Watershed - Waumandee Creek (BT06)
Waumandee Creek Watershed

Details

The Waumandee Creek Watershed is approximately 142,060 acres in size and consists of over 842 miles of streams and rivers, 357 acres of lakes, and 8,254 acres of wetlands. The watershed is dominated by forests and agriculture. As the Waumandee Creek Watershed is dominated by forest and agriculture, pollution concerns are concentrated on nonpoint sources, which impact virtually every waterbody. Impaired waters from total suspended solids encompass over 50 miles in the Waumandee Creek Watershed, including sections of the Eagle, Joos Valley, Yeager Valley, Jahns Valley, Wolf Valley, Buell Valley, Cochrane Ditch (Rose Valley Creek), Irish Valley, and Weiland Valley creeks. Eagle, Waumandee, and Little Waumandee rivers contribute 30 miles of Class III trout streams. No Outstanding or Exceptional Resource Waters are documented for this watershed. Zebra mussels, an aquatic invasive species, have been documented in the Mississippi River since 1991.

Date  2011

Population, Land Use

Land use in the Waumandee Creek Watershed is dominated by forest, which covers 47% of watershed area. Agriculture is the second most significant land use in the watershed with 38% of land devoted to farmland. Open water and space together with wetlands make up the remaining significant land uses in the Waumandee Creek Watershed with about eight percent and five percent, respectively. Urban and suburban environments are statistically insignificant for this watershed.

Date  2011

Nonpoint and Point Sources

Potential Sources of Contamination The one Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) in the Waumandee Creek Watershed is located in Cochrane. Dairyland Power Co-op operates two licensed landfills within the watershed near Alma: Phase IV at Belvidere and an off-site ash disposal site for fly ash by-products of burning coal. No Superfund sites are located within this watershed. WDNR Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program provides information about contaminated properties and other activities related to the investigation and cleanup of contaminated soil or groundwater in Wisconsin through its Bureau for Remediation and Redevelopment Tracking System (BRRTS) database (WDNR 2010e). The database lists one Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) site in the Waumandee Creek Watershed that is classified as open-status, meaning contamination has affected soil, groundwater, or more and the environmental investigation and cleanup need to begin or are underway. This LUST is located at Korte Mobil in Waumandee. Remediation activity is currently taking place at the site. The Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award (PECFA) program was created in response to enactment of federal regulations requiring release prevention from underground storage tanks and cleanup of existing contamination from those tanks. PECFA is a reimbursement program returning a portion of incurred remedial cleanup costs to owners of eligible petroleum product systems, including home heating oil systems. As of May 31, 2007, $4,166,767 have been reimbursed by the PECFA fund to clean up 43 petroleum-contaminated sites in Buffalo County. This equates to $300 per county resident, which is greater than the statewide average of $264 per resident. Point and Nonpoint Pollution This watershed was selected as a priority watershed project in 1985 under the Wisconsin Nonpoint Source Pollution Abatement Program. The Waumandee Creek Priority Watershed Plan (1990) is amended to this plan. Major objectives of the project are decreasing sediment loading to the Fountain City backwater complex and improving water quality of the streams in the watershed. The Waumandee Creek Watershed has severe nonpoint source pollution impacts degrading all of the streams and is ranked as a medium priority overall and for groundwater quality. Many of the streams have been severely channelized which significantly reduces the potential to improve fishery habitat in these streams. The Waumandee Creek Watershed is ranked as a medium priority overall for nonpoint source (NPS) pollution due to its ranking as a medium priority for groundwater NPS pollution. Streams and lakes in the watershed, however, have yet to be ranked for NPS pollution. Six streams have a High Stream NPS ranking in the watershed: Eagle Creek, Joos Valley Creek, Jahns Valley Creek, Irish Valley Creek, Weiland Valley Creek, and Cochrane Ditch (Rose Valley Creek). These streams are likely to respond to Best Management Practices (BMPs) and have high levels of suspended solids or an HBI or Family Biotic Index rated poor or very poor. A high rate of streambed sedimentation or accelerated negative physical changes to stream morphology has been occurring in these streams.

Date  2011

Ecological Landscapes for Waumandee 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 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 pre-settlement wildfires were suppressed. Current vegetation is a mix of forest, 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 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-facing slope microclimates.

