Watershed - Little La Crosse River (BL05)
Little La Crosse River Watershed

Details

The Little La Crosse River Watershed is the largest in the La Crosse River basin covering 240 square miles. Approximately one third of the watershed lies in La Crosse County with the balance in Monroe County. It includes all streams draining to the La Crosse River between the Lake Neshonoc dam in West Salem and the Perch Lake dam in Sparta. Major tributaries are Dutch, Burns, Big, Fish, Farmers Valley and Beaver Creeks, as well as the Little La Crosse River. Approximately 30 miles of Class I, 54 miles of Class II and 22 miles of Class III trout water, including the La Crosse River between Rockland and Sparta exist in the Little La Crosse River Watershed.

This watershed contains approximately the same amount of wooded hillsides as agricultural fields, with some wetlands located adjacent to the La Crosse River. Agricultural land is found both in the valleys and ridgetops in the Little La Crosse River watershed. However, due to the steep hills and narrow valleys, many valley farms contain limited tillable acreage. Consequently, riparian corridors of many streams in the watershed contain cultivated fields and barnyards. Stormwater runoff from these fields and barnyards can contribute sediment, nutrients, and bacteria to streams, all of which eventually reach Lake Neshonoc.

Date  2002

Ecological Landscapes for Little La Crosse River 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 the 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 ridgetops and valley bottoms was cleared of oak savanna, prairie, and level forest for agriculture. The steep slopes between valley bottom and ridgetop, unsuitable for raising crops, grew into oak-dominated forests after the ubiquitous presettlement wildfires were suppressed. Current vegetation is a mix of forest (40%), agriculture, 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 presettlement 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  2010

Watershed Grants
Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
12/4/1990
Waters Involved
Neshonoc Lake
Status
Complete

Neshonoc P & R District: Lake Neshonoc Sediment Control Alternatives Evaluation: To evaluate sediment control alternatives; Review and analyze existing data, visit site to take photographs, collect sediment samples, gather information on the lake and watershed.Develop estimated sediment budget for the lake and identify necessary sediment trap site.Outline alternatives with cost estimates for sediment control including lake dredging, sediment traps, and modification of agricultural practices.Develop recommendations for sediment control.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
1/30/1992
Waters Involved
Neshonoc Lake
Status
Complete

Neshonoc P & R District: Lake Neshonoc Sediment Trap Evaluation Study: The consultant will evaluate two sediment trap locations. Preliminary designs for each trp, including size, depth, volume, and location of each trap, shall be provided on engineering drawings. The two sediment cores and four sediment analyses must betaken from the sediment trap location that will be constructed by the lake district. Sediment analyses parameters which have been provided to the consultant will be included in the analyses. Evaluate spoil areas for the dredged and excavated materials.Preliminary engineering designs shall be provided for the dredge spoil area. An interim report shall be provided to the lake district and DNR providing all information necessary for the lake district to evaluate which sediment trap alternative providesthe most benefit. This report will be due 5/1/92. Estimate cost of constructing traps in two locations. Information will be disseminated to the public by public meetings, summary report mailings, and local newspaper articles. Project results will bereposited at: None provided.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/1997
Waters Involved
Neshonoc Lake
Status
Complete

Lake Neshonoc Protection & Rehab. Dist.: Lake Neshonoc Dredge Spoil Containment Site Study-Part 1: Lake Neshonoc Protection and Rehabilitation District proposes to conduct the following activities on the Lake Neshonoc Project to find a feasible alternative containment site: 1)Develop a one foot contour map of the dredge spoil containment area. 2) Locate site to discharge carrage water to the LaCrosse River. 3) Cost estimate to relocate NSP power line. 4) Coordinate all governing permits. 5) Request permission to use railroad right of way for carriage of discharge water.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/1997
Waters Involved
Neshonoc Lake
Status
Complete

Lake Neshonoc Protection & Rehab. Dist.: Lake Neshonoc Dredge Spoil Containment Site Study-Part 2: Lake Neshonoc Protection and Rehabilitation District proposes to conduct the following activities on the Lake Neshonoc project to find a feasibile alternative containment site: 1) Summarize environmental problems with the alternative containment site. 2) Plan an alternative containment site. 3) Cost estimate of the site. 4) Summarize the current market for the spoils.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/1/1997
Waters Involved
Neshonoc Lake
Status
Complete

Neshonoc P & R District: Neshonec Lake Management Plan Phase Iv-Ii: Lake Neshonoc Protection and Rehabilitation District proposes to obtain soil borings and install monitoring wells within the planned dredge disposal site from Lake Neshonoc. The project activities include: 1) soil borings, 2) monitoring well installation, 3) soil pit installation, and 4) creation of a hydraulic groundwater model to provide data needed for the final design, environmental review and permit applications. The Department of Natural Resources will be provided with both a paper copy and an electronic copy of the final report. The project results will be disseminated to the public by newspaper article(s) and summary report mailings(s) and public meeting(s).


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/1/1997
Waters Involved
Neshonoc Lake
Status
Complete

Neshonoc P & R District: Neshonec Lake Protection & Rehab Phase Iv-I: Lake Neshonoc Protection and Rehabilitation District proposes to analyze the dredging disposal site and do a complete impact study of the planned dredge disposal site from Lake Neshonoc. The project activities include: 1) coordinate all government permits, 2) update plan based on site negotiations, 3) analyze soil boring data, 4) review complete project impacts including fisheries, wildlife, wetlands and both surface and groundwater quality impacts. The Department of Natural Resources will be provided with both a paper copy and an electronic copy of the final report. The project results will be disseminated to the public by newspaper article(s) and summary report mailing(s) and public meeting(s).


