East and West Branch Milwaukee River
East and West Branch Milwaukee River Watershed

The East and West Branch of the Milwaukee River Subwatershed makes up an area of 266 square miles that occupies portions of Dodge, Fond du Lac, Ozaukee, Sheboygan, and Washington Counties. The Milwaukee River’s main channel (which runs between the West and East Branches) is the longest river in the Subwatershed, starting in a series of wetlands in Fond du Lac County and running 53 miles until it meets the North Branch of the Milwaukee River around Waubeka. The Milwaukee River East Branch finds its headwaters in Watercress Creek, one of the few trout streams in the Milwaukee River Basin. Unlike the Milwaukee River’s main channel, and the West Branch of the Milwaukee River, the East Branch of the Milwaukee River is left more or less to its natural flows and meanders and runs through much of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Much of the West Branch has been modified and/or channelized for agriculture, and the main channel of the Milwaukee River has also been considerably modified due to the presence of a series of dams and flow barriers that impact connectivity (WDNR 2001). The land usage in the 100 foot riparian corridor around streams in the East and West Branch Subwatershed is approximately 4% urban/developed, 19% agricultural, 13% forested/grassland, and 64% wetland. Land coverage throughout the entire area of the Subwatershed is 9% urban/developed, 36% agricultural, 35% forested/grassland, and 19% wetland (WDNR 2016).