Fish and Aquatic Life
This spring fed stream is managed as a Class II trout fishery for two thirds of its length. The last survey was conducted in 1980 and found no natural reproduction of trout.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The flow of Brown Branch contributes about 15 percent of the volume of Spafford Creek to which it is tributary. Its waters are spring-fed and are suitable for brown trout which are stocked annually. Some smallmouth bass are also present. The principal bottom types are rubble, silt, bedrock, and gravel. Over ninety percent of the stream's watershed area is classified as agricultural. Stream banks exhibit moderate erosion. Furbearers include muskrats on the layer sections. About seven miles of stream are in the Spafford Creek Public Hunting Grounds which consists of 3,994 acres of private land leased by the Bureau of Game Management of the Division of Conservation. No public fee title ownership exists on the stream to date but it is accessible from three town road crossings.
Brown Branch, T1N, R5E, Sections 21-8, Surface acres = 2.7, Miles = 4.3, Gradient = 27.9 feet per mile, Total alkalinity = 285 mg/l, Volume of flow = 1.6 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.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The 2018 assessments of Brown Branch (Mouth to Brown Road) showed biological impairment; new macroinvertebrate sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use (i.e. at least one macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) average scored in the poor condition category). Based on the most updated information, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list.
Author Ashley Beranek
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'.
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 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
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Brown Br is located in the Lower Pecatonica River watershed which is 134.23 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (86%), forest (8%) and a mix of suburban (5%) and other uses (2%). This watershed has 333.90 stream miles, 40.87 lake acres and 274.90 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Ranked 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.