Lower Bad River

Lower Bad River Subwatershed

Arial view of the Kakagon Sloughs Photo credit: Jim Meeker 

The borders for this watershed have been changed for management purposes; the watershed now includes streams that formerly were treated as part of the Fish Creek Watershed. Beartrap Creek, Wood Creek Slough and the Kakagon River sub-watersheds are hydrologically connected with the lower Bad River. Since the significant complex of the Kakagon Sloughs falls within the Bad River Indian Reservation and is linked to management of the lower Bad River, these management boundaries were shifted to improve ecosystem management.

The Lower Bad River Watershed extends south to its confluence with Tyler Forks. This is to more accurately reflect underlying geology. Much of the Lower Bad River Watershed falls within the Bad River Indian Reservation. Many smaller streams originate outside the bounds of the Bad River Indian Reservation and flow into tribal lands; others flow entirely within the reservation bounds.

We have no current data for many of these streams, but based on discussions in Water Resources of the Bad River Reservation (Institute for Environmental Studies), and assessments made by The Nature Conservancy staff working on a project to protect the Kakagon/Bad River Sloughs and Bad River Natural Resources Department, all these streams are potentially threatened by land use practices, primarily forestry, due to the unstable nature of the red clay soils, historic clear cutting that changed the hydrologic relationship between vegetation and soils, and the voluntary nature of best management practices for forestry. Another threat to this watershed is exotic species encroachment, most notably purple loosestrife, ruffe and sea lamprey.


Sediment plume from the Bad River flowing into Lake Superior.


Superior Rivers Watershed Association volunteers sample 2 sites within this watershed. In all, volunteers sample 17 sites throughout the entire Bad River watershed.

Sampling includes monthly water chemistry monitoring and twice-annual macroinvertebrate monitoring.

WDNR Lower Bad River Watershed (LS09) Information