Black River (Mississippi River)

Black River (Mississippi River)


Black River (Mississippi River)

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Black River is a river in west-central Wisconsin and tributary of the Mississippi River. The river is approximately 160 miles (257 km) long. The river begins in central Wisconsin, rising in Taylor County at approximately west of the village of Rib Lake.

The Black River flows south-southwest through Medford, Greenwood, Neillsville and Black River Falls. The Black River first mingles with the Mississippi River in Lake Onalaska in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The lower 10 miles (16 km) of the river channel have been absorbed by Lake Onalaska, an impoundment of the Mississippi River formed by Lock and Dam No. 7 at Onalaska. The river exits Lake Onalaska through a channel between French Island and the city of Onalaska and rejoins the Mississippi River at , northwest of LaCrosse.

The Black River can be divided into two sections by the dam at Black River Falls. The upstream section averages 6.6 feet/mile gradient, while the lower section through the Driftless Area only averages 1.7 feet/mile gradient. An additional distinction is that the upper section has a substrate predominantly rocky and soil that contributes tannin, while the lower section has a predominantly sandy substrate. The tannin content of the water is the source of the river's name.

The river has been used to transport lumber, coal, and petroleum products. Sawmills for the...
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