Fourmile Creek, Fourmile and Fivemile Creek Watershed (CW10)
Fourmile Creek, Fourmile and Fivemile Creek Watershed (CW10)
Ditch #4 (1389600)
9.36 Miles
0 - 9.36
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.
2017
Suspected Poor
 
Portage
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

Fourmile Creek is a 20-mile tributary to the Wisconsin River. The stream is impounded at two locations creating Wazeecha and Nepco Lakes. The upper 11 miles of the stream have been ditched and is now called Ditch No. 4. The lower eight miles supports a warm water sport fishery and the upper 12 miles including Ditch No. 4 are classified as Class I trout water. Cattle pasturing, streambank erosion, sedimentation and the lack of pools, riffles and fish cover impact the habitat of the non-ditched portion of the stream.

Ditch No. 4 has higher densities of brook trout than the lower reaches known as Fourmile Creek. Land use surrounding the ditch is dominated by cranberry marshes, irrigated cropland and state owned prairie chicken land. Limiting factors of in-stream habitat include channel ditching, sedimentation primarily from wind erosion, and the lack of pools and riffles. Overhanging vegetation, submerged macrophytes and some undercutting of the streambanks provides fish cover. Three of the cranberry operations utilize ditch water for cultivating cranberries. Continuous temperature monitoring found higher water temperatures in the ditch below the discharges of the marshes. Streamflow monitoring was completed in 1997 above and below these marshes during the fall harvest. During this time, streamflow decreased below these marshes by 60%. The water drawn from a ditch impacts in-stream habitat by reducing stream depth, decreasing the amount of fish cover and may increase water temperatures. Water removed from the ditches during the fall harvest reduces water levels and may impact(s) the spawning success of trout. The reduction of water levels can reduce spawning areas and may expose fish redds causing mortality of eggs or larval fish.

The steep grade in the lower portion of Fourmile Creek, below CTH F, has led to streambank and streambed erosion. It is believed 65 to 75 percent of the sediment entering Lake Wazeecha is from Lower Fourmile Creek (Kruger). High concentrations of phosphorus are found in the sediment. Grade control (drop) structures and riprap are possible means for controlling bed load sediment movement and streambank erosion.

The Upper Fourmile Creek Watershed is a source of nutrients in the creek and lake. In-stream nitrate values as high as 4.5 ppm have been detected. The nutrients come from wetland drainage, wind erosion and streambank pasturing. Lower gradients permit sediments to settle out and not constitute a large percentage of the total Fourmile Creek sediment reaching Lake Wazeecha (Kruger, 1986).

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Fourmile Creek, Fourmile and Fivemile Creek Watershed (CW10) Fish and Aquatic LifeFourmile Creek, Fourmile and Fivemile Creek Watershed (CW10) RecreationFourmile Creek, Fourmile and Fivemile Creek Watershed (CW10) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Fourmile Creek (WBIC 1389600) from the control structure in SE1/4 S33 T22N R8E to the headwaters was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) and temperature 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

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

Protect Riparian or Shorelands
Address the issue of WQ protection and development along Nepco Lake and the Four-mile Creek. SSA Plan Committee agreed to extend the proposed area after counseling with the Village of Port Edwards.
Action Migrated from WATERS
Watershed staff, in cooperation with Portage County Land Conservation Department and Central Wisconsin Windshed Partnership, should continue to work with local farmers to encourage wind erosion best management practices.

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

Fourmile Creek is located in the Fourmile and Fivemile Creek watershed which is 213.96 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (52%), forest (24%) and a mix of suburban (11%) and other uses (13%). This watershed has stream miles, lake acres and 13,528.97 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Medium for runoff impacts on streams, Medium 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

Ditch #4 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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