The Rock River is divided into the Upper Rock and Lower Rock River watersheds. The Lower Rock River basin encompasses the Yahara River and much of the metropolitan Madison area. The Upper Rock River basin includes the Crawfish River subwatershed, with a majority of the area draining to its Maunesha River tributary.


The Rock River is polluted and the region is implementing a plan for improving the river's water quality. Called the Rock River Recovery, this project implements the river's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) of pollutants that has been determined by the US EPA and WDNR. The goal of the TMDL is to restore the designated uses of impaired waters within the Rock River basin.

To see water quality goals and pollutant load allocations within the watershed, visit the Wisconsin DNR Watershed Restoration Viewer. This interactive map shows targets for Total Phosphorus (TP) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) within the watershed. It also shows the watershed's impaired waters. Click on an impaired water to see its reason for impairment.

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