Badger Mill Creek, Upper Sugar River Watershed (SP15)
Badger Mill Creek, Upper Sugar River Watershed (SP15)
Badger Mill Creek (888100)
3 Miles
2 - 5
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 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.
2017
Poor
 
Dane
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 II Trout)
Streams 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 through natural reproduction and selective propagation. 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 II Trout)
Streams 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 through natural reproduction and selective propagation. 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.
FAL Coldwater
Fish and Aquatic Life Coldwater - waters that do not have a specific designated (codified use) but which are have documented scientific support to ascertain indicating that the water is a cold fishable, swimmable water.

Overview

Badger Mill Creek's drainage area includes much of the southwest side of Madison as well as most of Verona. Although the creek is currently classified as a limited forage fishery in the lower two miles, DNR field surveys have shown that the creek could be reclassified as a warm water sport fishery. The creek is currently listed on the list of impaired waters due to the impacts of nonpoint source pollution.

Although historically receiving wastewater discharges, by 1985, both public and private wastewater discharges to Badger Mill Creek were removed. In August, 1998, MMSD began returning treated wastewater to Badger Mill Creek in response to concerns that by sending Verona s wastewater to MMSD for treatment, the discharge of that effluent to a stream in the Lower Rock Basin upset the water balance in the Sugar-Pecatonica Basin. Today, treated wastewater equal to the amount of water generated/pumped out of the basin, is returned to the Sugar-Pecatonica Basin via Badger Mill Creek. This effort is expected to have several consequences:
Restore the water balance between the Upper Sugar River and Yahara River watersheds.
Improve habitat.
Offset the impacts on baseflow of significant groundwater withdrawals in Verona and the southwest City of Madison and improve the fishery potential by removing low baseflow as a limiting condition.

Badger Mill Creek is the focus of several monitoring efforts as a result of this discharge.
MMSD has developed an agreement with the USGS to provide a continuous sampling station near the Verona treatment plant to monitor and document the volume and temperature of the effluent as a condition of managing the treated effluent.
The WDNR conducts fish shocking and aquatic insect sampling to study long-term trends and conditions.
MMSD has been conducting annual monitoring of fish assemblages in 1999, 2000, and 2001 at two stations in the Sugar River and two in Badger Mill Creek.

These monitoring efforts have already been able to provide a variety of results. Although, temperature readings collected by MMSD have shown that the diversion has not prevented the creek from its ability to support a cold water designation and trout population, other monitoring conducted by the DNR has shown that the diversion of treated wastewater has had other impacts on the stream. Although the numbers of trout in the creek have increased likely attributed to an increase in habitat due to an increase in flow, the presence of pollution intolerant cold water indicator species such as mottled sculpin and brook stickleback and aquatic insects indicative of health trout streams have declined since the diversion. In addition, water quality monitoring has shown increased levels of chlorides, total phosphorus, dissolved phosphorus and ammonia in the creek. As a result, although numbers of trout have increased, overall water quality and stream health may be deteriorating as a result of the diversion of treated wastewater to Badger Mill Creek. (Dave's Coldwater Habitat Evaluation Study).

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Badger Mill Creek, Upper Sugar River Watershed (SP15) Fish and Aquatic LifeBadger Mill Creek, Upper Sugar River Watershed (SP15) RecreationBadger Mill Creek, Upper Sugar River Watershed (SP15) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of Badger Mill Creek (from the confluence with the Sugar River to north of HWY 18 and 69; miles 0-2) showed impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceeded the 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, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of Badger Mill Creek (from north of HWY 18 and 69 to E Verona Ave and HWY 18; miles 2-5) showed impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceeded the 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, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

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.

Standards Details

This water is a Trout Water from the perennial outflow in T6N, R8E, section 13 to confluence with Upper Sugar River in T6N, R8E, S 28. A 2005 survey results that indicate a population of brown trout representing several year classes in sufficient numbers to sustain the population from year to year. Stocking is needed to supplement natural reproduction. Kurt Welke, 2005 Public Notice.

Date  2008

Author   Aquatic Biologist

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

Badger Mill Creek is located in the Upper Sugar River watershed which is 105.96 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (65%), suburban (14%) and a mix of forest (13%) and other uses (7%). This watershed has 183.62 stream miles, 151.49 lake acres and 2,231.15 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

Badger Mill Creek is considered a 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.

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