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
9/28/1995
Waters Involved
Perch Lake
Status
Complete

City Of Sparta: Perch Lake Rehabilitation Planning Study: 1. Perform a detailed survey of the bottom of Perch Lake, consisting of cross sections every 100 feet from the dam to the upper end.
2. Perform a survey of selected areas designated as spoil disposal areas including estimating the area and depth of spoil spreading required to dispose of materials determined to be taken from lake bottom.
3. Create a lake bottom map showing cross sections of the present lake bottom and the proposed lake bottom to determine the sediment volume to be removed.
4. Develop a report that includes a description of the watershed, the lake conditions, the sedimentation history, and an estimate of the future sediment loads from the watershed.
5. Prepare a final report including


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/1/1996
Waters Involved
Perch Lake
Status
Complete

City Of Sparta: Perch Lake Sediment Core Sampling And Analysis: The City of Sparta, Monroe County, proposes to conduct a sediment core sampling and analysis in Perch Lake as part of their lake rehabilitation planning process. The Department of Natural Resources will be provided with both a paper copy and an electronic of the final report detailing the project results. Information about the project results will be disseminated to the public by public meeting and local newspaper article.


Grant Details
Small Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/1/2007
Waters Involved
Neshonoc Lake
Status
Complete

Lake Neshonoc P & R District: Neshonoc Map: Neshonoc Lake P&RD proposes to contract for production of a bathymetric map of Lake Neshonoc in La Crosse County. Major project elements to include: 1) lake survey, 2) map development, 3) printing.


Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Rural Construction
Date
3/16/2000
Waters Involved
Burns Creek
Status
Complete

La Crosse County: Adams/Burns Creeks Watershed: To provide cost-share reimbursement for eligible landowners....


Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Rural Construction
Date
8/10/2005
Waters Involved
Upper Big Creek
Status
Complete

Monroe County: Petersen Barnyard Runoff: To cost-share installation of runoff management control practices to address direct runoff from feedlots and maintenance of sod cover on shoreland prohibition violations.


Little La Crosse River Watershed

Goals

1/1/2016
Reduce storm water runoff from fields and barnyards that contribute sediment, nutrients, and bacteria to streams, all of which eventually reach Lake Neshonoc.

Priorities

1/1/2016
Erosion control, storm water runoff, landowner collaboration.
Watershed Recommendations
Hire County Aquatic Invasives Coordinator
 
Date
Status
Hire Aquatic Invasives (AIS) County Coordinator - Monroe
1/1/2011
Not Proposed
Projects
 
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 to Evaluate Projects
 
Date
Status
Survey Adams Valley Creek after completion of the La Crosse County LCD project to reduce non-point source runoff to document any fish or habitat changes.
6/1/2008
Proposed
 
Little La Crosse River WatershedWatershed History NoteView Basin Site

The Little La Crosse River Watershed is located in the counties of Monroe and LaCrosse and includes the City of Sparta and the Village of Rockland. The first known permanent residence of a European settler in Sparta was established in 1849 when Franklin Pettit settled in there. By the time of the 1850 census, La Crosse County had been created out of part of the old Crawford County. Present day Sparta was included. Apparently, the new county had fewer than 200 residents, but the population was growing. In 1852 Monroe County was created and the new village was given its name Sparta by "Mother Pettit". With the discovery of the underground springs and their supposed health enhancing benefits, Sparta's population rapidly grew to 6000 residents by 1860.

The earliest settlers around Sparta were of Yankee and English heritage. Germans and Scandinavians followed. Primary early industries were lumbering and trapping.

Today, Sparta is the county seat of Monroe County. The city and the surrounding area are supported by agriculture, manufacturing, and nearby Fort McCoy. The old Chicago and Northwestern depot in Sparta is the headquarters building for the La Crosse River State Trail. Since Sparta sits astride the junction of the Elroy-Sparta and La Crosse River State Trail, there is a lot of biking activity in the area. In 1990, Sparta was given the prestigious title of "Bicycle Capital of America". The La Crosse River State Trail is a 22 mile rails to trails endeavor and follows the abandoned Chicago and Northwestern railroad bed. The trail traverses a mixture of prairie remnants, farmlands, trout streams, hardwood forests and wetlands. It passes through the communities of Sparta, Rockland, Bangor, West Salem, and Medary.

The village of Rockland, like its neighbor Bangor, was originally settled by Welch immigrants. First known as Fish Creek, the village acquired its present name when application for a post office was made, and it was discovered that Wisconsin already had a Fish Creek.

Someone is suppose to have remarked "Well, we have this big rock in town--", and Rockland was the new name. The large sandstone outcrop responsible for this is clearly visible near the railroad crossing on Commercial Street.

Ondell, Main and Rock Streets were apparently the village's first throughfares. The house at 201 East Rock Street may be its oldest building, and has served as an inn, a stage depot, and a post office in days gone by.

Image at right may be subject to copyright from www.about-bicycles.com/LaCrosse-river-trail.htm New bridge over the Little LaCrosse River.

Date  2010