Bad River Watershed Association

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Welcome to the Bad River Watershed Association

Started in 2002 by a group of local dedicated citizens, the Bad River Watershed Association was formed as a non-profit to promote a healthy relationship between the people and natural communities of the Bad River watershed by involving all citizens in assessing, maintaining and improving watershed integrity for future generations.

The Bad River Watershed (BRW) drains over 1,000 square miles along Wisconsin’s north shore. The headwaters are found in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The lower one-third of the watershed is land of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribes of Chippewa Indians Reservation. Small, rural communities including Mellen, Odanah, Gurney, Mason, Grand View, Delta and Marengo are scattered throughout the watershed. The Kakagon Slough/Bad River Slough, located at the mouth of the watershed on Lake Superior, is the largest and possibly most pristine freshwater estuary remaining on Lake Superior and is the only remaining extensive coastal wild rice wetland in the Great Lakes Basin. The Bad River watershed is home to sturgeon spawning grounds, pristine coldwater trout streams, prime wolf habitat, and many more outstanding plant, fish and wildlife communities.

The Bad River Watershed Association is pleased to announce our new vision for 2016 and beyond - including the expansion of our reach from Red Cliff to Michigan

As we consider the future of the BRWA, we realize the time for growth has arrived. Lake Superior and the Chequamegon Bay region in particular are precious to many. People count on clean water and healthy natural resources for their employment, recreation and daily life. The rivers and streams that empty into the Bay and Lake have an impact on these waters and the resources within, like fish and wild rice.

Click to continue reading our full statement..

Connecting People, Land, and Water

Citizen Scientists Needed!

The Bad River Watershed Association (BRWA) is seeking citizen scientists to help collect aquatic macroinvertebrates for our volunteer water quality monitoring program. We will host volunteer training events on May 7 and May 13. These free programs are open to the general public, and may be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about the organization and how aquatic macroinvertebrates can provide important information about water quality in our local streams and rivers.

Additionally, there will be two lab identification sessions held at Northland College for the volunteers, which are also open to the public. The dates and locations for all BRWA macroinvertebrate monitoring events are as follows:

Group Training Sessions

  • Option 1: Sunday, May 7, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM

Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge shelter—Wickstrom Rd (off Cherryville Rd, Ashland)

  • Option 2: Saturday, May 13, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Kimball Falls, off Park Rd in Kimball (4 miles west of Hurley)

One-on-one training is available for those unable to attend a group training event. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Sampling – May 7-21

Volunteers will choose their preferred monitoring location from a number of available sites on area rivers and streams. They will work in small teams to collect one macroinvertebrate sample anytime during the two-week sampling period. This fieldwork takes roughly four hours to complete.

Lab ID Sessions

Northland College CSE (Science Building) Rm 125

  • Wednesday, May 31, 5:30 PM—8:00 PM
  • Saturday, June 3, 9:30 AM—12:00 PM

Individuals wishing to volunteer or attend a training session must RSVP to 715-682-2003 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Volunteers may participate in any or all of these monitoring activities. All ages and abilities are welcome.

Download the Macroinvertebrate Monitoring Flyer


Join the March for Science - April 22, Ashland

Join this satellite march in solidarity with the March for Science in Washington DC. We'll start at the Chequamegon Food Co-op parking lot and march down Main Street in Ashland, ending at the Memorial Park band shell. We ask that people park on the street and not in the co-op parking lot.

The Bad River Watershed Association is a citizen science organization. We believe that the best available scientific methods serve as the foundation for action and decision-making about our watershed resources.

"The March for Science champions publicly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good, and for political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest." - March mission statement

Also, in honor of Earth Day and the importance of science, the Bay Area Film Society and Citizen's Climate Lobby are sponsoring a free screening of "Merchants of Doubt" at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center on April 21 at 7:30pm. This film discusses the role propagandists have played in casting doubt on the validity of climate change science, and other issues affecting the environment and public health.


Add this presentation to your spring calendar!