Date  2011

Hydrologic Features

The steep topography of the Waumandee watershed is the dominant influence on the hydrology. The streams in the watershed drain steep sub-watershed and as a result water levels rise and fall rapidly due to precipitation and snowmelt event. The flashiness of the streams is further exacerbated by the removal of native vegetation and wetlands from the watershed to expand agricultural development. When water flows rapidly through a watershed it can cause greater rates of upland and stream bank erosion and can carry larger sediment loads to the downstream receiving waters. As erosion increased in the uplands of the watershed, soils from the hillsides began to fill the floodplains altering the nature and habitat of the lowland streams. The increased sediment loads in the watershed often also corresponded with increased nutrient loads, elevated water temperatures, and decreased habitat heterogeneity. These changes fundamental altered the original nature of many of the streams in the watershed causing them to develop new hydrologic and biological equilibriums.

Date  2011

Waumandee Creek Watershed At-a-Glance

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

According to the Register of Waterbodies (ROW) database, there are over 824 miles of streams and rivers in the Waumandee Creek Watershed; 164 miles of which have been entered into the WDNR’s assessment database. Of these 164 miles, a little over half (51%) are meeting Fish and Aquatic Life uses and are specified as in “good” condition; about one-quarter (24%) of streams are considered to be in “poor” condition and are listed as impaired. The condition of the remaining stream miles is not known or documented. Eagle, Waumandee, and Little Waumandee creeks contribute 30 miles of Class III trout streams to the Waumandee Creek Watershed. Class III trout waters are marginal trout habitat with no natural reproduction occurring. They require annual stocking of trout to provide trout fishing. Generally, there is no carryover of trout from one year to the next (http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/species/trout/streamclassification.html). No Outstanding or Exceptional Resource Waters are listed for this watershed.

Date  2011

Watershed Trout Streams
Watershed Outstanding & Exceptional Resources

Lakes and Impoundments

The WDNR’s ROW database shows that there are over 574 acres of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs in the Waumandee Creek Watershed and another 1,057 acres of unspecified open water. The vast majority of lake and open water acres in the watershed are riverine backwaters of the Mississippi River. None of the 39 acres of lakes in the watershed that have been entered into the WDNR’s assessment database have been assessed for Fish and Aquatic Life use or any other use. Of the twelve hundred acres of riverine backwaters in the watershed that have been entered into the WDNR’s assessment database, however, over 157 acres are meeting Fish and Aquatic Life uses and are specified as in “good” condition. The condition of the remaining riverine backwater acreage is not known or documented. Bensel Pond and Lizzie Paul Pond are the only named lakes or ponds within the watershed and both are considered backwaters of the Mississippi River.

Date  2011

Wetland Health

Wetland Status The Waumandee Creek Watershed is located in southwest Buffalo County along the Mississippi River. An estimated 5.7% of the current land uses in the watershed are wetlands. Currently, about 70% of the original wetlands in the watershed are estimated to exist. Of these wetlands, the majority include forested wetlands (53%), and emergent wetlands (28%), which include marshes and wet meadows. 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 37% of the existing emergent wetlands and 13% of the remaining forested wetlands (See Figure 5). Reed canary grass domination inhibits successful establishment of native wetland species. Wetland Restorability Of the 3,527 acres of estimated lost wetlands in the watershed, only approximately 22% are considered potentially restorable based on modeled data, including soil types, land use, and land cover (Chris Smith, DNR, 2009).

