Watershed - Coon Creek (BL03)
Coon Creek Watershed

Details

The Coon Creek Watershed, located in west central Vernon, southwest Monroe, and southern La Crosse counties, covers 238 square miles and includes all streams that drain to Coon Creek as well as the following Mississippi River tributaries: Chipmunk Coulee Creek, Mormon Coulee Creek, Creek 16-6 and Creek 29-1. This watershed contains more than 136 miles of classified trout streams, the majority of which contain self-sustaining trout populations. The Coon Creek Watershed contains steep, wooded hills with farming activities in both the valleys and ridge tops. Streams in the Coon Creek Watershed characteristically contain clear, cold, spring-fed water with gravel and rubble bottoms in their upper reaches changing to predominantly sand bottoms further downstream. Numerous streams in the watershed contain both natural and restored overhead cover for trout and are accessible for fishing through public easements. Beginning in the 1980s, a coordinated effort in the watershed of purchase of public streambank easements, restoration of in-stream cover for trout, streambank stabilization, and stocking of wild brook and brown trout has culminated in the Coon Creek Watershed being called the Montana of the Midwest. License plates from around the country can be routinely found parked along the roads of the watershed, their owners fishing for trout along the nearby streams.

Date  2011

Population, Land Use

The southern tip of the City of La Crosse, the villages of Stoddard, Chaseburg, and Coon Valley, as well as a portion of the City of Westby are all within the Coon Creek Watershed. Suburban growth is occurring throughout the watershed, but largely in the rural areas near the City of La Crosse. Forest cover and agriculture are the predominant land uses in the Coon Creek Watershed, with 41% and 40% of the total area, respectively. Open water and open space encompass the remaining sizeable land use areas in the watershed with 14% of the total area. This area essentially is the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Refuge, also known as Pool 8 of the Mississippi River. Urban and suburban environments total about two percent of the watersheds area. Land Use is from the 2001 NLCI dataset. Farming practices utilized since European settlement in the mid-1800's created massive soil erosion and frequent flash floods triggered by the cultivation and pasturing of steep slopes. In 1933, the Coon Creek watershed was designated as the first soil conservation project in the nation within the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), now known as the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The purpose of the project was to determine which flood control and watershed conservation measures were effective in reducing erosion. The successful flood control and conservation practices were then promoted in other areas where similar erosion problems had occurred. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was mobilized to install contour strips, grass waterways, and fences to exclude cattle from steep hillsides, as well as plant trees and shrubs. They also installed streambank protection such as willow plantings, brush mats, as well as rock and timber pilings on eroding banks. The success of this soil conservation project is evidenced by farmers still maintaining original contour strips, re-vegetated hillsides, and recovery of the Class I trout streams. Numerous studies have been conducted on the Coon Creek Watershed since the 1933 project. It is important to note that the Wisconsin DNR defined Coon Creek Watershed encompasses 238 square miles; whereas the NRCS defined Coon Creek Watershed encompasses 141 square miles including only Coon Creek and its tributaries.

Date  2011

Nonpoint and Point Sources

The communities of Coon Valley and Chaseburg each discharge treated wastewater to Coon Creek. Both the La Crosse and Pineview Mobile Home Parks discharge treated wastewater to Mormon Coulee Creek and the Village of St. Joseph discharges to a dry creek bed tributary to Mormon Coulee Creek. Both Genoa and Stoddard send their treated wastewater to the Mississippi River. Overall, the watershed is ranked medium for nonpoint source pollution. The streams in Coon watershed are ranked medium, the groundwater is ranked medium, and there are no inland lakes to rank for nonpoint source pollution. In August of 2007, what has been called the 1,000 year storm hit Vernon County, including the entire Coon Creek Watershed. Constant rain fell for more than 12 hours saturating soils, flooding streams, washing out roads and causing landslides. The following June, 2008 another high volume storm passed over the area causing flooding nearly as extensive as the 2007 flood. The floods, however, did not wreak havoc on streambanks in the Coon Creek Watershed due to the decades-long effort to stabilize streambanks. Bank stabilization includes the replacement of woody vegetation and trees with grasses. During high water events, these grasses lay down and, along with proper bank re-shaping, allows the stream unimpeded access to its floodplain, thus reducing streambank damage due to high water. The majority of the flood damage in the Coon Creek Watershed was bridge and culvert washouts, landslides, and personal property damage. There are no permitted Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) within the Coon Creek Watershed. However, there may be some acreage approved for land spreading in the Coon Creek Watershed of CAFO generated waste from outside the watershed

