Watershed - Otter and Morrey Creeks (LW11)
Otter and Morrey Creeks Watershed

Details

The streams in the Otter and Morrey Creek Watershed drain to the Wisconsin River in northwest Iowa County. The streams in this watershed have a high gradient. Many of the streams in the eastern portion of the watershed, such as Penn Hollow, Pengelly, Pompey Pillar, and Smokey Hollow, have low flow, which could be due in part to lack of groundwater recharge. Overall, most of the streams support trout, although nonpoint sources of water pollution are suspected to affect water quality, habitat and recreational use. Overall, the majority of the watershed is broad-leaf deciduous forest and a significant number of acres are in woodland. Agriculture is the second most dominant land use in the watershed. There are large wetland complexes along the Wisconsin River particularly near Avoca, which are very important for wildlife. Away from the Wisconsin River floodplain there are few wetlands and most of them are wet meadows which are grazed or cultivated adjacent streams. Flooding in the watershed was perceived as a problem and as a result numerous flood control structures were constructed on streams in the watershed. These structures have since had a negative impact on aquatic habitat.

Date  2001

Population, Land Use

The overall population in the watershed is projected to be around 2,522. The Village of Avoca is the only municipality in the watershed. Avoca has seen a 28% growth rate since the 1990 census from 474 to 608 people.

Date  2001

Nonpoint and Point Sources

Atrazine is a concern in the watershed and the portion of the watershed on the Wisconsin River floodplain is in an atrazine prohibition area. Elevated levels of atrazine, a herbicide used on corn, have been found in some tested private water wells. Soils are permeable, which allows atrazine to reach groundwater in some locations. There are currently two industrial facilities in the watershed that discharge to groundwater. In addition the Village of Avoca discharges to Morrey Creek.

Date  2001

Ecological Landscapes for Otter and Morrey Creeks 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. The Otter and Morrey Creeks Watershed has a variety of good quality habitats and rare plant communities that are listed on the state's Natural Heritage Inventory, (NHI), kept by the Bureau of Endangered Resources. These communities include: dry cliff, dry prairie, dry-mesic prairie, moist cliff, oak opening, pine barrens, pine relict, sand barrens, sand prairie, southern dry forest, southern mesic forest, alder thicket, emergent aquatic, ephemeral pond, floodplain forest, oxbow lake, shrub-carr, southern sedge meadow, wet-mesic prairie and hard springs and spring runs.

Date  2001

Recreational Opportunities

The 3,736-acre Avoca Unit of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway is in this watershed. Visitors to the Avoca Unit can birdwatch, fish on the river channel, use the boat launch or enjoy prairie aesthetics. Also in the watershed is the Blackhawk Lake Recreation Area. The 2,036-acre area is state-owned land and offers fishing, birdwatching, hiking, boating and swimming.

Date  2001

Wildlife and Habitat

The watershed is also home for a variety of rare plant and animal species including; 2 species of beetle, 2 species of birds, 3 species of butterflies, 2 species of dragonflies, 13 species of fish, 2 species of frogs, 12 species of mussels, 17 species of plant species, 1 species of snake, and 2 mammal species. These plants and animals are also listed on the state's Natural Heritage Inventory, (NHI). A 2012 study evaluated stream habitat. Quantitative habit ratings indicate that Rush Creek has good habitat in the furthest upstream and downstream reaches, while the middle reach has fair habitat (Figure 3). Rush Creek at Weaver Road had the lowest vegetative buffer width because it was grazed the entire length of the station, but was the only site having low stream siltation, and good riffle habitat. For the two sites further downstream, there was some bank erosion and more fine sediments on the stream bottom, likely from row crops west of STH-23. In addition the stream in the vicinity of Lower Wyoming Road has ditches and drain tiles through wetlands, which also contributes to stream siltation. However stream width to depth ratios at all sites appeared to be good, but bends were lacking at the Lower Wyoming Road site. Fish cover scores appeared to be good at the Weaver and Lower Wyoming Roads sites, with plenty of aquatic vegetation or woody debris, while the Rush Creek Road site had less fish cover.

