Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5111

In cooperation with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Hydrology, Phosphorus, and Suspended Solids in Five Agricultural Streams in the Lower Fox River and Green Bay Watersheds, Wisconsin, Water Years 2004–06

By David J. Graczyk, Dale M. Robertson, Paul D. Baumgart, and Kevin J. Fermanich

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.97 MB)


A 3-year study was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to characterize water quality in agricultural streams in the Fox/Wolf watershed in northeastern Wisconsin and provide information to assist in the calibration of a watershed model for the area. Streamflow, phosphorus, and suspended solids data were collected between October 1, 2003, and September 30, 2006, in five streams, including Apple Creek, Ashwaubenon Creek, Baird Creek, Duck Creek, and the East River. During this study, total annual precipitation was close to the 30-year normal of 29.12 inches. The 3-year mean streamflow was highest in the East River (113 ft3/s), followed by Duck Creek (58.2 ft3/s), Apple Creek (26.9 ft3/s), Baird Creek (12.8 ft3/s), and Ashwaubenon Creek (9.1 ft3/s). On a yield basis, during these three years, the East River had the highest flow (0.78 ft3/s/mi2), followed by Baird Creek (0.61 ft3/s/mi2), Apple Creek (0.59 ft3/s/mi2), Duck Creek (0.54 ft3/s/mi2), and Ashwaubenon Creek (0.46 ft3/s/mi2).

The overall median total suspended solids (TSS) concentration was highest in Baird Creek (73.5 mg/L), followed by Apple and Ashwaubenon Creeks (65 mg/L), East River (40 mg/L), and Duck Creek (30 mg/L). The median total phosphorus (TP) concentration was highest in Ashwaubenon Creek (0.60 mg/L), followed by Baird Creek (0.47 mg/L), Apple Creek (0.37 mg/L), East River (0.26 mg/L), and Duck Creek (0.22 mg/L).

The average annual TSS yields ranged from 111 tons/mi2 in Apple Creek to 45 tons/mi2 in Duck Creek. All five watersheds yielded more TSS than the median value (32.4 tons/mi2) from previous studies in the Southeastern Wisconsin Till Plains (SWTP) ecoregion. The average annual TP yields ranged from 663 lbs/mi2 in Baird Creek to 382 lbs/mi2 in Duck Creek. All five watersheds yielded more TP than the median value from previous studies in the SWTP ecoregion, and the Baird Creek watershed yielded more TP than the statewide median of 650 lbs/mi2 from previous studies.

Overall, Duck Creek had the lowest median and volumetric weighted concentrations and mean yield of TSS and TP. The same pattern was true for dissolved phosphorus (DP), except the volumetrically weighted concentration was lowest in the East River. In contrast, Ashwaubenon, Baird, and Apple Creeks had greater median and volumetrically weighted concentrations and mean yields of TSS, TP, DP than Duck Creek and the East River. Water quality in Duck Creek and East River were distinctly different from Ashwaubenon, Baird, and Apple Creeks.

Loads from individual runoff events for all of these streams were important to the total annual mass transport of the constituents. On average, about 20 percent of the annual TSS loads and about 17 percent of the TP loads were transported in 1-day events in each stream.

First posted February 14, 2012

For additional information contact:
Director, Wisconsin Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
8505 Research Way
Middleton, Wisconsin 53562-3586

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Grayczyk, D.J., Robertson, D.M., Baumgart, P.D., and Fermanich, K.J., 2011, Hydrology, phosphorus, and suspended solids in five agricultural streams in the Lower Fox River and Green Bay Watersheds, Wisconsin, Water Years 2004–06: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5111, 28 p.




Study Sites

Methods of Data Collection and Analysis

Hydrology and Water Quality

Use of Data for Modeling Studies


References Cited

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: GS Pubs Web Contact
Page Last Modified: Thursday, 10-Jan-2013 20:14:14 EST