Land cover is primarily rural, with agriculture dominant (57%). Wetlands cover over 14 percent of the land area while grasslands (12%) and forests (11%) represent the other major rural uses. Urban lands cover less than one half of one percent of the land area. The Villages of Adell, Cascade and Random Lake are the only incorporated municipalities.
The quality of rivers and streams in the North Branch Watershed ranges from severely degraded to nearly pristine. Eighty-five miles of perennial streams (86%) partially meet their potential biological uses, and 12 miles (12%) do not meet their potential biological uses (Appendix A, Table 1). An unnamed tributary to the Milwaukee River North Branch (Adell tributary) is listed on the state’s impaired waters (303(d) list.