Date  2012

Watershed Documents
Watershed Grants
Grant Details
Aquatic Invasives Early Detection and Response
Date
6/17/2006
Waters Involved
Blackhawk Lake
Status
Complete

Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission: Blackhawk Lake Edrr: The purpose of this grant is to GPS locate and map the extent of the Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM) in Blackhawk Lake; develop an interim planfor EWM eradication/control/prevention; inform the public/hold public meetings; obrtain necessary permit(s) for EWM control; implement the interim Aquatic Plant Management plan; and perform follow-up monitoring.


Grant Details
Aquatic Invasives Early Detection and Response
Date
6/17/2006
Waters Involved
Otter Creek
Status
Complete

Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission: Blackhawk Lake Edrr: The purpose of this grant is to GPS locate and map the extent of the Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM) in Blackhawk Lake; develop an interim planfor EWM eradication/control/prevention; inform the public/hold public meetings; obrtain necessary permit(s) for EWM control; implement the interim Aquatic Plant Management plan; and perform follow-up monitoring.


Grant Details
Aquatic Invasives Education
Date
10/1/2013
Waters Involved
Blackhawk Lake
Status
Complete

Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission: Blackhawk Lake Ewm Epp: The Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission plans to carry out recommendations of the previous Early Detection and Response grant for Eurasian watermilfoil by continued monitoring, education and prevention and planning. The milfoil has not been found in 2012 or 2013, but early detection and response will be critical to protecting the lake if it reappears. The main goals of preventing further introduction and spread of EWM and controlling any existing populations will be reached by updating the APM plan, monitoring and mapping of any existing EWM, training staff and volunteers to perform AIS and water quality monitoring, developing and implementing educational programs to prevent the spread of EWM and other invasives, and conducting a Clean Boats Clean Waters program. The activities include annual monitoring for milfoil using a variety of approved methods, and conducting workshops for schools and other groups. The final report will include maps, raw data and data summaries, and results will be presented via news articles, posters, and presented to professionals at conferences.


Grant Details
Aquatic Invasives Education
Date
10/1/2013
Waters Involved
Narveson Creek
Status
Complete

Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission: Blackhawk Lake Ewm Epp: The Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission plans to carry out recommendations of the previous Early Detection and Response grant for Eurasian watermilfoil by continued monitoring, education and prevention and planning. The milfoil has not been found in 2012 or 2013, but early detection and response will be critical to protecting the lake if it reappears. The main goals of preventing further introduction and spread of EWM and controlling any existing populations will be reached by updating the APM plan, monitoring and mapping of any existing EWM, training staff and volunteers to perform AIS and water quality monitoring, developing and implementing educational programs to prevent the spread of EWM and other invasives, and conducting a Clean Boats Clean Waters program. The activities include annual monitoring for milfoil using a variety of approved methods, and conducting workshops for schools and other groups. The final report will include maps, raw data and data summaries, and results will be presented via news articles, posters, and presented to professionals at conferences.


Grant Details
Aquatic Invasives Education
Date
10/1/2013
Waters Involved
Otter Creek
Status
Complete

Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission: Blackhawk Lake Ewm Epp: The Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission plans to carry out recommendations of the previous Early Detection and Response grant for Eurasian watermilfoil by continued monitoring, education and prevention and planning. The milfoil has not been found in 2012 or 2013, but early detection and response will be critical to protecting the lake if it reappears. The main goals of preventing further introduction and spread of EWM and controlling any existing populations will be reached by updating the APM plan, monitoring and mapping of any existing EWM, training staff and volunteers to perform AIS and water quality monitoring, developing and implementing educational programs to prevent the spread of EWM and other invasives, and conducting a Clean Boats Clean Waters program. The activities include annual monitoring for milfoil using a variety of approved methods, and conducting workshops for schools and other groups. The final report will include maps, raw data and data summaries, and results will be presented via news articles, posters, and presented to professionals at conferences.


