Watershed - Little Platte River (GP03)
Little Platte River Watershed

Details

The Little Platte River watershed is a 155 square mile watershed in eastern Grant County and the southwest corner of Iowa County and northwest corner of Lafayette County. It is tributary to the Platte River in southern Grant County. The topography is rolling with streams incised in smaller, often steep-sided valleys. This lends to rapid runoff during storm events and major snowmelts. Soil loss is a problem in the watershed, as it is in most watersheds in the unglaciated southwest part of the state. Average annual soil loss in the watershed has been estimated at 7.5 tons per acre per year (Fix, 1991). The streams in the watershed and the watershed in general have been ranked as a high priority with respect to non-point source pollution. The groundwater is at risk for potential contamination. The watershed is predominantly agricultural with a mixture of dairying, cash cropping and feeder operations. Cultivation occurs on the ridgetops and on valley floors. Grazing usually occurs adjacent to streams. The steeper valley slopes are left in woodlots. As with the other watersheds in the basin, the number of farms have been decreasing while the average size of farms is increasing. Agricultural non-point pollution in the watershed has affected most streams in the watershed

Date  2001

Nonpoint and Point Sources

There are at least 17 abandoned mines and at least that many known mining waste piles in the watershed (Fix, 1991). Mine waste piles in other parts of southwest Wisconsin have been documented as sources of pollution and degradation to some streams. There are also an unknown number of mine airshafts in the watershed (Webber, 1998). It is not known what effect, if any, these mines and airshafts are having on groundwater or surface water quality. A major reconstruction of US Highway 151 from Dickeyville to Belmont is scheduled to begin in the year 2002. Sediment coming from the highway construction could threaten instream habitat and fisheries of the Little Platte River, Blockhouse Creek and Rountree Branch if adequate erosion control measures are not installed and properly maintained. Because of the topography of the area such measures may need to go beyond the standard Wisconsin Department of Transportation measures. The streams potentially threatened are Rountree Branch near Platteville and McAdam Branch near Dickeyville. Platteville (10,031) and Livingston (570) have municipal wastewater treatment plants which discharge to surface waters in the watershed. Two mobile home parks, Oak Park Community and GCA Evergreen Village, also have permitted wastewater discharges in the watershed. Platteville is the largest municipality in the Grant-Platte Rivers basin. Its 2000 estimated population was just under 10,000. Platteville, while growing slowly, is generating stormwater and sediment from construction sites which can affect instream water quality, habitat, and fisheries. Platteville has recently passed a construction site erosion control ordinance and is beginning to address community wide stormwater management planning. In addition, Platteville is developing a sewer service area (SSA) plan. Such plans are required for municipalities with populations over 10,000. These plans are a means of planning for cost-effective sewered growth. Stormwater management issues are expected to be addressed through this planning process.

Date  2001

Ecological Landscapes for Little Platte River Watershed

Ecological Landscapes

The Little Platte River Watershed is located primarily in the Southwest Savanna Ecological Landscape which is located in the far southwestern part of the state. It is characterized by deeply dissected topography, unglaciated for the last 2.4 million years, with broad open hilltops and river valleys, and steep wooded slopes. The climate is favorable for agriculture but the steep slopes limit it to the hilltops and valley bottoms. Soils are underlain with calcareous bedrock. Soils on hilltops are silty loams, sometimes of shallow depth over exposed bedrock and stony red clay subsoil. Some valley soils are alluvial sands, loams, and peats. Some hilltops are almost treeless due to the thin soil while others have a deep silt loam cap. Historic vegetation consisted of tall prairie grasses and forbs with oak savannas and some wooded slopes of oak. Almost three-quarters of the current vegetation is agricultural crops with lesser amounts of grasslands, barrens, and urban areas. The major forest types are oak-hickory and maple-basswood. High-quality prairie remnants occur on rocky hilltops and slopes that are not farmed. Some prairie pastures and oak savannas still exist. The grassland areas harbor many rare grassland birds, invertebrates, and other grassland species. Relict stands of pine occur on bedrock outcroppings along some stream systems.

Date  2010

Recreational Opportunities

Public recreation is limited in the watershed. Platteville does offer public parks and a walking/bike trail along Rountree Branch. Public access to streams is limited to bridge crossings, although the DNR does have some fishing easements on sections of the Little Platte River. The Pecatonica State Trail, to run from Calamine in Lafayette County to Platteville, is not complete between Platteville and Belmont. Once the trail is finished, the back roads near Platteville will offer the better-conditioned bikers challenges and scenic rides. There are many woodlots in the watershed, mostly on the steeper slopes, which provide good wildlife habitat. Hunting is allowed on private lands with the permission of the owner. Platteville is the site of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, the only four-year university or college in the basin.