Date  2011

Ecological Landscapes for Coon Creek Watershed

Ecological Landscapes

This watershed is located in the Western Coulee and Ridges Ecological Landscape in southwestern and west central Wisconsin and is characterized by its highly eroded, driftless topography and relatively extensive forested landscape. Soils are silt loams (loess) and sandy loams over sandstone residuum over dolomite. Several large rivers including the Wisconsin, Mississippi, Chippewa, Kickapoo and Black flow through or border this Ecological Landscape. Historical vegetation consisted of southern hardwood forests, oak savanna, scattered prairies, and floodplain forests and marshes along the major rivers. With Euro-American settlement, most of the land on ridge tops and valley bottoms was cleared of oak savanna, prairie, and level forest for agriculture. Current vegetation is a mix of forest (41%), agriculture (40%), and grassland with some wetlands in the river valleys. The primary forest cover is oak-hickory (51%) dominated by oak species and shagbark hickory. Maple-basswood forests (28%), dominated by sugar maple, basswood and red maple, are common in areas that were not subjected to repeated pre-settlement wildfires. Bottomland hardwoods (10%) are common in the valley bottoms of major rivers and are dominated by silver maple, ashes, elms, cottonwood, and red maple. Relict conifer forests including white pine, hemlock and yellow birch are a rarer natural community in the cooler, steep, north slope microclimates.

Date  2011

Hydrologic Features

Streams in the Coon Creek watershed characteristically contain clear, cold spring-fed water with gravel and rubble bottoms in their upper reaches changing to predominantly sand bottoms further downstream. Numerous streams in the watershed contain both natural and restored overhead cover for trout and are accessible for fishing through public easements. Hydrology is the study of water – its occurrence, circulation, distribution and properties. Water in the Coon Creek Watershed is ultimately derived from rainfall and snowmelt that either percolates into the ground or runs off the land. In the most basic sense, the condition of a stream is a reflection of the watershed it drains. This concept is especially true in the Coon Creek Watershed due to steep stream gradient, small watershed size and extremely steep hills. To determine the watershed of a stream, one need look no further than the hillsides on either side of the stream. The steep hills found throughout the Driftless Area can shed water very quickly; consequently the vegetative cover and soil condition of hillsides are vital to the health of adjacent streams. The trees or healthy grasses that grow on these hillsides are what effectively retain water with their roots, leaves and ultimately the soil. This water then slowly moves through the underlying rock layers to become groundwater that is either pumped from wells for consumption or resurfaces as springs. Some springs in the basin flow as if from an underground pipe while others gently bubble up out of the ground. This constant source of water that averages around 50 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year is what keeps dissolved oxygen levels high in the summer and trout eggs developing properly throughout the winter. The greater absorption capacity within a watershed in the Driftless Area, the more water can percolate into the ground which slowly, but eventually, reaches a stream via clean cool springs. In a watershed with little or no absorptive capacity, for example one with acres of concrete, rooftops or soil devoid of vegetation, rainfall moves quickly over these surfaces to the nearest stream causing flash flooding. Streamflow trends in southwestern Wisconsin were recently analyzed by comparing stream flow data to precipitation data. The study concluded that baseflow (stream flow during dry periods) has increased and peak flood flows have decreased over the last century in the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin (Gebert, Warren A., Krug, William R. August 1996. Streamflow Trends in Wisconsins Driftless Area. Water Resources Bulletin, American Water Resources Association. Vol. 32, No. 4.). Land management practices which allow more rainwater to infiltrate the ground rather than runoff to the nearest stream have been suggested as the primary reason for the discovered increase in baseflow and decrease in flood peaks. Since most baseflow of Driftless Area streams is derived from groundwater, an increase in the amount of groundwater would intuitively be reflected in increased baseflow. Alternately, more water soaking into the ground results in less water running off to the nearest stream thus reducing flood levels. Thats not to say that floods dont occur in the Coon Creek Watershed, but rather that they are less frequent and less severe than in the past. Depending on the amount of rain and soil saturation or frozen conditions, streams in the Coon Creek Watershed can be flashy. Extreme rainfall amounts on saturated ground in 2007 and 2008 created flood conditions not seen for decades. Flooding wrecked havoc on the roads in the area, but did not greatly diminish the fish resources in the watershed. Decades of stream habitat improvements and streambank stabilization created optimal conditions for fish survival during catastrophic flood events. A total of 14 flood control structures are found within the Coon Creek Watershed. Most of these structures are dry dams that only hold back water during flood events. They are designed to impede and slow down the release of water downstream, thereby reducing flood damages downstream.

