Ridges, Southeast Glacial Plains, and a small portion of the Central Sand Plains Ecological Landscapes. The Nature Conservancy identified Eightmile-Waukau Creek within the watershed as a critical ecosystem.

The watershed’s cold water trout streams are generally located in the western potions of the basin near the Sandy Ridges ecosystem. Warm water rivers, streams and lakes support various game and non-game species including large and small mouth bass, walleye, northern pike, catfish, and sturgeon. Several dams have been removed throughout the watershed which has helped the populations of several desirable fish species while the population of exotic species has seen a decline.

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

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Watershed Activities

The Upper Fox Basin Partnership identified three major priorities affecting the natural resources of the watershed and the use of those resources by the public. Those priorities include the loss of wetland areas from fill activities, habitat loss and fragmentation, nutrient loading, and non-point source pollution. Other environmental concerns that were identified include water quality problems from contaminated sediments generated from urban and agricultural areas, floodplain development, and overuse of groundwater supplies.

From a habitat perspective, the concerns were the loss and fragmentation of riparian, wetland, woodland, and grassland habitats from rapid development and conversion of rural lands. In particular, grassland restoration has been made a major initiative with most of the historic prairie, sedge meadows, and oak savannahs converted to agriculture.

The presence of exotic species such as reed canary grass, purple loostrife, buckthorn, garlic mustard, and eurasion milfoil, continue to be a concern throughout the watershed. Stream and lake ecology has been disrupted by the continued growth of the zebra mussel and rusty crayfish populations.

Monitoring of wildlife populations, water quality, and ecosystem function has also been identified as a need to understand the status and trends of the watershed’s natural resources.

Watershed Groups

Additional information is available at Michigan State University's Institute for Water Research's Digital Watershed Tool for the Upper Fox Watershed. 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.

For more information, see the USEPA's “Surf Your Watershed” website or at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ [dnr.wi.gov/org/gmu/gmu.html “Wisconsin’s Basins” website].

Watershed Data and Information

USGS Water Resources Links for: 04030201 - Upper Fox

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 Upper Fox - HUC 04030201:

Impaired (303d) Waters

A listing of impaired waters can be found on the U.S. EPA website for the Upper Fox Watershed


EPA Links for the Upper Fox - HUC 04030201:

Impaired (303d) Waters

A listing of impaired waters can be found on the U.S. EPA website for the Upper Fox Watershed


Subwatersheds for Upper Fox River Watershed

Information on other Lake Michigan subwatersheds can be found at Lake Michigan Subwatershed Information
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HUC Watershed Name
04030201 0101 Sand Spring Creek-Fox River
04030201 0102 Swan Lake-Fox River
04030201 0201 Neenah Lake-Neenah Creek
04030201 0202 Green Creek
04030201 0203 South Branch Neenah Creek
04030201 0204 Big Slough
04030201 0205 Neenah Creek
04030201 0301 Tagatz Creek
04030201 0302 Westfield Creek
04030201 0303 Klawitter Creek
04030201 0304 Montello River
04030201 0401 Headwaters Grand River
04030201 0402 Little Green Lake-Grand River
04030201 0501 Lake Emily
04030201 0502 Grand Lake-Grand River
04030201 0503 Belle Fountain Creek
04030201 0504 Grand River
04030201 0601 Portage Canal-Fox River
04030201 0602 French Creek
04030201 0603 Good Earth Creek-Fox River
04030201 0604 Buffalo Lake-Fox River
04030201 0605 Puckaway Lake-Fox River
04030201 0701 Weddle Creek
04030201 0702 Chafee Creek
04030201 0703 Little Pine Creek-Mecan River
04030201 0704 Mecan River
04030201 0801 West Branch White River
04030201 0802 Soules Creek-White River
04030201 0803 Lunch Creek
04030201 0804 Little Lunch Creek-White River
04030201 0805 Sucker Creek]
04030201 0806 White River
04030201 0901 Silver Creek
04030201 0902 Big Green Lake
04030201 1001 Eight Mile Creek
04030201 1002 Rush Creek
04030201 1101 Black Creek
04030201 1102 Mill Race-Fox River
04030201 1103 Puchyan River
04030201 1104 Town Ditch
04030201 1105 Barnes Creek
04030201 1106 City of Berlin-Fox River
04030201 1107 Hogars Bayou-Fox River
04030201 1201 Spring Brook
04030201 1202 Daggetts Creek
04030201 1203 Brooks Cemetary
04030201 1204 Sawyer Creek
04030201 1205 Lake Butte des Mortes-Fox River