Date  2001

Little Platte River Watershed At-a-Glance

Impaired Water in Little Platte River Watershed
River and Stream QualityAll Waters in Watershed

There are 184 stream miles in the Little Platte River watershed, with 105 miles of named streams. Streams in the watershed are very flashy and water levels rise and drop quickly due to runoff events. Streams in the watershed have instream habitat impairments due to non-point sources of pollution, primarily from runoff from cultivated fields and barnyards, and from excessive grazing of streambanks. There are 67.5 miles of warm water sport fishery in the watershed, and only one stream with a cold water fishery segment, the Little Platte River. The Little Platte is also on the state's Exceptional Resource Waters (ERW) list. The Little Platte River has excellent sport fishing for smallmouth bass (Lyons, 2000). Whig Branch and Snowden Branch were added to the state's impaired waters list in 1998. Other streams in the watershed are likely to be added when the impaired waters list is updated. The Little Platte River watershed is being considered by the Nature Conservancy as a high priority area for aquatic conservation work. This should increase the potential for local private-public partnerships to benefit some of the streams in the watershed (Lyons, 2000).

Date  2001

Watershed Trout Streams
Watershed Outstanding & Exceptional Resources

Wetland Health

Wetland Status The Little Platte River watershed is located in eastern Grant County, the southwest corner of Iowa County and the northwest corner of Lafayette County. An estimated 1% of the current land uses in the watershed are wetlands. Currently, only 43% of the original wetlands in the watershed are estimated to exist. Of these wetlands, the majority include emergent wetlands (53%), which include marshes and wet meadows, and forested wetlands (33%). 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 65% of the existing emergent wetlands and 26% of the remaining forested wetlands. Reed Canary Grass domination inhibits successful establishment of native wetland species. Wetland Restorability Of the 684 acres of estimated lost wetlands in the watershed, approximately 97% are considered potentially restorable based on modeled data, including soil types, land use and land cover (Chris Smith, DNR, 2009).

Date  2010

Potentially Restorable Wetland Analysis

Lakes and Impoundments

Impaired Waters

List of Impaired Waters
Watershed Documents
Watershed Grants
Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Rural Construction
Date
1/1/2005
Waters Involved
Snowden Br
Status
Complete

Grant County Land Conservation Dept.: Snowden Branch Nps: installation of best management practices (BMPs) to reduce streambank erosion and barnyard runoff in the Snowden Branch of the Little Platte River watershed.


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Planning
Date
1/1/2003
Waters Involved
Rountree Br
Status
Complete

City Of Platteville - Dpw: Stormwater Plan & Utility: to c-s @ 70% preparation of stormwater plan and development of stormwater utility.


Grant Details
River Planning Grant
Date
7/1/2002
Waters Involved
Little Platte River
Status
Complete

Southwest Badger R C & D: Platteville Area Stream Stewardship Network
: The Platteville Area Stream Stewardship Network will build an organization that empowers individuals to implement changes that improve water quality.

A full description of project scope and deliverables is available in the grant application, which is part of this agreement. The DNR will be provided with both a paper copy and an electronic copy of the final report. Information will be disseminated to the public as described in the grant application.


Grant Details
River Planning Grant
Date
4/1/2000
Waters Involved
Rountree Br
Status
Complete

Southwest Badger R C & D: Rountree Branch - Planning For Improvements: The Friends of the Rountree will monitor water quality, assess physical and biological habitat, determine the need for stream channel improvements, assess water quality using bioassay testing, identify pollution sources and effective abatement practices, and develop cooperative agreements between stakeholders to create and implement a management plan for the rountree branch of the Little Platte River.

A full description of the project scope and deliverables is available in the grant application, which is part of this agreement. The DNR will be provided with both a paper copy and an electronic copy of the final report. Information will be disseminated to the public as described in the grant application.


Grant Details
River Planning Grant
Date
7/1/2007
Waters Involved
Rountree Br
Status
In_Progress

Platteville Community Arboretum, Inc: Rountree Branch Watershed-Comprehensive Mgmt. Plan Development: The primary goals and objectives of this project are to: 1) establish a collaborative organization of stakeholders that will work together on the management, recreation, conservation, restoration and understanding of the Roundtree Branch watershed; 2) develop a comprehensive management plan for the watershed; and 3) facilitate educational opportunities.