Date  2011

Recreational Opportunities

Recognizing the high quality trout streams in the Coon Creek watershed, the WDNR created the Coon Creek Fishery Area. WDNR ownership of land and easements on private property provides access to Coon Creek upstream of Chaseburg, Timber Coulee, Rullands Coulee, Bohemian Valley, Spring Coulee Creeks, and many unnamed tributaries for fishing and hiking. Parking areas are found throughout the fishery area and posted signs ask users to respect private landowners while enjoying the streams on public easements.

Date  2002

Fisheries

Many of the streams located in the Coon Creek Watershed are groundwater-fed coldwater trout streams. There are about 50 miles of outstanding or exceptional resource waters and 137 miles of trout waters in this watershed. Class I trout streams cover over 76 miles, Class II trout streams equal around 33 miles, and Class III trout streams make up the remaining 26 miles. Twenty-five miles of Outstanding Resource waters can be found along stretches of Berge Coulee Creek, Rullands Coulee Creek, Spring Coulee Creek, and Timber Coulee Creek. Another 25 miles of Exceptional Resource Waters are found along segments of Coon Creek, Poplar Creek, and Fishback Creek. Recognizing the high quality trout streams in the Coon Creek Watershed, the WDNR created the Coon Creek Fishery Area. WDNR ownership of land and easements on private property provides access to Coon Creek upstream of Chaseburg, Timber Coulee, Rullands Coulee, Bohemian Valley, Spring Coulee creeks, and many unnamed tributaries for fishing and hiking. Parking areas are found throughout the fishery area and posted signs ask users to respect private landowners while enjoying the streams on public easements.

Date  2011

Coon Creek Watershed At-a-Glance

Impaired Water in Coon Creek Watershed
River and Stream QualityAll Waters in Watershed

According to the WDNR’s Register of Waterbodies (ROW) database, there are over 900 miles of streams and rivers in the Coon Creek Watershed; 179 miles of which have been entered into the WDNR’s assessment database. Of these 179 miles, approximately 53% are meeting Fish and Aquatic Life uses and are specified as in “good” condition. The condition of the remaining stream miles is not known or documented. Many of the streams located in the Coon Creek Watershed are groundwater-fed coldwater trout streams. There are about 50 miles of outstanding or exceptional resource waters and 137 miles of trout waters in this watershed. Class I trout streams cover over 76 miles, Class II trout streams equal around 33 miles, and Class III trout streams make up the remaining 26 miles. Twenty-five miles of Outstanding Resource waters can be found along stretches of Berge Coulee Creek, Rullands Coulee Creek, Spring Coulee Creek, and Timber Coulee Creek. Another 25 miles of Exceptional Resource Waters are found along segments of Coon Creek, Poplar Creek, and Fishback Creek. Recognizing the high quality trout streams in the Coon Creek Watershed, the WDNR created the Coon Creek Fishery Area. WDNR ownership of land and easements on private property provides access to Coon Creek upstream of Chaseburg, Timber Coulee, Rullands Coulee, Bohemian Valley, Spring Coulee creeks, and many unnamed tributaries for fishing and hiking. Parking areas are found throughout the fishery area and posted signs.

Date  2011

Watershed Trout Streams
Watershed Outstanding & Exceptional Resources

Lakes and Impoundments

The WDNR’s ROW database shows that there are 13 acres of inland lakes and ponds and 14 acres of reservoirs in the Coon Creek Watershed. Another 283 acres of unspecified open water and 3,994 acres of Mississippi River backwaters (almost entirely from the Wigwam Slough, which encompasses more than a dozen small lakes in and around Goose Island) are also located within the watershed. The 13 acres of inland lakes are made up of several old oxbow lakes, which are all less than three acres in size. About 37 lake acres and 99 acres of riverine backwaters found within the Coon Creek Watershed have been entered into the WDNR’s assessment database; none of which have been assessed for fish and aquatic life use or any other use.

