Gordon Creek, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05)
Gordon Creek, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05)
Gordon Creek (Big Spring Cr Or Blue Mounds Cr) (907300)
4.87 Miles
9.35 - 14.22
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 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.
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 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

This large spring fed stream originates in Dane County. Above the confluence with German Valley Branch, the stream is called Big Spring Creek (see above narrative). The lower four miles of the stream are classified as a warm water sport fishery. Smallmouth bass were reported to be in this portion of the stream (Water Resources of Iowa Co).

The next 11 miles of stream are classified as a cold water fishery and a Class II trout stream. The portion upstream from the Dane County Line and including Big Spring Creek has the additional distinction as an Exceptional Resource Water. Water quality is affected by non-point source pollution, intense grazing, exposed and eroding banks, and runoff from cultivated fields and barnyards.

Date  2002

Author  James Amrhein

Historical Description

Blue Mounds Branch (Gordon Creek) - Mouth location T4N R5E. Section 13 -11. Surface area = 8.8 acres, Length = 10.7 miles, Gradient = 45.3 feet per mile, Total Alkalinity = 259.6 mg/l, Volume of flow = 29.5 cfs.
This large spring fed stream, of moderate gradient, originates in Dane County where it is called Big Spring Creek and flows southwesterly into Iowa County and then southerly into Lafayette County where it joins the Eash Branch of the Pecatonica River just to the east of the municipality of Blanchardville. Principal tributaries within the county are McPease Valley and Kittleson Valley (Lee) Creeks. Possible sources of pollution in the watershed include two cheese factories which are closely monitored by the Division of Environmental Protection. The upper half of the stream is classed as good brown trout water while the lower part contains smallmouth bass. Forage fish species include the creek chub, hornyhead chub, common shiner, redbelly dace, johny darter, white and hogsuckers and bluntnose and stoneroller minnows.

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

Gordon Creek, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05) Fish and Aquatic LifeGordon Creek, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05) RecreationGordon Creek, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Gordon Creek (also known as Big Spring Creek or Blue Mounds Creek)
(miles 1.93-9.35; 9.35-14.22) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) sample data were clearly below 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water is meeting this designated use and is not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

General Condition

Gordon Creek (WBIC 907300, also known as Blue Mounds Branch and Big Spring Creek) arises in Section 8 of Blue Mounds Township and flows south for about six miles to the confluence with German Valley Creek. It is considered one of the premier trout streams in Dane and Iowa counties and has been the focus of extensive habitat restoration in recent years. In Dane County Gordon Creek is classified as Exceptional Resource Waters (ERW) and has been managed as a Class II trout stream for decades. The recent interest in the creek coincided with findings that it had significantly improved.

The fish community changed over the years, from eurythermal populations to stenothermal, environmentally intolerant fish populations more typical of healthy trout streams. Surveys completed from 2007 to 2009 demonstrated that good-to-excellent trout habitat in the stream continues. Gordon Creek previously supported State Special Concern redside dace but the current cold water temperatures and brown trout predation present survival obstacles for the rare fish. Data shows improved cold water IBI scores over time with the best scores beginning in 2001. In 1994, the IBI score reflected poor cold water habitat eight years after CRP signups began. The poor coldwater conditions may have indicated a lag time for ecosystem response to improved conditions and/or lower numbers of CRP participants at that time.

The CARPC report on this watershed (2011), displays daily maximum mean temperatures and sustained cold water habitat based on Onset Hobo data loggers. Hilsenhoff Biotic Index scores from samples collected in 1994 through 2002 indicated very good water quality (HBI range 2.39-4.96, mean = 3.62). The highest HBI score (lowest water quality) coincided with a manure spill that caused a major fish kill. The favorable HBI score during that pollution event likely reflected macroinvertebrate escape into the groundwater fed hyporhyeic zone. The macroinvertebrate community in Big Spring-Gordon Creek typically supports abundant stonefly populations, primarily Isoperla signata).

Date  2011

Author  Carpc Capital Area Rpc

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 Fish Community
Gordon Creek - Monitoring through regional watershed assessments and USEPA Watershed Pilot Study.

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

Gordon Creek is located in the Gordon Creek watershed which is 76.90 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (69%), forest (21%) and a mix of suburban (5%) and other uses (4%). This watershed has 205.79 stream miles, 7.11 lake acres and 487.25 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

Gordon Creek (Big Spring Cr Or Blue Mounds Cr) is considered a Coldwater, 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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