Big Spring Creek, Neenah Creek Watershed (UF14)
Big Spring Creek, Neenah Creek Watershed (UF14)
Big Spring Creek (176400)
2.07 Miles
0.74 - 2.81
Natural Community
Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results that use predicted flow and temperature based on landscape features and related assumptions. Ranges of flow and temperature associated with specific aquatic life communities (fish, macroinvertebrates) help biologists identify appropriate resource management goals. Wisconsin's Riverine Natural Communities.
Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater
Year Last Monitored
This date represents the most recent date of water quality monitoring stored in the SWIMS system. Additional field surveys for fish and habitat may be available subsequent to this date.
2013
Unknown
 
Adams
Trout Water 
Trout Waters are represented by Class I, Class II or Class III waters. These classes have specific ecological characteristics and management actions associated with them. For more information regarding Trout Classifications, see the Fisheries Trout Class Webpages.
Yes
Outstanding or Exceptional 
Wisconsin has designated many of the state's highest quality waters as Outstanding Resource Waters (ORWs) or Exceptional Resource Waters (ERWs). Waters designated as ORW or ERW are surface waters which provide outstanding recreational opportunities, support valuable fisheries and wildlife habitat, have good water quality, and are not significantly impacted by human activities. ORW and ERW status identifies waters that the State of Wisconsin has determined warrant additional protection from the effects of pollution. These designations are intended to meet federal Clean Water Act obligations requiring Wisconsin to adopt an 'antidegradation' policy that is designed to prevent any lowering of water quality - especially in those waters having significant ecological or cultural value.
Yes
Impaired Water 
A water is polluted or 'impaired' if it does not support full use by humans, wildlife, fish and other aquatic life and it is shown that one or more of the pollutant criteria are not met.
No

Fish and Aquatic Life

Current Use
The use the water currently supports. This is not a designation or classification; it is based on the current condition of the water. Information in this column is not designed for, and should not be used for, regulatory purposes.
Cold (Class I Trout)
Streams supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species through natural reproduction. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.
Attainable Use
The use that the investigator believes the water could achieve through managing "controllable" sources. Beaver dams, hydroelectric dams, low gradient streams, and naturally occurring low flows are generally not considered controllable. The attainable use may be the same as the current use or it may be higher.
Cold (Class I Trout)
Streams supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species through natural reproduction. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.
Designated Use
This is the water classification legally recognized by NR102 and NR104, Wis. Adm. Code. The classification determines water quality criteria and effluent limits. Waters obtain designated uses through classification procedures.
Cold
Streams capable of supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.

Overview

Big Creek flows for approximately 5.9 miles in a southerly direction toward the La Crosse River near Rockland. Upper Big Creek and East Upper Big Creek merge to form Big Creek in Monroe County. Big Creek has an average gradient of 18 feet per mile and drains lowland farms and wooded hillsides in both La Crosse and Monroe Counties. Big Creek is a Class II trout stream upstream of Hamilton Ave. and Class III downstream of Hamilton Ave. in Monroe County to STH 16.

A 1995 survey of Big Creek documented a stream bottom comprised mainly of sand and silt with some gravel. Streambank erosion was common in Big Creek due to unlimited livestock access. Undercut banks and overhanging vegetation provided cover for fish. Brown trout inhabited the lower portion of Big Creek, whereas brook trout were found further upstream where spring flow was evident. Several forage fish species as well as northern brook lamprey were also documented. Brook trout have been stocked in Big Creek since 1993. Access to Big Creek is from three road crossings.

In 1998, the La Crosse County Land Conservation Department initiated water chemistry testing of streams throughout La Crosse County. Baseflow conditions were targeted for testing as the most likely to show normal water quality conditions. Land Conservation staff sample streams four times annually when no rainfall or snowmelt has occurred during the previous 72 hours. Between 1998 and 2001, Big Creek never met the county phosphorus goal and met the county fecal coliform bacteria goal in only 27% of the samples taken. These data indicate a significant nutrient load that is likely also contributing to high bacterial counts. The county ranks Big Creek among the top 50% of streams in the county on which to expend effort to reduce phosphorus and bacterial contamination. La Crosse County should continue baseflow sampling of Big Creek to determine water quality trends.

Date  2002

Author  Cynthia Koperski

Historical Description

Big Spring Creek, T14N, R8E, Section 33, Surface Acres = 16.7, Miles = 3.2, Gradient = 2.5 feet per mile.
A low-gradient stream which flows from Mason Lake at Briggsville easterly to join Neenah Creek. Marsh drainage ditching provides the only tributary in this county. Northern pike, largemouth bass and panfish constitute the fishery. The stream is also called South Branch, Neenah Creek. The bottom is primarily silt and the stream is fairly wide and shallow. Access is possible from state and county highways. There are no public lands adjoining the stream.

From: Poff, Ronald J. and Threinen, C.W., 1963. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Marquette County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1963

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Big Spring Creek, Neenah Creek Watershed (UF14) Fish and Aquatic LifeBig Spring Creek, Neenah Creek Watershed (UF14) RecreationBig Spring Creek, Neenah Creek Watershed (UF14) Fish Consumption

Condition

Wisconsin has over 84,000 miles of streams, 15,000 lakes and milllions of acres of wetlands. Assessing the condition of this vast amount of water is challenging. The state's water monitoring program uses a media-based, cross-program approach to analyze water condition. An updated monitoring strategy (2015-2020) is now available.

Compliance with Clean Water Act fishable, swimmable standards are located in the Executive Summary of Water Condition in 2016 . See also 'monitoring' and 'projects'.

Reports

Recommendations

Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
Grant Amended

Management Goals

Wisconsin's Water Quality Standards provide qualitative and quantitative goals for waters that are protective of Fishable, Swimmable conditions [Learn more]. Waters that do not meet water quality standards are considered impaired and restoration actions are planned and carried out until the water is once again fishable and swimmable

Management goals can include creation and implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load Analysis, habitat restoration work, partnership education and outreach and more. If specific recommendations exist for this water, they will be displayed below.

Monitoring

Monitoring the condition of a river, stream, or lake includes gathering physical, chemical, biological, and habitat data. Comprehensive studies often gather all these parameters in great detail, while lighter assessment events will involve sampling physical, chemical and biological data such as macroinvertebrates. Aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish communities integrate watershed or catchment condition, providing great insight into overall ecosystem health. Chemical and habitat parameters tell researchers more about human induced problems including contaminated runoff, point source dischargers, or habitat issues that foster or limit the potential of aquatic communities to thrive in a given area. Wisconsin's Water Monitoring Strategy was recenty updated.

Grants and Management Projects

Monitoring Projects

Watershed Characteristics

Big Spring Creek is located in the Neenah Creek watershed which is 173.35 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (49%), forest (31%) and a mix of wetland (12%) and other uses (7%). This watershed has 198.75 stream miles, 2,104.14 lake acres and 14,499.98 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Available for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked for runoff impacts on lakes and High for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of High. This value can be used in ranking the watershed or individual waterbodies for grant funding under state and county programs.However, all waters are affected by diffuse pollutant sources regardless of initial water quality. Applications for specific runoff projects under state or county grant programs may be pursued. For more information, go to surface water program grants.

Natural Community

Big Spring Creek is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results that use predicted flow and temperature based on landscape features and related assumptions. Ranges of flow and temperature associated with specific aquatic life communities (fish, macroinvertebrates) help biologists identify appropriate resource management goals. Wisconsin's Riverine Natural Communities.

Cool (Cold-Transition) Headwaters are small, usually perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon (<10 per 100 m), transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.

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