Upper East River Watershed Cooperative
The Upper East River is located in southeast Brown County and flows north where it joins the Fox River and empties to Lake Michigan. The watershed for this river is approximately 22,992 acres and is primarily used for row crop dairy. The Nature Conservancy, along with US Fish & Wildlife Service, WI Department of Natural Resources, Outagamie County and Brown County, have written a detailed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Upper East River.
It has been determined that the Upper East River lacks the ability to support the fish and wildlife that could be present if the surrounding landscape was better managed. Impediments to aquatic organism movement, loss of keystone species, loss and reduction of in-stream and riparian habitat, presence of invasive species, degraded water quality, and alteration of natural hydrology has collectively compromised the health of this watershed.
Landowners can decrease erosion and improve wildlife habitat, plant diversity, and water quality by planting buffer strips, using cover crops, conducting timber stand improvement, removing invasive species, and providing stream structure along with other management strategies.
Currently, Brown County parcels, shown highlighted in green on image to the left, are enrolled in DMAP. This allows anyone within a half mile from any enrolled parcels to enroll for free as a cooperative with Brown County. This half mile distance is outlined in yellow. Landowners within this area can get the benefits of a Level 2 DMAP enrollment without having to meet the acreage requirement. As more landowners enroll, the half mile distance will reach further, continuously covering more land that is eligible to join the cooperative. If you are interested but live outside of the shown outline, we encourage you to contact Glacierland or WI DNR to see if there are others already enrolled near you or you can start your own cooperative.
Targets for Improvement in the Upper East River (as defined by the Habitat Conservation Plan)
Native migratory fish
Riparian plant communities
Forests & wetlands
Ground water base flow
Turtles & Amphibians
Making a Difference
Many of the strategies suggested lead to increased plant and wildlife diversity while also improving water quality and slowing erosion. This will not only improve the habitat for whitetail deer but for many of the other target species listed previously.
These are examples of plans for Brown County land expected to be in progress for 2021-2022. They were designed by a Brown County Land and Conservation employee using strategies listed in the Habitat Conservation Plan for this area. These plans show the various options for habitat improvement. Left of each map is the overall site and right of each map is an enlarged view of target areas.
What does a finished plan look like?
This drone footage was taken fall 2021 in Brown County, almost one year after the project was completed. This shows a wetland habitat restoration and is a large representation of the possibilities you have for your own projects.
Join a Cooperative
Repairing this watershed will take a joined effort from all neighbors no matter the size of the project or property. Joining with neighbors can increase your benefits and lower your personal costs.
Share ideas and findings with those around you!