West Fork Kickapoo River, West Fork Kickapoo River Watershed (LW04)
West Fork Kickapoo River, West Fork Kickapoo River Watershed (LW04)
W. Fork Kickapoo River (1187900)
14.94 Miles
10.34 - 25.28
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, Cool-Cold Mainstem, Macroinvertebrate
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.
2017
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.
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

The West Fork of the Kickapoo River, located in central Vernon County, flows in a
southeasterly direction for 24 miles before reaching the Kickapoo River. This river has a
gradient of 11 feet per mile and drains forested hillsides and agricultural valleys. A wet flood
control structure is located on the upper end of this river creating Jersey Valley Lake. The
West Fork of the Kickapoo River is a Class II trout stream from its mouth upstream 15.8
miles to the STH 82 bridge and Class I upstream from this bridge for 8.2 miles.
The most recent survey, conducted in 2000, documented healthy brook trout and brown trout
populations as well as a diverse forage fishery. The stream bottom was dominated by cobble
and gravel. In order of abundance, in-stream cover consisted of LUNKER structures, woody
debris, boulders, undercut banks, and boulders. Since the 2000 survey was conducted
upstream of STH 82, an updated fish and habitat survey should be conducted of the river
downstream of STH 82. The West Fork of the Kickapoo River would benefit from the
purchase of streambank easements from willing sellers and the restoration of in-stream
habitat. WDNR records indicate that the West Fork of the Kickapoo River has been stocked
with brown trout consistently from 1960 to 1998. Wild brook trout have been stocked yearly
since 1999. Access to the West Fork of the Kickapoo River is from 14 road crossings, WDNR
owned land and the Vernon County Jersey Valley Park. A rare aquatic species has been found
in this creek.

From: 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

The West Fork Kickapoo River has the potential to improve from a Class III to a Class II trout stream if nonpoint source water pollution is controlled. A portion of the stream is managed as a catch-and-release, trophy trout stream.

Date  1994

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Kickapoo River, West Fork, T11N, R3W, Section 4. Surface Acres = 78.5, Miles = 24.0, Gradient = 10.8 feet per mile.
Flowing in a southerly direction, this clear, hard water stream joins the Kickapoo River just north of Readstown. Locally, that portion of the West Fork above the junction of Knapp Creek is called Jersey Valley Creek. From State Trunk Highway 82 crossing upstream, the stream is Class III brown trout water. That portion of stream between 82 and County Trunk Highway "P" is also managed for smallmouth bass. Northern pike, green sunfish and numerous species of minnows and other forage species are also present. Sand is the dominant bottom type, with some rubble and small amounts of bedrock, silt and gravel.
Jersey Valley Lake is located on the stream. A quasi-public park, several road crossings, Jersey Valley Lake and park, and the Kickapoo River all provide access. Beaver are present and muskrat are significant. Teal, mallards, and wood ducks nest along the stream, and migrant puddle and diving ducks use the water.

From: Klick, Thomas A. and Threinen, C.W., 1973. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Vernon County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1973

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

West Fork Kickapoo River, West Fork Kickapoo River Watershed (LW04) Fish and Aquatic LifeWest Fork Kickapoo River, West Fork Kickapoo River Watershed (LW04) RecreationWest Fork Kickapoo River, West Fork Kickapoo River Watershed (LW04) Fish Consumption

General Condition

The West Fork of the Kickapoo River was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data clearly met the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Chloride, temperature, and available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). This water was meeting this designated use and not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Amanda Smith

General Condition

The West Fork Kickapoo River (Mouth to Highway 82) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data nearly exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Temperature and available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). This water was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Amanda Smith

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.
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands

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

West Fork Kickapoo River is located in the West Fork Kickapoo River watershed which is 118.04 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (56%), forest (37%) and a mix of suburban (5%) and other uses (1%). This watershed has 283.75 stream miles, 49.18 lake acres and 672.36 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High 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

W. Fork Kickapoo River is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem, Macroinvertebrate 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) Mainstem streams are moderate-to-large but still wadeable perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are common to absent, mainstem species are abundant to common, and river species are common to absent.

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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