Bluntnose Minnow, Green Sunfish, and Largemouth Bass were all seen on a beautiful summer day in July by a team of experts conducting a fish survey of the Root River. The same group of experts, including professors and science students from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Natural Resources, began water chemistry and biological data collection on the river earlier this year.

As part of the Great Water Alliance project, water from Waukesha’s Clean Water Plant will be returned to the river after treatment. The plant uses technology matched by only a handful of municipalities in the state.

The fish survey is part of a six-year plan to monitor the river as part of the Great Water Alliance’s commitment to water quality in the Root River. Data collected through monitoring will help establish current water quality benchmarks before treated water starts flowing into the river. Prior analysis shows that treated water from Waukesha can improve overall water quality in the river. The additional water flow will also improve fishing and recreation opportunities by expanding habitat and by helping more spawning Steelhead Trout reach the DNR’s important egg collection facility.

“It’s a fantastic learning opportunity for these UW-Parkside students,” said Dan Duchniak, General Manager of Waukesha Water Utility. “Working alongside professors and researchers gives them some great real-life experience in their field.  And studying the river now establishes a crucial baseline to help us improve its quality moving forward.”