Grant Details
Clean Boats, Clean Waters
Date
4/4/2014
Waters Involved
Blackhawk Lake
Status
Complete

Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission: Blackhawk Lake Clean Boats Clean Waters Project 2014: Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission will sponser a Clean Boats CLean Water landing inspection program at 1 public access in 2014.


Grant Details
Clean Boats, Clean Waters
Date
2/15/2016
Waters Involved
Blackhawk Lake
Status
Complete

Southwest Badger R C & D: Southwest Badger Rc&D-Multiple: The Southwest Badger RC&D is sponsoring a Clean Boats Clean Waters project in 2016 at 7 public boat landings on Lake Wisconsin-Moon Valley, Mississippi River-Prairie Du Chein; Blackhawk Lake, Yellowstone Lake, Cadiz Springs Lake, Wisconsin River-Boscobel and Cox Hollow Lake .


Grant Details
Clean Boats, Clean Waters
Date
4/4/2014
Waters Involved
Narveson Creek
Status
Complete

Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission: Blackhawk Lake Clean Boats Clean Waters Project 2014: Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission will sponser a Clean Boats CLean Water landing inspection program at 1 public access in 2014.


Grant Details
Clean Boats, Clean Waters
Date
2/15/2016
Waters Involved
Narveson Creek
Status
Complete

Southwest Badger R C & D: Southwest Badger Rc&D-Multiple: The Southwest Badger RC&D is sponsoring a Clean Boats Clean Waters project in 2016 at 7 public boat landings on Lake Wisconsin-Moon Valley, Mississippi River-Prairie Du Chein; Blackhawk Lake, Yellowstone Lake, Cadiz Springs Lake, Wisconsin River-Boscobel and Cox Hollow Lake .


Grant Details
Clean Boats, Clean Waters
Date
4/4/2014
Waters Involved
Otter Creek
Status
Complete

Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission: Blackhawk Lake Clean Boats Clean Waters Project 2014: Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission will sponser a Clean Boats CLean Water landing inspection program at 1 public access in 2014.


Grant Details
Clean Boats, Clean Waters
Date
2/15/2016
Waters Involved
Otter Creek
Status
Complete

Southwest Badger R C & D: Southwest Badger Rc&D-Multiple: The Southwest Badger RC&D is sponsoring a Clean Boats Clean Waters project in 2016 at 7 public boat landings on Lake Wisconsin-Moon Valley, Mississippi River-Prairie Du Chein; Blackhawk Lake, Yellowstone Lake, Cadiz Springs Lake, Wisconsin River-Boscobel and Cox Hollow Lake .


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/1/2005
Waters Involved
Blackhawk Lake
Status
Complete

Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission: Blackhawk Lake Study-Phase 1: A comprehensive assessment will be conducted of the physical, chemical, and biological condition of Blackhawk Lake and Otter Creek below the dam. A recreational use survey will also be conducted. Combined with the results of a Phase 2 watershed assessment and hydrologic and nutrient budget calculation, the data will be used to determine potential effects of various rates of hypolimnetic withdrawal on the water quality, fisheries, and aquatic life in Blackhawk Lake and Otter Creek and. develop specific goals and protection and management recommendations to support the multiple uses of the lake and downstream areas.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
11/8/2005
Waters Involved
Blackhawk Lake
Status
Complete

Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission: Blackhawk Lake Study-Phase 2: A watershed assessment will be conducted on Blackhawk Lake. Land use will be mapped, surface runoff patterns identified, and environmentally sensitive areas in the lake watershed delineated. Watershed loadings will be modeled and loading reduction strategies developed. Hydrologic and nutrient budgets will be calculated. Combined with the results of the Phase 1 in-lake and outlet asssessment, lake management needs will be identified, goals will be set for the lake and downstream areas, and a comprehensive lake and watershed management plan will be developed, including recommendations regarding operation of the outlet structure, loading reductions, and support of recreational use activities and fisheries and aquatic life in the lake and downstream.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2010
Waters Involved
Castle Rock Ditch
Status
Complete

Lake Alice Association, Inc: Lake Alice Stewardship Program Phase Ii - Understanding The Biota Of Lake Alice: Lake Alice Association is sponsoring phased large scale lake planning grants to study Lake Alice, in Lincoln County. The project will focus on developing and updating an Adaptive Lake Management Plan (LMP) for Lake Alice. Phase 2 was funded in this grant cycle and Phases 3-5 will be submitted for funding starting in 2011.

