Fish and Aquatic Life
North Bear Creek, located in central Vernon County, flows in a westerly direction for 5.3 miles before meeting with South Bear Creek to form Bear Creek near La Farge. This stream has a gradient of 48 feet per mile and drains forested hillsides and agricultural valleys. North Bear Creek is a Class III trout stream for its entire length.
The most recent survey, conducted in 1990, documented brown trout and numerous forage fish species. The stream bottom was dominated by gravel and cobble. In-stream cover consisted of undercut banks and boulders. North Bear Creek should be resurveyed after conclusion of the Middle Kickapoo River Priority Watershed Project in 2004. WDNR records indicated that North Bear Creek has been regularly stocked with brown trout since 1960. Access to North Bear Creek is from five road crossings.
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.
Author Cynthia Koperski
North Bear Creek, T13N, R2W, Section 27. Surface Acres = 5.8, Miles = 5.3, Gradient = 48.0 feet per mile.
Flowing in a weterly direcvtion, this clear, hard water stream joins South Bear Creek to form Bear Creek. It is managed as Class III brown trout water. A large variety of forage fish are present, including creek chub, redbelly dace, bluntnose miinnow, readhorse, white sucker, blacknose dace and central stoneroller. The winter aerial groundwater survey found a small open water area near the junction with South Bear Creek. Rubble dominates the bottom types with considerable sand, some gravel and silt, and a little boulder. Access is possible from four road crossings. Muskrat are significant.
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.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
North Bear Creek was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) 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'.
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|
|1194100||North Bear Creek||10013067||North Bear Creek 1-05 100m Downstream Bridge On Spry Rd||Map||Data|
|1194100||North Bear Creek||10032070||North Bear Creek - 90 ft downstream from Bridge on Cty D||5/10/2010||10/29/2010||Map||Data|
|1194100||North Bear Creek||10015982||North Bear Creek - 50 Yds Above Bridge On Cth D||4/20/1994||4/20/1994||Map||Data|
|1194100||North Bear Creek||10013066||North Bear Creek 2-05 Culvert On Canyon Rd.||1/1/2015||10/28/2015||Map||Data|
|1194100||North Bear Creek||10015978||North Bear Creek - 50 Ft. Above Cth D Bridge||4/19/1990||4/19/1990||Map||Data|
|1194100||North Bear Creek||10016541||North Bear Creek - 50 Ft Above Field Road Crossing -Across Sth 82 Above M. Steinmetz Farm||4/21/1994||4/21/1994||Map||Data|
|1194100||North Bear Creek||10033913||North Bear Creek at Spry Road||7/7/2011||11/3/2011||Map||Data|
North Bear Creek is located in the Middle Kickapoo River watershed which is 246.53 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (49%), agricultural (43%) and a mix of suburban (5%) and other uses (3%). This watershed has 585.18 stream miles, 145.14 lake acres and 3,360.69 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Available for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available 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.