Willow River Water Quality Project

Project Background

  • The North and South Forks of the Willow River are 303 (d) listed by WI DNR for high phosphorus (P) levels and decreased fish and aquatic life.
  • Completed Total Daily Maximum Load (TMDL) and Implementation Plans have been completed which indicate the need to increase Best Management Practice (BMP) adoption to improve water quality.
  • The Willow River Water Quality Project is funded for three years through a Targeted Runoff Management grant obtained from WI DNR.
  • Local support for this project includes the St. Croix River Association, the local Trout Unlimited chapter, Pheasants Forever, the Dry Run Farmer Led Council, and the St. Croix County Sportsman Alliance.

Project Area

  • Project cost-share will be targeted into two HUC 12 sub-watersheds: Southfork of Willow and the Black Brook Creek
  • View map of project area
  • BMPs applied in the project area are eligible for cost-share.

Project Goals

  • Improve water quality in the Willow River and downstream Lake St. Croix
  • Enhance the existing 32 miles of trout habitat in the Willow River
  • Reduce phosphorous loading into the Willow River by 2500 lbs/year
  • Reduce sediment loading into the Willow River by 11,400 tons/year
  • Provide cost-share to landowners to apply BMP’s

Willow River Cost-Share Program

Cost-Shared Management Practices

  • Cover Crops – (1 – 2 species)  $20 per acre
  • Cover Crops – (3+ species)      $40 per acre 
  • Nutrient Management Plan       $40 per acre

Cost Shared Structural Practices ( Cost Shared at 70% of total cost)

  • Manure storage closure
  • Cattle trail and access walkways, stream crossings
  • Critical Area Stabilization
  • Water Diversion
  • Field Filter Strips
  • Grade Stabilization Structures
  • Heavy Use Area Protection
  • Livestock fencing and watering
  • Prescribed grazing system
  • Well Decommissioning
  • Wetland Development or Restoration
  • Streambank Stabilization

How to Get Started 

  • View map to determine if your proposed project is located in the project area.
  • Contact County Technical staff stating your interest in the project here.
  • Schedule a field visit with staff to view your proposed project and discuss options.
  • Sign a cost share contract.
  • Implement the project as designed and outlined in the cost-share contract.

Helpful Links

WI DNR Lake St Croix WI DNR Lake St Croix TMDL Information Page

Lake St Croix TMDL Implementation Plan

Lake St Croix TMDL Plan (2012)