Project activities for Phase 2 include: 1) Educational program, meetings and educational events with lake association and Tomahawk High School students, written educational materials, news releases, and website updates; 2) Point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey; 3) Aquatic plant community and substrate mapping; 4) Water quality assessment; 5) Volunteer amphibian monitoring and angler survey; 6) Update LMP.

Project deliverables include: 1) Educational materials and news releases; 2) Aquatic plant community and substrate maps; 3) PI, water quality, amphibian, and angler data; 4) LMP.

Specific conditions for this project: LMP needs Dept review and approval

WDNR Lakes Management Coordinator will be provided with an electronic (pdf or word) and hard copy of LMP, news releases, any other educational materials/products, all data, all maps from project, and all GIS data.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2010
Waters Involved
Cruson Slough
Status
Complete

Lake Alice Association, Inc: Lake Alice Stewardship Program Phase Ii - Understanding The Biota Of Lake Alice: Lake Alice Association is sponsoring phased large scale lake planning grants to study Lake Alice, in Lincoln County. The project will focus on developing and updating an Adaptive Lake Management Plan (LMP) for Lake Alice. Phase 2 was funded in this grant cycle and Phases 3-5 will be submitted for funding starting in 2011.

Project activities for Phase 2 include: 1) Educational program, meetings and educational events with lake association and Tomahawk High School students, written educational materials, news releases, and website updates; 2) Point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey; 3) Aquatic plant community and substrate mapping; 4) Water quality assessment; 5) Volunteer amphibian monitoring and angler survey; 6) Update LMP.

Project deliverables include: 1) Educational materials and news releases; 2) Aquatic plant community and substrate maps; 3) PI, water quality, amphibian, and angler data; 4) LMP.

Specific conditions for this project: LMP needs Dept review and approval

WDNR Lakes Management Coordinator will be provided with an electronic (pdf or word) and hard copy of LMP, news releases, any other educational materials/products, all data, all maps from project, and all GIS data.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2010
Waters Involved
Lake Du Bay
Status
Complete

Lake Alice Association, Inc: Lake Alice Stewardship Program Phase Ii - Understanding The Biota Of Lake Alice: Lake Alice Association is sponsoring phased large scale lake planning grants to study Lake Alice, in Lincoln County. The project will focus on developing and updating an Adaptive Lake Management Plan (LMP) for Lake Alice. Phase 2 was funded in this grant cycle and Phases 3-5 will be submitted for funding starting in 2011.

Project activities for Phase 2 include: 1) Educational program, meetings and educational events with lake association and Tomahawk High School students, written educational materials, news releases, and website updates; 2) Point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey; 3) Aquatic plant community and substrate mapping; 4) Water quality assessment; 5) Volunteer amphibian monitoring and angler survey; 6) Update LMP.

Project deliverables include: 1) Educational materials and news releases; 2) Aquatic plant community and substrate maps; 3) PI, water quality, amphibian, and angler data; 4) LMP.

Specific conditions for this project: LMP needs Dept review and approval

WDNR Lakes Management Coordinator will be provided with an electronic (pdf or word) and hard copy of LMP, news releases, any other educational materials/products, all data, all maps from project, and all GIS data.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2010
Waters Involved
Little Pine Creek
Status
Complete

Lake Alice Association, Inc: Lake Alice Stewardship Program Phase Ii - Understanding The Biota Of Lake Alice: Lake Alice Association is sponsoring phased large scale lake planning grants to study Lake Alice, in Lincoln County. The project will focus on developing and updating an Adaptive Lake Management Plan (LMP) for Lake Alice. Phase 2 was funded in this grant cycle and Phases 3-5 will be submitted for funding starting in 2011.

