Cooley Creek, Rush Creek Watershed (BL01)
Cooley Creek, Rush Creek Watershed (BL01)
Cooley Creek (1638100)
6.57 Miles
0 - 6.57
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
Good
 
Crawford, Vernon
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.
Yes
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

Cooley Creek, located in northwest Crawford and southwest Vernon Counties, flows for 4.1 miles in a southerly direction before reaching Rush Creek. It has a gradient of 57 feet per mile and drains steep forested hillsides with valley agricultural lands.

Cooley Creek is a Class I trout stream for its entire length. A 1994 stream survey documented numerous young brown trout in Cooley Creek confirming natural reproduction. However, siltation, bank erosion, beaver activity, and lack of in-stream cover are limiting the potential of the brown trout fishery in Cooley Creek. The stream bottom consists mainly of sand and gravel. WDNR has not stocked Cooley Creek with brown trout since 1993. Riparian buffers and in-stream habitat improvement would benefit this fishery. Access to Cooley Creek is from four road crossings and DNR owned land. From: Koperski, Cindy. 2002. The State of the Bad Axe - La Crosse Basin. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI

Date  2002

Author  Cynthia Koperski

Historical Description

Cooley Creek. TllN. R6W. Section 17. Surface Acres = 1.5. Miles = 1.5. Gradient = 60.0 feet per mile.
Heading in Vernon County. this stream flows in a southerly direction and joins Rush Creek in Crawford County. The water is clear and hard. During the winter aerial groundwater survey. the lower mile of stream in Vernon County had open water. Cooley Creek is Class III brown trout water. Gravel dominates the bottom types. but there is considerable and about equal amounts of sand and rubble. with lesser amounts of silt. boulder. and detritus. Access is possible from two road crossings. Wildlife value is minimal.

From: Klick, Thomas A. and Threinen, C.W. 1973. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Vernon County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1973

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Cooley Creek, Rush Creek Watershed (BL01) Fish and Aquatic LifeCooley Creek, Rush Creek Watershed (BL01) RecreationCooley Creek, Rush Creek Watershed (BL01) Fish Consumption

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
AU 13964, poor fIBI, Station 10038717

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

Cooley Creek is located in the Rush Creek watershed which is 240.16 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (44%), agricultural (31%) and a mix of open (13%) and other uses (13%). This watershed has 551.06 stream miles, 1,906.88 lake acres and 9,793.93 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked for runoff impacts on lakes and Medium for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Medium. 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

Cooley 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.

Fisheries & Habitat

A number of small 1st and 2nd order streams in the watershed, such as Buck Creek, Cooley Creek and the North Branch of Copper Creek, were stocked with ferderal brook trout. Follow-up fisheries surveys were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the stocking program. Preliminary fisheries information from the streams indicates that trout stocking can provide the initial brood stock necessary to establish a viable and self-sustaining brook trout population. However, recent surveys also provide evidence that fish communities in these small streams may be significantly affected by extremely high flows.

Date  2011

Author  Cynthia Koperski