Wetlands and Wildlife in Northern Wisconsin

Presentation by Tracy Hames
Thursday, April 13, 7 pm
Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center
Sponsored by the Friends of the North Pikes Creek Wetlands with the Bad River Watershed Association and the Chequamegon Audubon Society

Healthy wetlands are essential to the health of our waters and wildlife. Join Tracy Hames, Executive Director of Wisconsin Wetlands Association (WWA), as he shares the vital functions wetlands play in helping maintain the health of our watersheds and wildlife. You’ll learn about the types of wetlands in northern Wisconsin and how they capture flood waters, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and ensure that clean, cool water enters our streams, rivers and lakes.

Tracy Hames became Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association in November 2011. Tracy and the staff at WWA help individuals and communities throughout Wisconsin gain the knowledge and guidance needed to protect and care for wetlands. Tracy received a BA in Biology and Environmental Studies from Macalester College, St. Paul, MN in 1984 and an MS in Natural Resources from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point in 1990.


Iron County forum to address wetland conservation and model ordinance

Kyle Magyera of Wisconsin Wetlands Association will be speaking at the Oma Town Hall on October 18th at 6:30 PM. The following article from WXPR can also be viewed at

October 3, 2016

By Miranda VanderLeest


Heavy rains and flash floods this summer has sparked talk about how to “slow the flow,” and improve wetland landscapes in and around Iron County.

That slogan has been used to encourage conservation efforts such as wetland protection and shoreline buffer zones to reduce surface water runoff, but a presentation of a new proposed conservation ordinance at an upcoming citizen’s forum will address new wetland data and management approaches to improve lake and river health.

Called the Wetland Conservation Ordinance, the model was developed by the Wisconsin Wetlands Association and hinges off the regularity and intensity of severe weather and flood risks in the Northwoods and the U.P.

Forum Coordinator Terry Daulton says the presentation of the model will share perspectives on how wetlands benefit our communities…

“…It’s talking about ways to preserve or restore and improve wetlands so they can perform their filtering functions and also slow the run-off into the lakes and streams and that kind of will keep sentiment down but also keep some of the pollutants coming off roads, lawns or municipal surfaces; things like pesticides, fertilizers or pollutants.”

Daulton says the ordinance will be presented by Kyle Magyera who is an outreach specialist for the Wisconsin Wetlands Association. She says Magyera and the Wetland Association have traveled around the state presenting their model and working with counties to adopt their ordinance.

The forum is co-sponsored by Iron County Lakes and Rivers Alliance and the Iron County Citizen’s Forum. The forum is October 18, at 6:30 pm at the Oma Town Hall.


Annual Meeting 2016

The BRWA Annual Meeting and Celebration on September 17 was a success. The event was held at the new South Shore Brewery Tap House in Washburn. A total of 37 people attended the meeting. We held a raffle that raised around $200, thanks to the generous donations from April Stone Dahl (hand-made black ash basket, Solstice Outdoors (Lake Superior Nalgene bottle), Heart Graphics (hat, t-shirt and bumper stickers), Bobbi Rongstad (home-made maple syrup), Tony Janisch (kettle), White Winter Winery (Free Mead Tasting), the New England Store (decorative thermometer), SPOT Fitness (gift card) and Patagonia (backpack). In total, this event raised $362 after food and drink costs.










Our thanks to everyone came out to the event or donated, and to the Tap House for hosting us. We enjoyed filling everyone in on the latest news from BRWA, and even meeting some new people. Stay tuned for more upcoming BRWA events!


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Amazon make a wish

Threats To Water Poll

Please rank the questions below based on what you believe is the greater threat to water quality in the region. (5 being the highest, 1 being the lowest - use the "+" selector to vote. 5 votes for highest rank, 4 votes for second highest, etc.)

Large-scale agriculture
Failing septic/waste treatment systems
Stream sedimentation, washouts and erosion
Forest management practices
» Go to poll »
15 Votes left
BRWAs Priorities Poll

Please rank the questions below based on how you believe BRWA should prioritize emerging water quality issues in the region. (5 being the highest, 1 being the lowest - use the "+" selector to vote. 5 votes for highest rank, 4 votes for second highest, etc.)

Establish baseline water quality conditions
Outreach and education
Restore problem erosional areas
Work with local authorities to address water quality issues
Protective waterway designations
» Go to poll »
15 Votes left

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