Date  2011

Wetland Health

Wetland Status The Coon Creek Watershed is located in west central Vernon, southwest Monroe, and southern La Crosse counties. An estimated 2% of the current land uses in the watershed are wetlands. Currently, only 52% of the original wetlands in the watershed are estimated to exist. Of these wetlands, the majority include emergent wetlands (58%), which include marshes and wet meadows, and forested wetlands (32%). Wetland Condition Little is known about the condition of the remaining wetlands but estimates of reed canary grass infestations, an opportunistic aquatic invasive wetland plant, into different wetland types has been estimated based on satellite imagery. This information shows that reed canary grass dominates 23% of the existing emergent wetlands and 12% of the remaining forested wetlands (See Figure 6 below). Reed Canary Grass domination inhibits successful establishment of native wetland species. Wetland Restorability Of the 2,804 acres of estimated lost wetlands in the watershed, approximately 84% are considered potentially restorable based on modeled data, including soil types, land use and land cover (Chris Smith, DNR, 2009).

Date  2011

Impaired Waters

Since 1998, Ninety-six (96) miles of the Mississippi River, which adjoins this watershed, are listed due to ambient concentrations of mercury and PCBs in the water column.

Date  2010

List of Impaired Waters

Aquatic Invasive Species

Big head carp, grass carp, and Eurasian water-milfoil have been documented in Pool 8 of the Mississippi River since 2008. Eurasian water-milfoil has been found along Goose Island and Shady Maple since 1991. Zebra mussels have also been verified and vouchered along the main body of the Mississippi since 1991.

Date  2011

Fish Consumption Advice

The Mississippi (Reach 4, Coon-Yellow - Pool 9 portion - LD 9 to LD 8) has specific fish consumption advice issued for mercury and Beyers Lake and Mississippi (Reach 4, Coon-Yellow - Pool 8 portion - LD 8 to Root R.) have specific consumption advisories for PCBs. General water use restrictions under NR102 have been in place for the Mississippi River due to mercury and PCBs since 1998. The specific advisory for mercury was added as a new impairment in 2010.

Date  2011

Groundwater

Groundwater wells vary from very shallow sandpoints to wells over 600 feet deep. Artesian wells are also common at lower elevations. Groundwater in this basin is generally of high quality, but in some locations high iron dissolving out of sandstone formations causes aesthetic and nuisance problems requiring filters to remedy. Hardness is also a problem in certain localities. Springs are common throughout the area and serve as potable water for some of the older homes and farmsteads. In general terms, springs occur when moisture, in the form of rain or snow melt, percolates downward through the layers of rock until it encounters a layer that is difficult to penetrate, for example the contact between sandstone and shale. Since it is more difficult for the moisture to enter the next rock formation, it instead flows horizontally, to exit on the sides or bottom of a hill. During drought, the flow in some streams is derived solely from groundwater discharge as baseflow into the stream. This is an important contribution, not only in terms of quantity, but also because the surface water temperatures are maintained by groundwater. Cold water fisheries are preserved, as are other water-fed habitat areas. Coon Valley, Westby, and Cashton are the only municipal water systems within the Coon Creek Watershed that have wellhead protection plans, which are developed to achieve groundwater pollution prevention measures within public water supply wellhead areas. Coon Valley and Westby also have wellhead protection ordinances in place. Vernon, La Crosse, and Monroe counties have all adopted animal waste management ordinances. The following groundwater information is for Vernon and La Crosse counties (from Protecting Wisconsin’s Groundwater through Comprehensive Planning website, http://wi.water.usgs.gov/gwcomp/), which roughly approximates to the Coon Creek Watershed. Groundwater Use From 1979 to 2005, total water use in Vernon County has increased from about 4.8 million gallons per day to about 8.1 million gallons per day through 2000 and decreased to 5.2 million gallons per day in 2005. The increase in total water use over this period until 2000 is due primarily to an increase in aquaculture use and the subsequent decrease after 2000 is due to a steep decline in aquaculture use. The proportion of county water use supplied by groundwater has been consistently greater than about 97% during the period 1979 to 2005, with a decrease to 68% in 2000 due to the spike in aquaculture around that time, which relied on surface water. During the same time period, total water use in La Crosse County has fluctuated from about 25.4 million gallons per day to 27.8 million gallons per day. The increase in total water use is due to increases in aquaculture and domestic uses, offsetting declines in other use categories. The proportion of county water use supplied by groundwater has been consistently above 99% during the period 1979 to 2005. Since 2000, domestic water use has surpassed industrial water use to encompass the largest share of any water use category in the county. Private Wells Ninety-two percent of 132 private well samples collected in Vernon County and 77% of 157 private well samples collected in La Crosse County from 1990-2006 met the health-based drinking water limit for nitrate-nitrogen. Land use affects nitrate concentrations in groundwater. An analysis of over 35,000 Wisconsin drinking water samples found that drinking water from private wells was three times more likely to be unsafe to drink due to high nitrate in agricultural areas than in forested areas. High nitrate levels were also more common in sandy areas where the soil is more permeable. In Wisconsin’s groundwater, 80% of nitrate inputs originate from manure spreading, agricultural fertilizers, and legume cropping systems. A 2002 study estimated that 43-52% of private drinking water wells in the region of Wisconsin that includes the Coon Creek Watershed contained a detectable level of an herbicide or herbicide metabolite. Pesticides occur in groundwater more commonly in agricultural regions, but can occur anywhere pesticides are stored or applied. A total of 3,861 acres of land in Vernon County are in atrazine prohibition areas. All three private well samples collected in Vernon County and 100% of 11 private well samples collected in La Crosse County met the health standard for arsenic. Potential Sources of Contamination There are no Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the Coon Creek Watershed; nor are there any licensed landfills or Superfund sites within the watershed.

