Over 20 perennial streams flow through the proposed mining area in the Penokee Range. Many of these streams have been designated as Exceptional or Outstanding Resource Waters (ERW/ORW) by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. These designations are awarded to the state's highest quality waters, indicating that they provide good water quality, and fisheries and wildlife habitat. For more information on ORW/ERW designations, and to find what waters are listed as ORW/ERW in Wisconsin CLICK HERE.
Macroinvertebrate data collected through BRWA's Water Quality Monitoring Program played a strong part in obtaining ERW/ORW designations for many streams in the Bad River Watershed in 2006, such as the Tyler Forks, Potato River, and others. For more information about our Water Quality Monitoring Program CLICK HERE.
Because there are waters with the ORW/ERW designations in the potential mining area, the designation as an ORW or ERW has implications for permitting, in order to protect the quality of the waterway. For instance:
- Point source discharges must meet background water quality, except in specific cases on ERW.
- A general or individual permit is required for various waterway alteration activities.
- Increased environmental review is required for high capacity wells near ORW/ERW.
See Map of the Potential Mining Area and the ORW/ERW streams in the watershed HERE
Some of the Outstanding and Exceptional Resource Waters in the potential mining area:
Tyler Forks Watershed: 40 of the 144 stream miles of the Tyler Forks Watershed have been designated as ORW/ERW. Included in this total are approximately 34 miles of the Tyler Forks River itself, designated as an ORW. For more information about the Tyler Forks Watershed CLICK HERE.
Some Streams in the Tyler Forks River Watershed:
Tyler Forks River (ORW): Brownstone Falls is located at the confluence of the Tyler Forks and Bad Rivers.
Potato River Watershed: 56.6 of the 306 stream miles of the Potato River Watershed are designated as ORW/ERW. Included in this total are approximately 26 miles of the Potato River itself, designated as an ORW. For more information about the Potato River Watershed CLICK HERE.
Some Streams in the Potato River Watershed:
Potato River (ORW): There are many scenic falls on this river.
Upper Bad River Watershed: 53.9 of the 213 stream miles in the Upper Bad River Watershed are designated as ORW/ERW. Included in this total are approximately 22 miles of the Bad River itself, designated as an ORW. For more information about the Upper Bad River Watershed CLICK HERE.
Some Streams in the Upper Bad River Watershed;
Ballou Creek (ERW): A tributary to Devils Creek
Devils Creek (ERW): A tributary to Montreal Creek, which then flows into the Bad River