Date  2011

Impaired Waters

Waters within the Waumandee Creek Watershed are largely impaired by total suspended solids from nonpoint source runoff. Waters on the states 303(d) list encompass over 54 miles in this watershed, including sections of the Eagle, Joos Valley, Yeager Valley, Jahns Valley, Wolf Valley, Buell Valley, Cochrane Ditch (Rose Valley Creek), Irish Valley, and Weiland Valley creeks. In October 2005, USEPA approved the document, TMDLs for Sediment Impaired Streams in the Waumandee Creek Watershed. This TMDL outlines restoration work needed for five streams. Buell Valley Creek, Cochrane Ditch, Irish Valley Creek, and Jahns Valley Creek were placed on the 303(d) impaired waters list in 1998 and were identified as low priority on the 2004 303(d) impaired waters list. Weiland Valley Creek was placed on the 2004 303(d) list as low priority. All of the streams currently support a warm water forage fishery (WWFF) with potential to support a cold water fishery. TMDLs Eagle Creek and Joos Valley Creek -- In November of 2002, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) developed two sediment TMDLs for two segments in the Waumandee Creek Watershed: upper Eagle Creek (from mile 10-17) and Joos Valley Creek (from mile 0-7), a tributary to Eagle Creek. The TMDLs address the sediment impacts and impairments which were identified on the Wisconsin 1998 303(d) list. Both segments were ranked as medium priority on the Wisconsin 1998 303(d) list. The upper seven miles of Eagle Creek is identified as currently supporting a warmwater forage fishery but with the potential to support a Cold Water Class II sport fishery. Joos Valley Creek is identified as currently supporting a warmwater forage fishery but with the potential to support a Cold Water Class III sport fishery. The state established a water quality target for both segments as meeting a potential use of Cold Water Class II community for Eagle Creek and a Cold Water Class III community for Joos Valley Creek, as described in NR 1.02(7)(b) of the WAC. Although sediment has been determined to be the pollutant of concern, WDNR will be monitoring the fish community to determine the effectiveness of TMDL implementation, as the fish community is the designated use being impaired. WDNR will consider that Eagle Creek and Joos Valley Creek are meeting the narrative water quality standard when the appropriate cold water community is established. To achieve a cold water community, WDNR has determined a total load capacity of sediment for both segments to be no greater than 1,704 tons/year (TMDL and Watershed Plan). The total load capacity of 1,704 tons/year represents a 58% reduction of sediment entering the two creeks for existing conditions (based on 1990 information). WDNR has determined that these reductions of sediment, will achieve the water quality target of establishing the appropriate cold water community in both segments. Establishment of a cold water community has been determined by WDNR to be an adequate surrogate for the narrative water quality standard. The TMDL includes a monitoring plan which is appropriate for demonstrating whether or not progress has been made towards establishment of the cold water community. Since sediments impact the fish community in several ways (reproduction, food supply, raising water temperature), and sediments are not a toxic, no specific critical condition exists. Buell Valley Creek, Cochrane Ditch, Irish Valley Creek, Jahns Valley Creek and Weiland Valley Creek-- In November 2005, the EPA approved Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for sediment address sedimentation and degraded habitat impairment conditions in: Buell Valley Creek, Cochrane Ditch, Irish Valley Creek, Jahns Valley Creek, and Weiland Valley Creek. These five streams are located in the Waumandee Creek Watershed, in the Buffalo-Trempealeau Basin. These TMDLs identify load allocations and management actions that will restore the biological integrity of these streams. Buell Valley Creek, Cochrane Ditch, Irish Valley Creek, and Jahns Valley Creek were placed on the 303(d) impaired waters list in 1998 and were identified as low priority on the 2004 303(d) impaired waters list. Weiland Valley Creek was placed on the 2004 303(d) list as low priority. All of the streams currently support a warm water forage fishery (WWFF) with potential to support a cold water fishery. The objective of this TMDL is to produce habitat conditions in all the streams that meet narrative water quality standards and support a Class III coldwater trout fishery. The total load capacities developed for these streams are consistent with or less than the corresponding total load capacity assigned for Eagle Creek; a reference stream also located in the Waumandee Creek Watershed, where streambank improvements have been successful in the upstream reach.

Date  2011

List of Impaired Waters

Impaired Waters

The Mississippi (Reach 4) Coon-Yellow - Pool 9 portion - LD 9 to LD 8) has specific fish consumption advice issued for mercury. The following backwaters of the Mississippi River have specific fish consumption advisories for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOs): Indian Point Slough, Spring Lake (pool 6), Fountain City Bay (near Eagle Creek confluence), Moseman Slough, and Probst Lake. 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

List of Impaired Waters

Aquatic Invasive Species

Zebra mussels have been verified and vouchered along the main body of the Mississippi since 1991.

