Presettlement Vegetation of the Lower Chippewa River Valley
This article is from Michigan Botanist 35 (1996): 29. Posted with permission.
The lower Chippewa River of west-central Wisconsin is the portion that flows southwest from the city of Eau Claire to the Mississippi River at Nelson. The river has a gentle gradient of about 0.8 m/km and highly erodible banks of sand and gravel. The river valley occurs between 35 m to 70 m below the sur rounding upland, is between 1 and 5 km wide, and was formed primarily by glacial meltwaters. The floodplain is defined by annual high water levels and is generally below the 25 year flood recurrence interval, which on this part of the Chippewa River is >5m (Peterson & Gamble 1968). No dams have been con structed along this stretch, although some dredging and bank stabilization projects were conducted early in this century to keep the river navigable for steamboats.