Harker Creek, Otter and Morrey Creeks Watershed (LW11)
Harker Creek, Otter and Morrey Creeks Watershed (LW11)
Harker Creek (1238400)
5.13 Miles
1.02 - 6.15
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
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.
2014
Good
 
Iowa
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.
Yes
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

Harker Creek is a tributary to Otter Creek below Blackhawk Lake and has a steeper gradient
than Otter Creek. It is a Class II and Class I trout stream with some natural reproduction of
brook trout and has been designated as exceptional resource water (ERW). In fact, Harker
Creek is thought to be one of the better trout streams in Iowa County. A rare aquatic species
has been found in the creek.
Surveys conducted in 2000 found water quality from fair to excellent. Fish that are indicators
of cold water and other species that are intolerant to water pollution were found and were
dominant at all sites. The presence of these species shows a marked improvement from
fishery survey results from the 1970ýs. The 2000 survey results suggest that the land use is
shifting from intensive agriculture to a more natural landscape. Overall, stream reaches are
well buffered with wetlands and support abundant wildlife. There is good aquatic vegetation
and a good supply of aquatic macroinvertebrates in the stream. Dissolved oxygen levels and
temperature readings were good and temperatures did not exceed 65.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Despite the good water quality, there are also problems on the stream. A flood control dam
was constructed on the stream and can negatively impact water quality and temperature in
cold water streams. In addition, there is some evidence of grazing along the stream, with
banks exposed and eroding. As a result of nonpoint source problems, the stream has been
ranked as a high priority for nonpoint source pollution reduction. Overall, the transition from
agricultural to natural vegetation presents an opportunity to improve and maintain the water
quality and fishery in the stream through brush removal and habitat restoration. The state has
a small number of easements along a section of Harker Creek.
Citizen stream monitors have been actively monitoring Harker Creek since July 2000.
The volunteers monitor the creekýs turbidity, temperature and dissolved oxygen. To see the
data that these monitors have collected, please visit their website at
http://members.tripod.com/nohrchapter/monitor_home.htm.

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

Harker Creek is a tributary to Otter Creek below Blackhawk Lake. It is a Class II trout stream (WDNR, 1980) It has been nominated to the state antidegradation list as an exceptional resource water (ERW) stream (WRM 1991). The stream has a steeper gradient than Otter Creek. There is some grazing along the stream, with banks exposed and eroding (WDNR, 1991).

Date  1994

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Harker Lee Creek - Mouth location T6N R2E Section 3 - 8, Surface area = 4.1 acres, Length = 4.1 miles, Gradient = 53.7 feet per mile, Total alkalinity = 258.0 mg/l, Volume of flow = 4.2 cfs.
Springs form the principal source of water for this stream making it one of the better trout streams in Iowa County. Although it has a higher than average gradient, flooding and bank erosion are moderate, except in the lower sections, because of a broad valley located in the upper half of its basin.
Currently, there is a flood control dam (detention structure) being planned for this stream under Public Law 566, administered by the Department of Agriculture. It is to be located in the vicinity of the confluence of the Harker-Lee and Lee Creeks. Lee Creek is the only major tributary and contributes about 20 percent of its base flow. Springs are found in the upper half of its length where the natural reproduction of brown and brook trout are known to occur. Fingerling and legal-sized brown trout are stocked to supplement the fishery. Forage fishe, found during a seining survey include hog and white suckers; bluntnose and stoneroller minnows; redbelly and blacknose dace; hornyhead and creek chubs; bigmouth and common shiners; and johnny darters. Game assets include muskrats, which are common, and some migratory waterfowl. Public lands are lacking along this stream. Presently it is accessible from two town road crossings.

From: Piening, Ronald and Threinen, C.W., 1968. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Iowa County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1968

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Harker Creek, Otter and Morrey Creeks Watershed (LW11) Fish and Aquatic LifeHarker Creek, Otter and Morrey Creeks Watershed (LW11) RecreationHarker Creek, Otter and Morrey Creeks Watershed (LW11) Fish Consumption

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'.

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

Harker Creek is located in the Otter and Morrey Creeks watershed which is 198.69 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (48%), agricultural (42%) and a mix of wetland (4%) and other uses (6%). This watershed has 437.57 stream miles, 351.55 lake acres and 5,785.74 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Ranked 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.

Natural Community

Harker Creek is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem 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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