Project activities for Phase 2 include: 1) Educational program, meetings and educational events with lake association and Tomahawk High School students, written educational materials, news releases, and website updates; 2) Point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey; 3) Aquatic plant community and substrate mapping; 4) Water quality assessment; 5) Volunteer amphibian monitoring and angler survey; 6) Update LMP.

Project deliverables include: 1) Educational materials and news releases; 2) Aquatic plant community and substrate maps; 3) PI, water quality, amphibian, and angler data; 4) LMP.

Specific conditions for this project: LMP needs Dept review and approval

WDNR Lakes Management Coordinator will be provided with an electronic (pdf or word) and hard copy of LMP, news releases, any other educational materials/products, all data, all maps from project, and all GIS data.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/1/2005
Waters Involved
Otter Creek
Status
Complete

Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission: Blackhawk Lake Study-Phase 1: A comprehensive assessment will be conducted of the physical, chemical, and biological condition of Blackhawk Lake and Otter Creek below the dam. A recreational use survey will also be conducted. Combined with the results of a Phase 2 watershed assessment and hydrologic and nutrient budget calculation, the data will be used to determine potential effects of various rates of hypolimnetic withdrawal on the water quality, fisheries, and aquatic life in Blackhawk Lake and Otter Creek and. develop specific goals and protection and management recommendations to support the multiple uses of the lake and downstream areas.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
11/8/2005
Waters Involved
Otter Creek
Status
Complete

Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission: Blackhawk Lake Study-Phase 2: A watershed assessment will be conducted on Blackhawk Lake. Land use will be mapped, surface runoff patterns identified, and environmentally sensitive areas in the lake watershed delineated. Watershed loadings will be modeled and loading reduction strategies developed. Hydrologic and nutrient budgets will be calculated. Combined with the results of the Phase 1 in-lake and outlet asssessment, lake management needs will be identified, goals will be set for the lake and downstream areas, and a comprehensive lake and watershed management plan will be developed, including recommendations regarding operation of the outlet structure, loading reductions, and support of recreational use activities and fisheries and aquatic life in the lake and downstream.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2010
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Lake Alice Association, Inc: Lake Alice Stewardship Program Phase Ii - Understanding The Biota Of Lake Alice: Lake Alice Association is sponsoring phased large scale lake planning grants to study Lake Alice, in Lincoln County. The project will focus on developing and updating an Adaptive Lake Management Plan (LMP) for Lake Alice. Phase 2 was funded in this grant cycle and Phases 3-5 will be submitted for funding starting in 2011.

Project activities for Phase 2 include: 1) Educational program, meetings and educational events with lake association and Tomahawk High School students, written educational materials, news releases, and website updates; 2) Point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey; 3) Aquatic plant community and substrate mapping; 4) Water quality assessment; 5) Volunteer amphibian monitoring and angler survey; 6) Update LMP.

Project deliverables include: 1) Educational materials and news releases; 2) Aquatic plant community and substrate maps; 3) PI, water quality, amphibian, and angler data; 4) LMP.

Specific conditions for this project: LMP needs Dept review and approval

WDNR Lakes Management Coordinator will be provided with an electronic (pdf or word) and hard copy of LMP, news releases, any other educational materials/products, all data, all maps from project, and all GIS data.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
4/1/2010
Waters Involved
Wisconsin River
Status
Complete

Lake Alice Association, Inc: Lake Alice Stewardship Program Phase Ii - Understanding The Biota Of Lake Alice: Lake Alice Association is sponsoring phased large scale lake planning grants to study Lake Alice, in Lincoln County. The project will focus on developing and updating an Adaptive Lake Management Plan (LMP) for Lake Alice. Phase 2 was funded in this grant cycle and Phases 3-5 will be submitted for funding starting in 2011.