Date  2011

Groundwater

The following groundwater information is for Buffalo County (from Protecting Wisconsin’s Groundwater through Comprehensive Planning website, http://wi.water.usgs.gov/gwcomp/), which roughly approximates to the Waumandee Creek Watershed. No wellhead protection plans have been developed for municipal water systems within the Waumandee Creek Watershed. Buffalo County has adopted an animal waste management ordinance, though. From 1979 to 2005, total water use in Buffalo County has increased from about 3.0 million gallons per day to 7.3 million gallons per day in 2000 and decreased to five million gallons per day in 2005. The increase in total water use until 2000 and the subsequent decrease in 2005 are due to fluctuations in irrigation use. The proportion of county water use supplied by groundwater has fluctuated from 98% to 95% over this period. Private Wells Ninety percent of 184 private well samples collected in Buffalo 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 52% of private drinking water wells in the region of Wisconsin that includes Buffalo County 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. There are no atrazine prohibition areas in Buffalo County.

Date  2011

Watershed Documents
Watershed Grants
Grant Details
Lake Protection Grant
Date
9/1/2010
Waters Involved
Bensel Pond
Status
Complete

Buffalo County: Lco-Shoreland Ordinance Rev.: Buffalo County proposes to amend or create a shoreland zoning ordinance that complies with the requirements of NR 115, Wisconsin Administrative Code (as revised effective February 1, 2010) and retain existing regulations that exceed the water resource protections of NR 115 or are specific or unique to local needs.

Project deliverables include: 1. Copies of any fact sheets or handouts created for public hearings. 2. A summary of the comments received at public hearings. 3. A certified copy of the County Board-approved updated shoreland ordinance or ordinance language (if integrated into other codes). 4. Any GIS maps of the shoreland zone or shoreland condition surveys related to the project.

Specific conditions for this Project: The WDNR will be provided electronic and hard copies of all data and or reports or surveys generated as a result of this project.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/1999
Waters Involved
Bensel Pond
Status
Complete

C/O Buffalo County Lcc: Bensel Pond Adopt-A-Lake: The Buffalo County Land Conservation Department proposes to work with local schools on a lpng-term project designed to monitor the health of Bensel's Pond, evaluate the Waumandee Creek Priority Watershed Project and introduce area students to lake health issues and study methodologies. Project activities would include: 1) Bi-weekly/monthly collection and recording of dissolved oxygen, nitrate and phosphate level data, 2) collection, study and cataloging of aquatic plant and animal species, and 3) development of interdisciplinary curricula for use in local schools, incorporating components of the DNR's Project WET. The Department of Natural Resources will be provided with both a paper and an electronic copy of the final report. Project results will be disseminated to the public through monthly reports in the school district newsletter.


Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Rural Construction
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Little Waumandee Creek
Status
Complete

Buffalo County: Wmd Creek Conservation Project #1: to c-s @70% landowner installations


Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Rural Construction
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Cancelled

Buffalo County: Eagle Valley Conser Project: to cost-share @70% landowner installations


Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Rural Construction
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Waumandee Creek
Status
Complete

Buffalo County: Wmd Creek Project #2: to c-s LO installations @70%


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

Lakes Baseline and Trends Monitoring River Monitoring to comply with Clean Water Act implementation - water quality standards: use designations, criterion, permit issuance and compliance, assessments and impaired waters management. Fisheries projects include a wide variety of “baseline” monitoring and targeted fieldwork to gain specific knowledge related to Wisconsin’s fish communities. In close cooperation with UW Extension and Wisconsin Sea Grant, education efforts focus on working with resource professionals and citizens statewide to teach boaters, anglers, and other water users how to prevent transporting aquatic invasive species when moving their boats. Additional initiatives include monitoring and control programs. Volunteer Monitoring The Citizen Lake Monitoring Network, the core of the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership, involves over 1000 citizen volunteers statewide. The goals are to collect high quality data, to educate and empower volunteers, and to share this data and knowledge. Volunteers measure water clarity, using the Secchi Disk method, as an indicator of water quality. This information is then used to determine the lakes trophic state. Volunteers may also collect chemistry, temperature, and dissolved oxygen data, as well as identify and map plants, watch for the first appearance of Eurasian water-milfoil near boat landings, or alert officials about zebra mussel invasions on Wisconsin lakes. Monitoring work in this watershed consists of lake monitoring and surveys for water quality, aquatic plants, aquatic invasive species, and ice observations.

