Apple Branch, Lower East Branch Pecatonica Rivers Watershed (SP03)
Apple Branch, Lower East Branch Pecatonica Rivers Watershed (SP03)
Apple Branch (899800)
4.90 Miles
0 - 4.90
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
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
Excellent
 
Lafayette
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.
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

Apple Branch is a spring fed trout stream which flows easterly into Whiteside Creek. The upper 3 miles is on the states list of impaired waters. The 1967 Surface Waters of Lafayette County noted that the stream ýabounds with forage fishes of varied speciesý and that ýrainbow and brown trout are common and brook trout are presentý. In 1980, the fish manager demonstrated that Apple Branch supported low numbers of brown trout and that natural reproduction was unlikely (Marshall, 1991). A 1990 macroinvertebrate survey showed ýgoodý water quality. A 2001 comprehensive fish survey showed the presence of carp, bigmouth buffalo, and white suckers as well as tolerant warm water forage fish, resembling a degraded system (Sims, pers. comm). The lower part of the stream was recently upgraded to a Class II trout fishery (Wisconsin Trout Streams, February, 2002). In 1991, poor trout survival, bank erosion, turbidity, and high temperatures were cases of impairment. Resource objectives for the priority watershed project were to improve trout fisheries and stream habitat, reduce erosion by 50%, reduce organic loading, and improve wildlife habitat (Marshall, 1991). The 2001 survey data may indicate that the system is not meeting these objectives. A more comprehensive survey looking at habitat and macroinvertebrates is needed.

Apple Branch is included in the 2005 TMDLs for Sediment Impaired Streams in the Sugar-Pecatonica River Basin Report.

http://dnr.wi.gov/org/water/wm/wqs/303d/ApprovedTMDLs/Sugar_Pec_TMDL.pdf

Date  2005

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Overview

Apple Branch is a spring fed trout stream which flows easterly into Whiteside Creek. The upper 3 miles is on the state’s list of impaired waters. The 1967 Surface Waters of Lafayette County noted that the stream “abounds with forage fishes of varied species” and that “rainbow and brown trout are common and brook trout are present”. In 1980, the fish manager demonstrated that Apple Branch supported low numbers of brown trout and that natural reproduction was unlikely (Marshall, 1991). A 1990 macroinvertebrate survey showed “good” water quality. A 2001 comprehensive fish survey showed the presence of carp, bigmouth buffalo, and white suckers as well as tolerant warm water forage fish, resembling a degraded system (Sims, 2001). Interestingly, the lower part of the stream was recently upgraded to a Class II trout fishery (Wisconsin Trout Streams February, 2002).

In 1991, poor trout survival, bank erosion, turbidity, and high temperatures were listed as causes of impairment. Resource objectives for the priority watershed project were to improve trout fisheries and stream habitat, and reduce erosion by greater than 50%, reduce organic loading, and improve wildlife habitat (Marshall, 1991). The 2001 survey data may indicate that the system is not meeting these objectives. A more comprehensive survey looking at habitat and macroinvertebrates is needed.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Apple Branch is a spring-fed trout stream which flows easterly intoWhiteside Creek. The bottom type is about half rubble and half gravel. It abounds with forage fishes of varied species. Rainbow and brown trout are common and brook trout are present. Presently, it is stocked annually with fingerling brown trout. Game assets include muskrats and some waterfowl. Most of the watershed is in firm pasture or crops. There is no land in public ownership; however, access is possible from three town and two stateroad bridge crossings.

Apple Branch, T2N, R5E,Sections 4-3, Surface acres = 8.1, Miles = 6.7, Gradient = 29.6 feet per mile, Total alkalinity = 289 mg/l, Volume of flow = 3.1 cfs.
From: Piening, Ronald; Poff, Ronald; Threinen, C.W., 1967. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Lafayette County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1967

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Apple Branch, Lower East Branch Pecatonica Rivers Watershed (SP03) Fish and Aquatic LifeApple Branch, Lower East Branch Pecatonica Rivers Watershed (SP03) RecreationApple Branch, Lower East Branch Pecatonica Rivers Watershed (SP03) Fish Consumption

General Condition

The Apple Branch (below S19 T3N R5E, mile 0 to 4.9) 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. It was proposed that this water now be identified as a Category 2 water.

Date  2017

Author  Amanda Smith

General Condition

Apple Branch is a spring fed class II trout stream which flows easterly into Whiteside Creek. The upper 3 miles is on the state's list of impaired waters. The 1967 Surface Waters of Lafayette County noted that the stream abounds with forage fishes of varied speciesand that rainbow and brown trout are common and brook trout are present. In 1980, the fish manager demonstrated that Apple Branch supported low numbers of brown trout and that natural reproduction was unlikely (Marshall, 1991). A 1990 macroinvertebrate survey showed goodwater quality.

In 1991, poor trout survival, bank erosion, turbidity, and high temperatures were listed as causes of impairment. Resource objectives for the priority watershed project were to improve trout fisheries and stream habitat, and reduce erosion by greater than 50%, reduce organic loading, and improve wildlife habitat (Marshall, 1991). A 2001 comprehensive fish survey showed the presence of carp, bigmouth buffalo, and white suckers as well as tolerant warm water forage fish, resembling a degraded system (Sims, pers. comm). The 2001 survey data may indicate that the system is not meeting these objectives.

A 2007 survey showed low numbers of trout and the presence of eurythermal and tolerant fish species. These fisheries assemblages indicate that Apple Branch is likely a coolwater transitional stream. High water from August 2007 to July 2008 inundated the lower 1/3 of the stream. As a result, numbers of northern pike made their way upstream for spawning. Many yearling pike were found in these lower reaches in September, 2008 and may have impacted the trout and forage community. As in 1991, the Hilsenhoff Biotic Index (Hilsenhoff, 1987) showed good water quality. The macroinvertebrate IBI (Weigel, 2003) indicated fair to poor habitat and land use. Although Apple Branch shows promise as a cool-cold water fishery, overall environmental quality in the upper 1/3 of the stream has not changed and this segment of the stream should remain on the state's list of impaired waters.

Date  2010

Author  James Amrhein

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.
TMDL Monitoring
TMDL Implementation Plan Monitoring.
Monitor or Propose 303(d) Listing
Monitor TSS, Sediment and Temperature as well as Fisheries, Habitat and Aquatic macroinvertebrate species.
TMDL Implementatoin
Apple Branch 899800, TMDL Approved 2005, Pollutant: Sediment Listing Status: TMDL Approved Impairment: Elevated Water Temperature
TMDL (USEPA) Approved
Apple Branch TMDL Approved

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

Apple Branch is located in the Lower East Branch Pecatonica Rivers watershed which is 144.80 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (76%), forest (16%) and a mix of suburban (4%) and other uses (3%). This watershed has 370.96 stream miles, 107.68 lake acres and 2,029.49 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.

Natural Community

Apple Branch is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater 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) 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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