Date  2011

Watershed Documents
Watershed Grants
Grant Details
River Protection Grant
Date
7/1/2004
Waters Involved
Mormon Creek
Status
Complete

Trout Unlimited - Coulee Region: Mormon Creek Restoration: The Coulee Region Chapter of Trout Unlimited proposes to restore 1000 feet of streambank along Mormon Creek in the Town of Greenfield in La Crosse County. Major project elements to include: 1) reshaping and stabalization of streambanks, 2) dredging of silted-in pools, 3) placement of lunker structures.


Monitoring & Projects

Projects including grants, restoration work and studies shown below have occurred in this watershed. Click the links below to read through the text. While these are not an exhaustive list of activities, they provide insight into the management activities happening in this watershed.

Monitoring Studies

According to the Register of Waterbodies (ROW) database, there are over 900 miles of streams and rivers in the Coon Creek Watershed; 177 miles of which have been entered into the WDNR assessment database. Of these 177 miles, approximately 61% are meeting Fish and Aquatic Life uses and are specified as in good condition. The condition of the remaining stream miles is not known or documented. Additional uses for which the waters are evaluated include Fish Consumption, General Uses, Public Health and Welfare, and Recreation. Most of these uses have not been directly assessed for the watershed. However, a general fish advisory for potential presence of mercury is in place for all waters of the state, and about 15 miles of rivers and streams within the watershed are indicated as not supporting fish consumption or general uses. It has been suspected that a gradual decrease in average stream temperatures has occurred over decades in Coon Creek and its tributaries. Proof of this comes from a decrease in fish species diversity found in area streams. Fewer fish species can tolerate constant cold water temperatures. The loss of some forage fish species over the years may be linked to decreasing average water temperatures. The observation that more natural springs are flowing than in past years also points to colder stream temperatures. To document current water temperature trends, continuous water temperature data loggers were installed in 1999 in Coon, Spring Coulee, Timber Coulee, Rullands Coulee, Bohemian Valley, Poplar, and Mormon Coulee creeks. While continuous water temperature data was not collected 30 years ago, there are not direct data comparisons besides the fish assemblages. Monitoring studies were designed in 2002 to collect water temperature hourly for approximately eight years. Eighty-two (82) stations with data are located in this watershed. Recent studies include stations in several different baseline monitoring programs including Comprehensive Sites (biological, physical and chemical parameters), Stratified Random Site studies focusing on studying natural communities (cold versus warm waters), and a reference sites study. This study involves reference site selection and monitoring using the 2008 Streams Natural Communities dataset, which was based on stream flow and temperature modeled by WDNR Integrated Science Services and USGS Region V States. This study evaluates highest quality streams representative of each of the 11 proposed natural communities. The purpose of the study is to provide the range of biological and ecological conditions for specific communities through determining the potential biological use of each and to gather information that will provide insight into the value of the eleven distinct natural communities for state assessment and water quality standards work.

