West Branch Baraboo River, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24)
West Branch Baraboo River, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24)
West Br Baraboo River (1288400)
6.49 Miles
9.30 - 15.79
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.
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
 
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.
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.
Class III Trout
Streams capable of supporting a seasonal coldwater sport fishery and which may be managed as coldwater streams.
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.
FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.

Overview

From Sebranek Lane to the headwaters (class 3).

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Overview

The West Branch of the Baraboo River, located in northeastern Vernon County and western
Juneau County, flows in a northeasterly direction for 16 miles before reaching the Baraboo
River at Union Center. One dam at the Village of Hillsboro impounds the West Branch of the
Baraboo River at its midpoint. Some people and references in documents erroneously identify
the portion of river downstream of Hillsboro Lake as South Branch of the Baraboo River
when in fact it is the West Branch of the Baraboo River. The South Branch of the Baraboo
River, also known as South Branch Creek, is a tributary to the West Branch at Hillsboro Lake.
The West Branch of the Baraboo River has a gradient of 69 feet per mile upstream of
Hillsboro Lake and drains hilly agricultural and forested land. The West Branch of the
Baraboo River upstream of Hillsboro Lake is in the Hillsboro Lake Priority Watershed.
The West Branch of the Baraboo River is a Class III trout stream for 4.6 miles upstream of
Sebranek Road just west of Hillsboro. The remainder of the river contains forage fish species
and possibly some game fish species.
The most recent biological survey, conducted in 1988, documented a marginal trout fishery
upstream of Sebranek Road just west of Hillsboro. The stretch of river from this bridge downstream
to Hillsboro Lake was inhabited by white suckers and largemouth bass. The West
Branch of the Baraboo River upstream of Hillsboro Lake suffers from flooding, sedimentation
of pools and riffles, manure runoff, and lack of instream habitat for adult trout. The water
quality standard for dissolved oxygen has been violated under low-flow conditions
downstream of Hillsboro Lake in 1983, consequently a 1.75 mile section of this river below
the lake is classified as an impaired water (303d list). Several factors may contribute to the
lack of dissolved oxygen including: discharges from the Hillsboro wastewater treatment plant
and from Foremost Farms USA, low stream velocity, an upstream impoundment with algae
problems, and stream channelization. To increase dissolved oxygen levels in the river, the
Village of Hillsboro may want to review and possibly change dam operation procedures
during summer months when algae blooms occur. Since this stretch of river has a very low
gradient which is not conducive to aeration, an alteration of the river to induce more aeration
may also prove beneficial. If dissolved oxygen levels in the West Branch of the Baraboo
River consistently stay above the state standard, removal from the impaired waters list would
result. WDNR records indicate that the West Branch of the Baraboo River has been stocked
with brown trout consistently since 1960. Access to the West Branch of the Baraboo River is
from seven road crossings.

Ripp, Coreen, Koperski, Cindy and Folstad, Jason. 2002. The State of the Lower Wisconsin River Basin.
PUBL WT-559-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  2002

Author  Cynthia Koperski

Historical Description

This stream is a Class III trout stream above Hillsboro Lake. Water quality is generally
good in the upper reaches, with water temperatures and dissolved oxygen levels suitable
for trout. Nonpoint sources of pollution are affecting habitat and water quality. The main
problems are with in-stream siltation filling spawning areas and deep pools, nutrient
loading to the stream, and elevated water temperatures in the lower reach (Biebl,1991).
The water quality standard for dissolved oxygen has been violated under lowflow
conditions (less than 7 cubic feet per second) downstrem of Hillsboro. Several
Factors may contribute to this problem, including the discharges from the Hillsboro
wastewater treatment plan and AMPI-Warner Creek Cheese, low stream velocity, an
upstream impoundmnt, stream channelization, and beaver ponds (Sorge, 1991-92).

Date  1994

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Highway 80 to the headwaters (class 3).

Date  1980

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Baraboo River, West Branch, T14N, R1E, Section 35. Surface Acres = 7.7, Miles = 5.8, Gradient: 69.2 feet per mile.
This clear, hard water stream flows in a general southeasterly direction and joins the South Branch in Field-Veterans Memorial Lake at Hi11sboro. The entire stream above the lake is Class III brown trout water. White suckers, creek chubs, and common shiners also inhabit the stream. Silt is the dominant bottom type, with sand, gravel, rubble, detritus. boulder. and clay also present. Access is possible from the impoundment at Hillsboro and from six road crossings. Approximately eight acres of wetland adjoin the stream. Wood ducks nest along the stream, and a small number of migrant puddle ducks use the water.

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

Date  1973

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

West Branch Baraboo River, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24) Fish and Aquatic LifeWest Branch Baraboo River, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24) RecreationWest Branch Baraboo River, Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed (LW24) Fish Consumption

General Condition

West Branch Baraboo River (miles 9.3-15.79) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (macroinvertebrate and 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

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

West Branch Baraboo River is located in the Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River watershed which is 171.73 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (62%), forest (30%) and a mix of suburban (5%) and other uses (2%). This watershed has 414.62 stream miles, 124.03 lake acres and 4,637.96 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Medium 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

West Br Baraboo River is considered a 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.