Please note: Final report deliverables help us ensure that the grant has been satisfactorily completed, and that state dollars are being spent wisely. Every deliverable, no matter how minor, must be completed in order to receive full reimbursement for the state share of costs. Ranking questions used to obtain this award, and specific deliverables mentioned in your grant description, constitute final report deliverables. If any deliverable is not adequately provided in the final report, only partial reimbursement, at the department's discretion, will be made. The only exception will be if there is a well-justified and department-approved scope amendment. If you have any question about what a specific ranking question or other deliverable means, please contact your river coordinator BEFORE you sign this agreement.


Grant Details
River Planning Grant
Date
7/1/2008
Waters Involved
Rountree Br
Status
Complete

Platteville Community Arboretum, Inc: Developing Restoration/Demonstration Plans-Rountree Branch Watershed: Platteville Community Arboretum, Inc., will sponsor a project involving the Rountree Branch watershed, Grant County. Project deliverables include: 1) identify five different restoration/demonstration sites that unite the efforts, resources, and interests of stakeholders and the Platteville community in the Rountree Branch watershed; 2) being the process of implementing a comprehensive management plan for the watershed; 3) explore methods of effective restoration efforts; 4) facilitate education about natural resources and restoration at various levels.


Grant Details
River Planning Grant
Date
7/1/2010
Waters Involved
Rountree Br
Status
Complete

Platteville Community Arboretum, Inc: Continuing Restoration-Rountree Branch Watershed: The Platteville Community Arboretum, Inc. will sponsor a restoration project of the Rountree Branch Watershed within the Platteville city limits and its tributaries. Project deliverables include: 1) Identify the brownfields affecting the northern tributaries and assess the potential removal of the waste sites. After an assessment, the PCA will apply for grants from the EPA Brownfields Program, 2) Prepare a plan to restore in-stream and floodplain habitat to promote native flora and fauna in the Keystone property. 3) Collaborate with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville engineering and reclamation programs to complete hydrology reports and develop an action plan to aid in the restoration of the main tributary, 4) Assess the capacity of the Southeast Tributary to support a native brook trout population, 5) facilitate education about natural resources at various levels. A report containing the findings of each of these items will be prepared and submitted to the DNR with the final report.


Grant Details
River Planning Grant
Date
7/1/2002
Waters Involved
Snowden Br
Status
Complete

Southwest Badger R C & D: Planning For Snowden Branch Of The Little Platte River: Southwest Badger Resource, Conservation & Development, Inc., together with UW-Platteville Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Reclamation Program, and the Department of Biology will complete a planning study of the Snowden Branch of the Little Platte River watershed.

A full description of project scope and deliverables is available in the grant application, which is part of this agreement. The DNR will be provided with both a paper copy and an electronic copy of the final report. Information will be disseminated to the public as described in the grant application.


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.

Little Platte River Watershed
Watershed Recommendations
Fish Management, Access
 
Date
Status
The DNR in partnership with the Friends of Rountree Branch, Trout Unlimited, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, the Grant County Land Conservation Service and the U.S. NRCS should continue work on improving the cold water fishery on a reach of Rountree Branch at Platteville.
1/1/2009
In Progress
 
Monitor Aquatic Biology
Monitor biology on WBIC: 5039900
Date
Status
Conduct biological (mIBI or fIBI) monitoring on Unnamed, WBIC: 5039900, AU:3991441
5/21/2016
Proposed
 
Monitor Aquatic Biology
Monitor biology on WBIC: 5039776
Date
Status
Conduct biological (mIBI or fIBI) monitoring on Unnamed, WBIC: 5039776, AU:5477377
5/21/2016
Proposed
 
Monitor Fish Community
 
Date
Status
Assess instream fisheries habitat in the Little Platte Watershed - Blockhouse Creek and Mounds Branch.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Monitor Watershed (Status,Sources,Impairments)
 
Date
Status
Protect high quality waters and improve degraded systems to enable all waters in the basin to support their highest use.
10/5/2010
Proposed
 
Little Platte River WatershedWatershed History Note

The Village of Dickeyville is located on the western edge of the Little Platte River watershed. The village is home to the Dickeyville Grotto and Shrines, erected by Father Matthias Wernerus, a Catholic Priest and Pastor of the Holy Ghost Parish. From 1925 to 1930, Father Wernerus created these shrines out of stone, mortar and bright colored objects collected from all parts of the world. Items such as colored glass, gems, pottery or porcelain shards, fossils, starfish corals, ores, and petrified wood, are just some of the materials used in creating the various shrines, which are dedicated to the love of God and the love of Country. These religious and patriotic shrines were constructed without the use of blueprints.

Date  2010

Water PlanningRead the Watershed Plan