Date  2011

Volunteer Monitoring

Three Volunteer Stream Monitoring stations have been monitored by five volunteers from 2005 through 2010 in the Coon Creek Watershed. All stations are monitored using Water Action Volunteer (WAV) Level 1 procedures and are entered into the WAV database. On average, stations were monitored monthly from May through October with a total of seventeen fieldwork events entered for the watershed. All stations were monitored for biotic index, flow, dissolved oxygen, instantaneous temperature and transparency. (http://www.uwex.edu/erc/wavdb/). Volunteers collect macroinvertebrates twice a year to determine a biotic index for each stream monitored. Streams are considered in poor quality if biotic index is between 1.0-2.0, fair quality if between 2.1-2.5, and in good quality if the index is between 2.6-3.5. Generally, biotic index values rated streams in the watershed to be in poor quality (ranging from 1.3-1.8) in the spring and fair to good quality (ranging from 2.2-3.1) in the fall. Stream flow varied between the three streams. Flow in Mormon Creek at Mormon Coulee Park Bridge, CBSM-10030753 and Mormon Creek, 1/2 mi. N. Kriebach Coulee Rd bridge, CBSM-10008930 averaged of 10-15 cubic feet per second (cfs), while Timber Coulee Creek near Moen Lane, CBSM-10032014 averaged 36 cfs. From 2005 through 2010, volunteers recorded dissolved oxygen levels in the watershed ranging from 7.4-12.4 mg/l, all of which are suffi cient to sustain aquatic life. Temperature measurements, used to classify streams as cold, cool or warm water habitats, and which are indicative of the ability of a habitat to sustain aquatic species, were manually recorded at all three stations. Maximum instantaneous temperatures were below 25°C for all streams, suggesting they may be cold water streams. Stream transparency measurements primarily indicated good water quality with 94% of measurements less than 10 NTU. Only one field event resulted in a measurement above this level. It was recorded on 7/27/2005 at Mormon Creek at Mormon Coulee Park Bridge, CBSM-10030753 with a measurement of 27 NTU. CBSM by Station: http://prodoasext.dnr.wi.gov/reports/rwservlet?swims&report=cbsm1.rdf&i_desformat=PDF&i_plan_seq=22951175&i_current_year_flag=N&i_start_date=1/1/2002

Date  2011

Coon Creek Watershed

Goals

9/2/2011
Protect and sustain high quailty trout waters in the watershed.

Priorities

9/2/2011
Protection of high quality streams in the Coon Creek Watershed.
9/2/2011
Maintenance of groundwater flow adequate to sustain coldwater streams and high quality fisheries.
Watershed Recommendations
Control Streambank Erosion
Control Streambank Erosion
Date
Status
The South Fork of the Bad Axe River fishery would benefit from the reduction of streambank erosion.
7/13/2010
Proposed
Projects
 
Fish Management, Access
Coon Creek Fishery Area
Date
Status
The DNR should continue stocking trout and restoring in-stream habitat from Coon Valley to Chaseburg. Coon Creek between Chaseburg and the Mississippi River would benefit from the acquisition of streambank easements and instream habitat restoration. Consequently, the DNR should extend the Coon Creek Fishery Area to include Coon Creek downstream of Chaseburg to the Mississippi River.
12/27/2011
Proposed
 
Habitat Restoration - Instream
Chipmunk Coulee Creek Habitat Restoration
Date
Status
Chipmunk Coulee Creek would benefit from the acquisition of streambank easements and in-stream habitat restoration. Access is possible from four road crossings and the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge.
12/27/2011
Proposed
Projects
 
Habitat Restoration - Instream
 
Date
Status
The WDNR should continue in-stream habitat restoration in all streams where necessary in Coon Creek Fishery Area streams.
1/1/2010
Proposed
Projects
 