Date  2011

Volunteer Monitoring

There are no citizen monitors in the BT06-Waumandee Creek Watershed. For information on how to become a Volunteer Stream Monitor, visit- http://watermonitoring.uwex.edu/index.html

Date  2012

Waumandee Creek Watershed

Goals

9/3/2011
Reduce sediment loads to the Fountain City backwater complex. Improve water quality of the streams in the watershed.
9/3/2011
Maximize the number of communities with effective wellhead protection plans in the Waumandee Creek Watershed.

Priorities

9/3/2011
Eagle Creek and Joos Valley Creek The state established a water quality target for both segments as meeting a potential use of Cold Water Class II community for Eagle Creek and a Cold Water Class III community for Joos Valley Creek, as described in NR 1.02(7)(b) of the WAC. Although sediment has been determined to be the pollutant of concern, WDNR will be monitoring the fish community to determine the effectiveness of TMDL implementation, as the fish community is the designated use being impaired.
9/3/2011
Buell Valley Creek, Cochrane Ditch, Irish Valley Creek, Jahns Valley Creek and Weiland Valley Creek In November 2005, the EPA approved Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for sediment address sedimentation and degraded habitat impairment conditions in: Buell Valley Creek, Cochrane Ditch, Irish Valley Creek, Jahns Valley Creek, and Weiland Valley Creek. These TMDLs identify load allocations and management actions that will restore the biological integrity of these streams. Buell Valley Creek, Cochrane Ditch, Irish Valley Creek, and Jahns Valley Creek were placed on the 303(d) impaired waters list in 1998 and were identified as low priority on the 2004 303(d) impaired waters list. Weiland Valley Creek was placed on the 2004 303(d) list as low priority. All of the streams currently support a warm water forage fishery (WWFF) with potential to support a cold water fishery. The objective of this TMDL is to produce habitat conditions in all the streams that meet narrative water quality standards and support a Class III coldwater trout fishery. The total load capacities developed for these streams are consistent with or less than the corresponding total load capacity assigned for Eagle Creek; a reference stream also located in the Waumandee Creek Watershed, where streambank improvements have been successful in the upstream reach.
Watershed Recommendations
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
Consider this water for delisting given subsequent studies and data collection effort results.
9/11/2011
Proposed
 
TMDL Implementation
Waundee Valley Sediment TMDL
Date
Status
This TMDL in the Waumandee Watershed includes: Buell Valley Creek, Cochrane Ditch, Irish Valley Creek, Jahns Valley Creek and Weiland Valley Creek implementation.
9/4/2011
In Progress
 
Water Quality Planning
 
Date
Status
Waumandee Creek Watershed Planning
7/1/2010
In Progress
Projects
 
Waumandee Creek WatershedWater Plans and PartnershipsRead the Watershed Plan

The Waumandee Creek Plan is now available for public comment through February 6, 2011.

Date  2011

Watershed History Note

The Waumandee Creek watershed includes the Village of Cochrane which was established in 1884 when the Chicago, Burlington, and Northern Railroad relocated its tracks out of the neighboring river town of Buffalo City. Farmers plowing the bluffs just south of Cochrane often unearth rocks of strange shapes and dark brown hue. This material is known as Cochrane Chert and was used by the first people of this area 11,000 years ago. Chert was used to make tools like spear points. Now visitors look for pieces of chert just below the Cochrane Bluffs. During the turn of the century, Cochrane was growing. A new way to get a new house fast was to order a kit from a retailer like Sears and Roebuck. A kit for an entire house would arrive by railroad and sometimes be erected in as quickly as eight hours. Visitors to Cochrane will drive through a historic downtown of these kit houses. Just south of town is the Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden and Museum. In the 1950s a Wisconsin farmer established a gallery to display his collection of tools, antiques, photographs, and other souvenirs. He decorated the grounds with fantastic concrete forms encrusted with shells, rocks, and shards of glass and pottery. This kind of sculpture is a folk art tradition that emerged in the Midwest in the early 1900s.

Date  2010