Wisconsin River

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

Last year was the wettest year on record in the Wisconsin River basin.

That meant reservoirs were full, and challenging spring weather could put stress on the system.

But the forecasts are looking better than anticipated.

The Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company manages flows on the Wisconsin River and operates five dams on major reservoirs.

The company had to aggressively draw down water levels over the winter after last year’s record precipitation.

But company vice president of operations Peter Hansen said the spring, so far, has been manageable.

Pixabay.com Colbystout

The Wisconsin River has humble beginnings in Vilas county and winds through much of the state and grows until it reaches the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently approved a long range DNR plan aiming to reduce phosphorus in a vast area of Wisconsin spanning the central corridor and covering more than 9,100 square miles.

The plan is known as Wisconsin River Basin Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan, which sets guidelines on phosphorus. Excessive phosphorus runoff causes poor water quality.

Wisconsin DNR

A public hearing is set for next week in Stevens Point to discuss water quality in the Wisconsin River Basin.

The DNR is accepting public comments on a draft study. The draft Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Study provides a blueprint for water quality improvement.

DNR spokesperson Raechelle Belli says the meeting will help finalize the process before the report is sent to the Environmental Protection Agency.

She outlines why a study of this type is important to Wisconsin River water quality...


A Rhinelander area man is one of the presenters Friday(7-6) at Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua about Wisconsin's waters.

The "Water Talk" includes people doing research on water protection, along with members of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Wisconsin Green Fire, a group of retired scientists, many from the DNR.

Wikimedia Commons

One of three meetings is being held in Rhinelander next month to talk about a DNR plan to limit the amount of pollution, especially phosphorus, that rolls into the Wisconsin River Basin.

DNR water resources engineer Kevin Kirsch says the meetings will talk about Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, going into the river system. He says the goal is to figure out how much pollution a body of water can receive and still meet water quality standards...

Wikimedia Commons

The Grandmother Flowage fishery is again open for fishing following completion of dam repairs and the restoration of water levels. Ken Krall reports....

The Grandmother Flowage is a 758 acre reservoir on the Wisconsin River in central Lincoln County that runs for about 7 miles downstream from the Pride Dam ..which forms Lake Mohawksin... to the Grandmother Dam. In early September, the flowage was drawn down 14 feet for the repair work, leaving fish in the concentrated pool vulnerable to overharvest.


A Milwaukee filmmaker is navigating the length of the Wisconsin River on a paddleboard while doing a documentary about the state's longest river.

30 year old Jesse Heib started at the headwaters near Land O' Lakes on Friday.

He says he's a big paddleboarder and after talking with members of the River Alliance and having them explain the significance of the river he thought a paddle and a documentary would go well together....

Rainy Forecast Prompts River Flooding Worries

Sep 8, 2014
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

We’re still drying out from last week’s storm…and another is on its way.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for Tuesday night through Wednesday night. 

Water levels on the Wisconsin River are already elevated from last week’s rainfall. 

The Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company has been releasing water from many of its reservoirs.

As Operations Manager Peter Hansen explains, rainfall reports Thursday and Friday ranged from2.5  to 6 inches. 

A meeting has been called Saturday morning in Rhinelander to hear the results of studies on a growing population of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species in the Wisconsin River near Rhinelander.

Called the Rhinelander Flowage, it's the area north of the Philip St. dam by Expera Paper north to McNaughton, including several large bodies of water including Boom Lake.

Scott Eshelman is an organizer of the meeting.....

Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company

  An official from Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company says there's a 50 percent chance of flooding this spring along the Wisconsin River. Peter Hansen is WVIC's Operations Manager. He says with the raised chance of flooding, the interested parties along the river are staying touch..  

DNR Funds Rhinelander Boat Landing

Oct 8, 2013
Joshua Mayer

The city of Rhinelander is getting funds to pay for a new boat landing.  

More than $400,000 are coming in from DNR and federal grants.  City Parks and Grounds Director Gunder Paulson says the launch will be at the site of an old DNR ranger station.

“We’re calling this the Boyce Drive boat landing.  It’s right by Shephard  Park.  And it’s at the confluence of the Pelican and Wisconsin Rivers.  Very beautiful spot.”

The project will consist of piers and a paved boat launch area.  It will also include bathrooms and a parking lot.