Dougherty Creek, Lower East Branch Pecatonica Rivers Watershed (SP03)
Dougherty Creek, Lower East Branch Pecatonica Rivers Watershed (SP03)
Dougherty Creek (901000)
13.98 Miles
0 - 13.98
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.
2015
Excellent
 
Green, 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

Dougherty Creek is a moderate sized stream that has an existing use as a Class II trout stream for much of its length. The upper 2 miles has an existing use as a limited forage fishery and is on the state’s list of impaired waters for habitat degradation and dissolved oxygen problems. While most of this short section of stream has now been put in a set-aside program, there are several barnyards at the headwaters of the stream that were identified as sources of nutrients and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) to the stream (Marshall, 1991; WDNR, 2008). The stream flows through small patches of forest, cropland, and wetland, but also through pasture where it suffers severe bank erosion. The stream bottom above Apple Grove Road is primarily gravel. Below this area, silt and clay become more prevalent and the water is more turbid (Marshall, 1991).

While most of the stream is managed for brown trout, some rainbow trout have been stocked and show up in stream surveys. Tolerant, eurythermal forage fish species are common in the stream including white sucker and creek chub. Mottled sculpin, and intolerant species, are found in low to moderate numbers.

Goals of the priority watershed project were to improve the trout fishery, reduce organic loading and erosion, increase aquatic diversity and improve wildlife habitat. There has been some habitat improvement work done on the stream, primarily upstream from Prairie View Road. These have resulted in localized improvements in trout numbers with 2007 coldwater IBI ratings of “fair” to “good”. Small sections have been fenced and certain areas of the riparian corridor have been returned to prairie - especially in the upper ½ of the stream. The lower ½ of the stream runs through row crops and grazed wet meadows. Biologists noted that the U-shaped channel offers little in the way of habitat save for depth and overhanging grasses and banks. This bigger water could offer an opportunity to attract higher numbers of larger fish if habitat could be improved.

Date  2010

Author  James Amrhein

Historical Description

This moderate sized trout stream flows from the driftless area of western Green County and joins the East Branch of the Pecatonica River in Lafayette County. Dougherty Creek is fed by three small and three large tributaries including Prairie Brook, a Class II trout stream. It flows through several patches of forest, cropland and wetland, but primarily through pasture where it suffers severe bank erosion. The bottom is primarily gravel, silt and muck and the water is occasionally turbid. Small amounts of fencing and habitat improvement on the stream have been completed over the years, but much more needs to be done.

The entire length of Dougherty Creek in Green County is managed for brown trout. although rainbow trout have occasionally been stocked in the past. The stream above Section 20 is considered to be Class II trout water, while that below is primarily Class III. Trout spawning generally takes place within two Fish Management easements in Section 19. Forage fish are plentiful throughout the stream, and catfish and carp are found in the lower portions. Wlildlife is not abundant but includes muskrats, wood ducks, mallards and teal. Public access is available at seven public road crossings and at two Fish Management easements providing 4.13 miles of frontage. Fish Species: American brook lamprey. rainbow trout. brown trout. carp. brassy minnow. common shiner. bigmouth shiner. southern' redbelly dace. bluntnose minnow. fathead minnow, creek chub. white sucker. black bullhead. channel catfish. brook stickleback. green sunfish. bluegill. largemouth bass. fantail darter. Johnny darter. blackside darter, mottled sculpin.

Surface Acres = 12.5, Length = 13.0 miles, Gradient = 10 ft./mi., Base Discharge = 23.3 cu.

Bush, D.M., R. Cornelius, D. Engle, and C.L. Brynildson. 1980. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Green County, 2nd Edition. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, Wisconsin.

Date  1980

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Dougherty Creek begins in Green County and flows in a southerly direction into the East Branch of' the Pecatonica River. Only 3.2 square miles of its more than 28 square miles of watershed area are in Lafayette County. Having a low gradient and a good volume of flow the year round, the stream lends itself to catfish management. Other fish species present are smallmouth bass and forage minnows. There are no feeder streams within the county. The chief bottom types are rubble and silt with most of the stream banks presently in firm pasture. There is a small area of marshland at its mouth which furnishes some nesting cover for waterfowl. Muskrats are common, but otherwise game assets within the watershed are limited to the upland types. Public land is lacking. Access to the stream is possible from three road bridges.

Dougherty Creek, T3N, R5E, Sections 36-11, Surface acres = 6.2, Miles = 3.3, Gradient = 6.2 feet per mile, Total alkalinity = 270 mg/l, Volume of flow = 8.8 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

Historical Description

Flows southwest into Lafayette County. It has three large free-flowing tributaries, one named Prairie Brook. This stream is often referred to as Puddle Dock. Managed for brown trout. Much of the "trout water" is fenced as part of a cooperative watershed plan. There may be some natural reproduction in the fenced spring areas. Cattle access is limited to established watering areas. There is a carp population resident in the lower stream and until recently several cheese factories discharged milk waste products into the stream. Approximately five acres along the stream are leased by the state for public fishing privileges.

Surface Acres= 12.7, Miles= 16.0, Gradient= 10.9' per mile

Date  1961

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Dougherty Creek, Lower East Branch Pecatonica Rivers Watershed (SP03) Fish and Aquatic LifeDougherty Creek, Lower East Branch Pecatonica Rivers Watershed (SP03) RecreationDougherty Creek, Lower East Branch Pecatonica Rivers Watershed (SP03) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Dougherty Creek is a sixteen-mile long stream that currently exists as a Class II trout stream for much of its length. Only the upper two miles are on the state's list of impaired waters because of degraded habitat due to sedimentation, phosphorous, and BOD from non-point source pollution.

Because of its length, the stream flows through a variety of land uses including small patches of forest, cropland, and wetland, but also through pasture where it suffers severe bank erosion. The stream bottom above Apple Grove Road is primarily gravel. Below this area, silt becomes more prevalent and the water more turbid. While most of the stream is managed for brown trout, some rainbow trout have been stocked and show up in stream surveys. Tolerant, warm water forage species are common in the stream including white sucker, common shiner, and creek chub. Mottled sculpin and other intolerant species are found in low numbers.

As part of a structured habitat survey in 2002, Department staff found that the stream has extensive (79% silt and clay) fines covering the substrate. According to the Department's habitat rating guidelines, this is considered poor habitat. Past resource objectives were to improve the trout fishery, reduce organic loading and erosion, to increase aquatic diversity, and to improve wildlife habitat. There have been some improvements to the stream habitat, and certain areas of the riparian corridor have been returned to prairie. Land use in the upper 2 miles of stream has improved. Monitoring of this section should be conducted to determine contemporary conditions.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Impaired Waters

Dougherty Creek (901000) from the intersection of Dougherty Creek and Postville Rds. to CTH H was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; temperature data exceeded 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use.

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson

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

Monitor or Propose 303(d) Listing
Monitor impaired portion of creek for D.O., nutrients, and BOD to determine level of impairment. Fisheries IBI conducted to determine contemporary status of stream. Sondes, conduct monthly nutrient analysis (12) and event sampling (10). Conduct watershed assessment to determine sources. Conduct macroinverterbrate analysis at 3 sites. July 06-June 07 Upper 4 miles of Dougherty Creek

Standards Details

This water, from the Green-Lafayette county line to South Wildlife Road (class 3), is a Class III Trout water and from South Wildlife Road to the headwaters (class 2).

Date  1980

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

Dougherty Creek is located in the Lower East Branch Pecatonica Rivers watershed which is 144.80 miĀ². 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

Dougherty 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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