The website Namekagon River Research summarizes a research project “Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway Understanding Fish Habitat History in the Namekagon River—Cold Water Zone” conducted in the 06/01/2008 – 05/01/2009 period.
The project examined the following hypotheses:
- The river is wider and shallower now than it was prior to European settlement.
- The river has less big woody cover on the banks and in the stream channel than it did historically, due primarily to riparian timber harvest and log driving activities more than a century ago.
- Brook trout and other cold-water species were more abundant before the logging era.
“We have reviewed the historical habitat of the Namekagon River from pre-logging conditions through present-day. Results suggest that the Namekagon River is not significantly different in width compared to pre-logging. However, a deeper, narrower channel is often typical of rivers impacted by logging drives. Logging effectively reduced large woody debris, which provides habitat for fish. A primary focus for managing and restoring the river is recovery of native brook trout, an important sport fish in the cold-water zone. Although we have inferred that brook trout were abundant in the Namekagon River prior to logging, they have been limited to the cold-water tributaries post-logging. Our expectation is that the results will be used by the National Park Service and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as a baseline to guide future restoration projects.”
Project Report also includes a history of the upper Namekagon River. It can be viewed/downloaded (requires Adobe Reader):
Fish Habitat History Report 6-24-09
General Management Plan – Upper St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers
National Park Service – 1998 (requires Adobe Reader):
Fisheries Management Plan – Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers
National Park Service ~ 2000
[Report not yet available]
Representatives from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), the NPS, and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) met several times over the period from 1994-2000 to develop this plan. To begin this process, the committee agreed on six goals for the Riverway:
¨ Maintain, or, where necessary, restore the integrity of near-natural riverine plant, fish, and wildlife communities.
¨ Maintain, restore, and evaluate habitat to provide sustainable fisheries.
¨ Manage the river corridor to restore or maintain a climax riparian vegetative cover.
¨ Recognize treaty-reserved rights and resources within the Riverway.
¨ Develop a fisheries management strategy that places primary emphasis on habitat protection over promotion and development of recreational uses.
¨ Fisheries habitat restoration activities will focus on correcting detrimental, human induced, habitat alterations; mimic or use natural processes and features; be applied to accelerate well studied recovery needs.
The committee then divided the Riverway into five zones:
♦ Warmwater Riverine Zone (St. Croix River from Gordon Dam downstream to Prescott, Wisconsin and the NamekagonRiver downstream from Trego, Wisconsin to its confluence with the St. Croix).
♦ Impoundments (Hayward, Trego, Indianhead, Pacwawong, and Phipps).
♦ Tributary Streams (all segments).
♦ Coldwater Riverine (Namekagon River from Namekagon Lake to Hayward).
♦ Coolwater Riverine (Namekagon River from Hayward to Trego).
After delineating the Riverway into the five zones, the committee followed a similar process for each zone. This process had four steps, as follows:
♦ Identify aquatic resource issues and management problems.
♦ Describe the baseline condition and what is currently known about the existing fisheries.
♦ Describe the desired future conditions and develop a schedule for their achievement.
♦ Identify informational, monitoring, and/or management needs.
WDNR Namekagon River Fishery Supertable (requires Adobe Reader)
Namekagon Fishery Super Table
Link to St. Croix National Scenic Riverway general information
Link to a Checklist of Fishes of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
Link to University of Minnesota Great Lakes-Northern Forest CESU