Hire County Aquatic Invasives Coordinator
 
Date
Status
Hire Aquatic Invasives (AIS) County Coordinator - Monroe
1/1/2011
Not Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Fish Community
 
Date
Status
WDNR should conduct a fish and habitat survey of Fishback Creek to document existing conditions.
10/1/2010
Proposed
 
Monitor Fish Community
 
Date
Status
WDNR should conduct a fish and habitat survey of Wing Hollow Creek to document existing conditions.
1/1/2010
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Fish Community
 
Date
Status
The WDNR should survey Mormon Coulee Creek in the near future to determine if the introduction of wild brown trout develops into a self sustaining population.
1/1/2010
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Fish Community
 
Date
Status
WDNR should conduct surveys of Spring Coulee Creek (Creek 16-6) and Hohlfield Creek (Creek 20-16) to determine success of wild brook trout stocking.
1/1/2010
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Fish Community
 
Date
Status
WDNR should conduct a fish and habitat survey of Hasley Creek to document existing conditions.
1/1/2010
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Fish Community
 
Date
Status
WDNR should conduct a fish and habitat survey of Poplar Creek to document existing conditions.
1/1/2010
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Targeted Area
Mormon Creek Baseline Monitoring
Date
Status
The La Crosse County Land Conservation Department should continue baseflow sampling of Mormon Coulee Creek to determine water quality trends.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Monitor and/or Protect Groundwater, Sourcewater
 
Date
Status
WDNR staff should continue to encourage communities to develop wellhead protection plans in the Watershed and the whole basin.
7/1/2010
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor or Propose 303(d) Listing
Mississippi RIver Monitor for Impairment Status
Date
Status
Monitor Mississippi RIver for various impairments.
7/1/2012
In Progress
Projects
 
Natural Areas Protection
 
Date
Status
The WDNR should extend the Coon Creek Fishery Area to include Coon Creek downstream of Chaseburg to the Mississippi River.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Natural Areas Protection
 
Date
Status
The WDNR should extend the Coon Creek Fishery Area to include Lindahl Creek downstream of Chaseburg to the Mississippi River.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Stormwater Planning, Implementation
 
Date
Status
The City of La Crosse and the Town of Shelby should create a stormwater plan for the Mormon Coulee Creek drainage area, with costs shared by new subdivision developments
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Coon Creek WatershedWater Plans and PartnershipsRead the Watershed Plan

The Coon Creek Watershed has a variety of local partners including County LCDs, municipalities and sanitary districts throughout the region. In addition, Trout Unlimited and other recreational user groups are engaged in the protection and restoration of the area. The 2011 draft plan for Coon Creek Watershed is now available for public review through February 6, 2011.

Date  2011

Watershed History NoteView Basin Site

Nation's First Watershed Project. Farming practices utilized since European settlement in the mid-1800's created massive soil erosion and frequent flash floods triggered by the cultivation and pasturing of steep slopes. In 1933, the Coon Creek watershed was designated as the first soil conservation project in the nation within the Soil Conservation Service(SCS), now known as the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The purpose of the project was to determine which flood control and watershed conservation measures were effective in reducing erosion. The successful flood control and conservation practices were then promoted in other areas where similar erosion problems had occurred. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was mobilized to install contour strips, grass waterways, fences to exclude cattle from steep hillsides, as well as plant trees and shrubs. They also installed streambank protection such as willow plantings, brush mats, as well as rock and timber pilings on eroding banks. The success of this soil conservation project is evidenced by farmers still maintaining original contour strips, re-vegetated hillsides, and recovery of the Class I trout streams. Numerous studies have been conducted on the Coon Creek Watershed since the 1933 project. It is important to note that the Wisconsin DNR defined Coon Creek Watershed encompasses 238 square miles, whereas the NRCS defined Coon Creek Watershed encompasses 141 square miles including only Coon Creek and its tributaries. Recognizing the high quality trout streams in the Coon Creek watershed, the WDNR created the Coon Creek Fishery Area. WDNR ownership of land and easements on private property provides access to Coon Creek upstream of Chaseburg, Timber Coulee, Rullands Coulee, Bohemian Valley, Spring Coulee Creeks, and many unnamed tributaries for fishing and hiking. Parking areas are found throughout the fishery area and posted signs ask users to respect private landowners while enjoying the streams on public easements.

Date  2010