Fish and Aquatic Life
Otter Creek, located in central Vernon County, flows in a southeasterly direction for 4.5 miles
before reaching the Kickapoo River at La Farge. This stream has a gradient of 43 feet per mile
and drains forested hillsides with agricultural activity in both valleys and ridgetops. Otter
Creek is a Class III trout stream for its entire length.
The most recent survey, conducted in 1990, documented no trout but an abundance of forage
fish species. The stream bottom contained equal proportions of silt, sand and gravel. In-stream
cover consisted of boulders, overhanging grasses and aquatic vegetation. Otter Creek should
be resurveyed after conclusion of the Middle Kickapoo River Priority Watershed Project in
2004. WDNR records indicate that Otter Creek was last stocked in 1999 with brown trout.
Access to Otter Creek is from six 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
Otter Creek, T13N, R2W, Section 29. Surface Acres = 4.1, Miles = 4.5, Gradient = 42.8 feet per mile.
This light brown, hard water stream flows in a southwesterly direction and joins the Kickapoo River just south of La Farge. It is a Class III brown trout stream, and brook trout are also present. There are a large number and variety of forage srecies. Scattered open water areas throughout its length were noted during the winter aerial groundwater survey. While sand is dominant as a bottom type, there is considerable and nearly equal amounts of gravel and rubble, some silt, and a little boulder. Several road crossings provide access. Beaver are present and muskrat are significant. There is wood duck nesting along the stream.
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
The Otter Creek was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; 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 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was meeting this designated use and not considered impaired.
Author Amanda Smith
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|
|1194200||Otter Creek||10043132||Otter Creek at Machinery Crossing NE of CTH D and Hwy 82 intersection||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1194200||Otter Creek||10040319||Otter Creek NE of STH 82 at Sarnowski property||5/19/2013||10/17/2017||Map||Data|
|1194200||Otter Creek||633175||Otter Creek - Near La Farge Wi (Sth 82)||4/19/1990||10/17/2001||Map||Data|
|1194200||Otter Creek||10030070||Otter Creek at HWY 82||10/30/2004||10/20/2016||Map||Data|
|1194200||Otter Creek||10029585||Otter Creek St. 2 - 2008 200ft US of Otter Vally Rd||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1194200||Otter Creek||10029586||Otter Creek St. 3 - 2008 US of CTH D||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1194200||Otter Creek||10043129||Otter Creek at CTH D ||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1194200||Otter Creek||10016310||Otter Creek - 50 Ft. Below Bridge On Dead Endroad Off Sth 82||4/20/1994||10/6/2015||Map||Data|
Otter 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.