The Cranmoor area of central Wisconsin is the principal cranberry producing area of the State. Cranberries are grown in only about 2.5 square miles of an 80-square-mile marsh and swamp in the Cranberry Creek basin. Cranberry growers have built reservoirs and ditches throughout 25 square miles of marsh for better management of the area's natural water supply. Additional water is diverted into the basin to supplement the cranberry needs.
In the 1966-67 hydrologic budget for Cranberry Creek basin, annual inputs were 27.8 inches of precipitation, 3.8 inches of surface-water diversion into the basin, and 1.1 inches decrease in stored water. Annual outputs were. 20.8 inches of evapotranspiration, 11.7 inches of runoff, and 0.2 inch of groundwater outflow. During the 1966-67 period, precipitation averaged about 3 inches per year below normal.
The water used for cranberry culture is almost exclusively surface water. Efficient management of the basin's water supply, plus intermittent diversions of about 100 cubic feet per second from outside the basin, provide cranberry growers with a sufficient quantity of water. Although the quantity of surface water is adequate, the pH (generally 5.7-6.7) is slightly high for optimum use. Dissolved oxygen is slightly low, generally between 4 and 10 milligrams per liter. The water is soft; iron and manganese contents vary seasonally, being high in winter and summer and low in spring.
Additional supplies of surface water can be obtained by increasing diversions from outside the basin and by increasing reservoir capacity within the basin.
Ground water, although not presently used for cranberries, is available in the central, southern, and eastern parts of the basin, where the thickness of the saturated alluvium exceeds 50 feet. Well yields in these areas might be as much as 1,000 gpm (gallons per minute). Additionally, well yields of as much as 1,000 gpm may be expected from saturated alluvium southeast of Cranberry Creek basin. Where saturated alluvium is less than 50 feet thick, in the northern and western parts of the basin, well yields generally are less than 50 gpm. Ground water is also available from sandstone in the western part of the basin. Where the sandstone is thickest (about 60 ft.), well yields may be as much as 200 gpm.
The quality of ground water is similar to that of surface water. The pH of water from the shallow alluvium ranges between 6.0 and 6,6; the pH of water from the deep alluvium is about 7.0. Ground water is soft to moderately hard, 22 to 88 milligrams per liter, and contains excessive amounts of iron and manganese.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Water for cranberry culture in the Cranmoor area of central Wisconsin