Fish and Aquatic Life
Fourmile Creek is a 20-mile tributary to the Wisconsin River. The stream is impounded at two locations creating Wazeecha and Nepco Lakes. The upper 11 miles of the stream have been ditched and is now called Ditch No. 4. The lower eight miles supports a warm water sport fishery and the upper 12 miles including Ditch No. 4 are classified as Class I trout water. Cattle pasturing, streambank erosion, sedimentation and the lack of pools, riffles and fish cover impact the habitat of the non-ditched portion of the stream.
Ditch No. 4 has higher densities of brook trout than the lower reaches known as Fourmile Creek. Land use surrounding the ditch is dominated by cranberry marshes, irrigated cropland and state owned prairie chicken land. Limiting factors of in-stream habitat include channel ditching, sedimentation primarily from wind erosion, and the lack of pools and riffles. Overhanging vegetation, submerged macrophytes and some undercutting of the streambanks provides fish cover. Three of the cranberry operations utilize ditch water for cultivating cranberries. Continuous temperature monitoring found higher water temperatures in the ditch below the discharges of the marshes. Streamflow monitoring was completed in 1997 above and below these marshes during the fall harvest. During this time, streamflow decreased below these marshes by 60%. The water drawn from a ditch impacts in-stream habitat by reducing stream depth, decreasing the amount of fish cover and may increase water temperatures. Water removed from the ditches during the fall harvest reduces water levels and may impact(s) the spawning success of trout. The reduction of water levels can reduce spawning areas and may expose fish redds causing mortality of eggs or larval fish.
The steep grade in the lower portion of Fourmile Creek, below CTH F, has led to streambank and streambed erosion. It is believed 65 to 75 percent of the sediment entering Lake Wazeecha is from Lower Fourmile Creek (Kruger). High concentrations of phosphorus are found in the sediment. Grade control (drop) structures and riprap are possible means for controlling bed load sediment movement and streambank erosion.
The Upper Fourmile Creek Watershed is a source of nutrients in the creek and lake. In-stream nitrate values as high as 4.5 ppm have been detected. The nutrients come from wetland drainage, wind erosion and streambank pasturing. Lower gradients permit sediments to settle out and not constitute a large percentage of the total Fourmile Creek sediment reaching Lake Wazeecha (Kruger, 1986).
Author Aquatic Biologist
Fourmile Creek (WBIC 1389600) from the control structure in SE1/4 S33 T22N R8E to the headwaters was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) and temperature sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.
Author Ashley Beranek
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'.
Protect Riparian or Shorelands
Address the issue of WQ protection and development along Nepco Lake and the Four-mile Creek. SSA Plan Committee agreed to extend the proposed area after counseling with the Village of Port Edwards.
Action Migrated from WATERS
Watershed staff, in cooperation with Portage County Land Conservation Department and Central Wisconsin Windshed Partnership, should continue to work with local farmers to encourage wind erosion best management practices.
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 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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|1389600||Fourmile Creek||10033529||Fourmile Creek (Ditch Four) at Isherwood Rd||7/8/2013||7/15/2013||Map||Data|
|1389600||Fourmile Creek||10033631||Fourmile Creek (Ditch #4) at Taft Rd||10/24/2007||7/29/2016||Map||Data|
|1389600||Fourmile Creek||10016822||Ditch No. 4 - 30 Yds Below Bridge On Taft Rd.||10/20/1997||10/20/1997||Map||Data|
Fourmile Creek is located in the Sevenmile and Tenmile Creeks watershed which is 112.24 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (48%), forest (31%) and a mix of grassland (9%) and other uses (11%). This watershed has stream miles, lake acres and 10,480.58 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Low 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.