Project activities for Phase 2 include: 1) Educational program, meetings and educational events with lake association and Tomahawk High School students, written educational materials, news releases, and website updates; 2) Point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey; 3) Aquatic plant community and substrate mapping; 4) Water quality assessment; 5) Volunteer amphibian monitoring and angler survey; 6) Update LMP.

Project deliverables include: 1) Educational materials and news releases; 2) Aquatic plant community and substrate maps; 3) PI, water quality, amphibian, and angler data; 4) LMP.

Specific conditions for this project: LMP needs Dept review and approval

WDNR Lakes Management Coordinator will be provided with an electronic (pdf or word) and hard copy of LMP, news releases, any other educational materials/products, all data, all maps from project, and all GIS data.


Grant Details
River Protection Grant
Date
4/1/2015
Waters Involved
Pompey Pillar Creek
Status
Complete

Harry & Laura Nohr Chapter Of Trout Unlimite: Six Mile Branch And Pompey Pillar Project 2015: The Harry and Laura Nohr Chapter of TU will undertake a River Management Grant that protect and enhance water quality and fish habitat for brook and brown trout and forage fishes in mainly critical habitat segments of approximately 7,600 linear feet of Pompey Pillar Creek, and Six Mile Branch.
1. **9** Reduce soil erosion, stream siltation and thermal loading through stream bank sloping and stabilization practices using riprap and vegetation.
2. **9** Increase stream flow rates in the riffles to help increase oxygen for fish spawning using a variety of habitat BMP\2019s such as weirs and log deflectors.
3. **9** Create protective instream habitat areas for trout and other aquatic organism using a variety of habitat BMP\2019s such as cross logs, and deflection rocks and bank hiding areas.

Deliverables: Improved habitat for fish, reductions in stream sediment in the substrate, and increased rock and gravel spawning habitat areas. Bank erosion control. Project final report cooperate effort between the chapter and UW-Platteville Biology Dept. intern. Will give narrative explanation of work completed, and pre- and post- project photographs showing stream and bank habitat. Report to WI TU councils, and newsletter.



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.

Otter and Morrey Creeks Watershed
Watershed Recommendations
Monitor Baseline Survey
 
Date
Status
Baseline monitoring should be conducted on Otter Creek.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Norwegian Hollow Creek Biology fIBI
Date
Status
Category 3 water with a single 'Poor' fIBI. Further monitoring recommended. AU: 940822; Station ID: 10032050
5/1/2018
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Smokey Hollow Creek Biology
Date
Status
Appears weather extremely warm for 30 days prior to sample date...Perhaps monitor this station again before recommending a change in NC. AU: 13330; Station ID: 10034366
5/1/2018
Proposed
Projects
 
Otter and Morrey Creeks WatershedWatershed History Note

The Village of Avoca lies within the Wisconsin River Valley in the Driftless Area in the Otter and Morrey Creek Watershed. This part of Wisconsin is unglaciated, being spared by the last great ice age that covered the rest of the state 10,000 years ago. The melting glacier formed the river valley which is over 2 miles wide at Avoca. The valley is surrounded by steep wooded hills with deep valleys that are filled with wildlife and offer many scenic vistas. Located on an extensive outwash sand terrace along the Wisconsin River, Avoca Prairie and Savanna contains the largest natural tallgrass prairie east of the Mississippi River. Frequent flooding has created braided stream topography characterized by low, sandy ridges interspersed with small linear wetlands giving a local relief of 4 feet. The moist prairie and wetland swales contain more than 200 species of vascular plants. Permanent and ephemeral swales contain aquatic species such as sweet-flag, yellow water buttercup, and common bur-reed. Some of the showy species include sweet grass, white wild indigo, and flowering spurge. Prairie oak openings, with large open-grown black and bur oaks, are an outstanding feature of this natural area, looking much as they did during the original land survey of 1833. Even today, from many points on the prairie, the same presettlement character has been preserved, with completely natural vistas still accessible in all directions. Avoca is also home to rare animals including the red-shouldered hawk, northern harrier, short-eared owl and Blanding's turtle. Avoca Prairie and Savanna is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1968.

Date  2011