Watershed - Upper Kickapoo River (LW06)
Upper Kickapoo River Watershed

Details

The Upper Kickapoo River Watershed (LW06) is located in south central Monroe County. A total of 22 miles from the headwaters down to Ontario flow through the Upper Kickapoo Watershed. This watershed includes all streams that flow to the Kickapoo River upstream of Ontario. The topography of the Upper Kickapoo River Watershed differs from other Kickapoo River watersheds in that the valleys are much wider and the slopes not quite as steep. Consequently, this watershed ranks second behind the West Fork of the Kickapoo River Watershed in percent of land in agriculture. Fish surveys dating back to the 1950s document an abundance of forage fish in Upper Kickapoo River Watershed streams. Domestic trout stocked in these streams over the years have not resulted in self-sustaining populations. At this time we believe the streams in this watershed are not capable of sustaining trout due to higher than desirable water temperatures. It is interesting to note that the Upper Kickapoo River Watershed is surrounded by watersheds with similar land use patterns, but by contrast contain abundant trout streams. We believe this watershed has less cold water influence to streams due to a unique confining rock layer. This rock layer impedes deep infiltration of rainwater and snowmelt, preventing it from cooling adequately before returning to a stream as groundwater or springs. From: Ripp, Coreen, Koperski, Cindy and Folstad, Jason. 2002. The State of the Lower Wisconsin River Basin. PUBL WT-559-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  2002

Nonpoint and Point Sources

The Upper Kickapoo River watershed is located in south central Monroe County. It falls within the unglaciated, or driftless, region of the state. Agriculture, particularly dairying, is the dominant land use. There are nonpoint source problems in the watershed, but the sources and extent have not been fully identified.

Date  2010

Ecological Landscapes for Upper Kickapoo River Watershed

Ecological Landscapes

The Western Coulee and Ridges Ecological Landscape in southwestern and west central Wisconsin 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

Upper Kickapoo River Watershed At-a-Glance

Impaired Water in Upper Kickapoo River Watershed

Wetland Health

There are few wetland complexes in the watershed. Remaining wetlands are generally small wet meadows, adjacent to streams, which are usually grazed. The Sparta-Elroy bike trail runs through the watershed. There are two WPDES-permitted municipal wastewater dischargers in the watershed at Norwalk and Wilton. Very little information exists for evaluating water quality and habitat conditions for the streams in this watershed.

Date  1994

Rivers and Streams
All Waters in Watershed
Watershed Trout Streams
Watershed Outstanding & Exceptional Resources

Lakes and Impoundments

Impaired Waters

List of Impaired Waters
Watershed Grants
Grant Details
Lake Protection Grant
Date
9/1/2010
Waters Involved
Kickapoo River
Status
Complete

Crawford County: Lco-Shoreland Ordinance Rev.: Crawford 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: 1. 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
Lake Protection Grant
Date
9/1/2010
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Crawford County: Lco-Shoreland Ordinance Rev.: Crawford 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: 1. The WDNR will be provided electronic and hard copies of all data and or reports or surveys generated as a result of this project.


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.

Upper Kickapoo River Watershed
Watershed Recommendations
Hire County Aquatic Invasives Coordinator
 
Date
Status
Hire Aquatic Invasives (AIS) County Coordinator - Monroe
1/1/2011
Not Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor with Baseline Survey
Moore Creek TWA Project
Date
Status
Water chemistry, fish, habitat, and macroinvertebrate data collections to assess resources in the Moore Creek Watershed.
1/1/2017
Proposed
Projects
 
Upper Kickapoo River WatershedWatershed History Note

The Villages of Norwalk and Wilton are located in the center of the Upper Kickapoo River Watershed. However, they are better known as communities along the Elroy-Sparta Trail. This trail was once part of the route for the Chicago-North Western Railroad which, by the early 1880s, ran from Chicago to St. Paul, via Elroy and Sparta. The portion of the trail between the two villages is 6 miles long and includes a tunnel. The tunnel is 1,694 feet long and was completed in 1873 after one and a half years of manual digging. It cost $75,557 or $44/per foot. Through the years rail traffic tapered off and the last trains ran on the line in 1964. In 1965 the Chicago-North Western Railroad removed the tracks and sold the right of way to the Wisconsin Conservation Department (now known as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources). Improvements were made on the roadbed, including resurfacing with limestone screenings, and the 34 bridges have been planked and protected by railings. The 32-mile Elroy-Sparta Trail is considered to be the first rails to trails hiking and biking trail in the nation.

Date  2010