South Branch Creek, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24)
South Branch Creek, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24)
South Br Creek (S Br Baraboo) (1289800)
8.19 Miles
1.25 - 9.44
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.
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.
2015
Good
 
Vernon
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.
No
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.
Class III Trout
Streams capable of supporting a seasonal coldwater sport fishery and which may be managed as coldwater streams.
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.
FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.

Overview

South Branch Creek, also known as the South Branch of the Baraboo River, flows in a
northeasterly direction for 6.5 miles before reaching the West Branch of the Baraboo River at
Hillsboro Lake in Hillsboro. Some people and references in older documents erroneously
identify the South Branch of the Baraboo River as extending below Hillsboro Lake to its
confluence with the Baraboo River near Union Center. The river below Hillsboro Lake,
however, is in fact the West Branch of the Baraboo River. South Branch Creek, located in
northeastern Vernon County, has a gradient of approximately 23 feet per mile and drains hilly
agricultural and forested lands. The creek is a Class III trout stream for its entire length
upstream of HWY 80 just south of Hillsboro. The lower half mile of the stream contains
warm water fish species also found in Hillsboro Lake.
The South Branch Creek suffers from flooding, sedimentation of pools and riffles, manure
runoff, and lack of in-stream habitat for adult trout. The most recent biological survey,
conducted in 1968, documented very few brown trout and numerous forage fish species. A
habitat survey, conducted in 1994, documented a stream bottom consisting of equal amounts
of gravel, cobble, sand and silt; however, in-stream cover for adult trout was lacking. There is
a USGS gauging station at Hillsboro. WDNR records indicate that the South Branch Creek
has been stocked with brown trout consistently since 1960. Access to this stream is from five
road crossings.

Ripp, Coreen, Koperski, Cindy and Folstad, Jason. 2002. The State of the Lower Wisconsin River Basin.
PUBL WT-559-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  2002

Author  Cynthia Koperski

Historical Description

This stream, a tributary to Hillsboro Lake, is a Class III trout stream (WDNR, 1980). It
has generally good water quality in its upper reaches. In-stream habitat is degraded by
nonpoint sources of water polltrtion (Biebl, 1991). Sediment from eroding farm fields
and streambanks fill riffles and deep pools, elirrlinatirlg habitat. Elevated stream
temperatures in the lower reaches and organic and bacterial pollutant loadings from
livestock are all thoght to be problems (Biebl, 1991).

Date  1994

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

South Branch Creek, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24) Fish and Aquatic LifeSouth Branch Creek, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24) RecreationSouth Branch Creek, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24) Fish Consumption

General Condition

South Branch Creek was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) and temperature sample data were clearly below 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water is meeting this designated use and is not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of the South Branch Creek (miles 0-1.25) showed continued impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

South Branch Creek (1289800) from its mouth to Highway 80 was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2014. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, no biological data (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) were available to assess biological impairment. Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson

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

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

South Branch Creek is located in the Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River watershed which is 171.73 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (62%), forest (30%) and a mix of suburban (5%) and other uses (2%). This watershed has 414.62 stream miles, 124.03 lake acres and 4,637.96 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Medium 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

South Br Creek (S Br Baraboo) is considered a 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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