German Valley Br, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05)
German Valley Br, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05)
German Valley Branch (909200)
7.63 Miles
0 - 7.63
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
Good
 
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

German Valley Branch is a seven-mile spring fed stream in Dane County on the south slope of Military Ridge that joins Big Spring Creek (also known as Blue Mounds Branch) to form Gordon Creek. Its designated use has not been
codified. Although this entire stream is on the state’s list of impaired waters due to habitat degradation caused by heavy sedimentation, German Valley has shown signs of improvement over the last several years, and is now
considered to be meeting its designated use. As such, German Valley Branch, along with Syftestad Creek, serve as a reference stream for these TMDLs.
Previously, under its impaired condition, German Valley Branch only supported a warm water forage fishery. Recent monitoring indicates that the stream now supports a cold water fish community including abundant mottled sculpin, numerous brown trout that migrate upstream from Gordon Creek and American brook lamprey.

German Valley Creek is currently managed as a Class II trout stream but fisheries and water quality reclassification submittals are pending approval. Surveys conducted in 2001 and 2002 showed water temperatures that stayed below 75 F and dissolved oxygen stayed above 6.0 mg/l, even during rain events. Fish shocking conducted in that same year at CTH Z showed several year classes of brown trout as well as the presence of other cold water species such as mottled sculpin and American brook lamprey. In conjunction with biological sampling data, WDNR biologists made visual observations in 2002 regarding the stream. They noted that the bottom consisted of rock and rubble with areas of sediment deposition,
and that the stream was narrow.

According to Department habitat ratings, these observations suggest fair habitat. The Cold Water Index of Biotic Integrity (CWIBI) for this survey was 50, which indicates a “fair” assemblage of coldwater species. This improvement may be due to the large enrollment of upstream lands in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). There is an ongoing project on German Valley Branch to rehabilitate the stream corridor to mitigate the effects of sediment from nonpoint sources and improve fish habitat. Such efforts will continue through 2005.

Date  2006

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

German Valley Creek -T5N, R6E, Sec. 6, Surface acres = 1.5, Length = 5 mIles, Stream order = II, Gradient = 36.0 ft/mile.
Base discharge = 0.19 cfs.
ThIs small. sprlng-fed stream on the south slope of Military Ridge joins the Blue Mounds Branch near the lowa-Dane County line to form Gordon Creek. ApproxImately 130 acres of pastured fresh meadow adjoin the stream near the mouth. Watershed problems include severe stream bank erosIon, overgrazing. and agricultural runoff. The stream presently supports a good dIversity of forage fish. A trout fishery could be established through an intensive habitat and watershed management program. Access is available at six road crossings. Fish species: brook lamprey, central stoneroller, blacknose dace, creek chub, white sucker, brook stickleback, and Johnny darter.

From: Day Elizabeth A.; Grzebieniak, Gayle P.; Osterby, Kurt M.; and Brynildson, Clifford L., 1985. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Dane County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI

Date  1985

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

German Valley Br, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05) Fish and Aquatic LifeGerman Valley Br, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05) RecreationGerman Valley Br, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05) Fish Consumption

General Condition

German Valley Branch (WBIC 909200) 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

German Valley Creek arises in Section 10 of Blue Mounds Township and flows about seven miles to the confluence with Gordon Creek. Until recently, GVC had never been managed for trout due to chronic low stream flows, poor habitat and poor water quality. However, while it has been more degraded than Gordon Creek, German Valley Creek followed a similar path toward restoration (Figure 6). GVC now supports primarily stenothermal cold water fish species and the trout stream classification reflects these fish community changes and angler opportunities.

Surveys completed from 2007 through 2009 demonstrate continued favorable trout habitat. Several miles of the stream habitat was restored and include easements for public fishing. GVC is still listed as 303d impaired by it is expected to be removed from the list soon to reflect the significantly improved water quality and habitat and sustained brown trout population. And Dane County Department of Land and Water Resources continue to work with area farmers to improve manure management practices. The best trout habitat is located in the lower reaches where enough spring flow sustains habitat and cold water temperatures. Hilsenhoff Biotic Index scores ranged from 2.91 (excellent water quality) to 5.15 (good water quality) during the period from 1994 through 2002.

Date  2011

Author  Carpc Capital Area Rpc

General Condition

This spring-fed stream on the south slope of Military Ridge joins Big Spring Creek (also known as Blue Mounds Branch) to form Gordon Creek. Although this stream is on the state's list of impaired waters due to habitat degradation caused by heavy sedimentation, German Valley has shown signs of improvement over the last several years.

Surveys conducted in 2001 and 2002 showed water temperatures stayed below 75oF and dissolved oxygen stayed above 6.0 mg/l, even during rain events, thus it is has the potential to support trout. Fish shocking conducted in that same year showed several year classes of brown trout as well as the presence of other cold water species such as mottled sculpin and brook lamprey (Marshall, pers comm). This improvement may be due to the large enrollment of upstream lands in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

Date  2002

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

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

German Valley Br is located in the Gordon Creek watershed which is 76.90 mi². 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

German Valley 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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