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Black River (Mississippi River): Wikis


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A map of the Black River watershed

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, rises in Taylor County northeast of Medford, Wisconsin. The river then flows southwest past Neillsville and Black River Falls. The Black River meets the Mississippi River, to the northwest of La Crosse, Wisconsin and runs through Onalaska, Wisconsin. The lower 10 miles (16 km) of channel have been absorbed by impoundment of Mississippi River by Lock and Dam No. 7 at La Crosse.

The Black River can be divided into two sections, divided 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.[1] 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 lumber contributed to the growth of Neillsville, Black River Falls, and La Crosse.[2]



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