Watershed - Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River (LW24)
Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed

Details

The Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed, located in Juneau, Monroe, Sauk and Vernon Counties, contains all of the streams that drain to the uppermost 30 miles of the Baraboo River which eventually reaches the Wisconsin River 120 miles downstream near Portage. The land in this watershed is characteristic of the driftless area with steep hills, however many stream valleys are fairly wide. Agricultural activities are found both on the wider ridgetops and in most valleys. Approximately 65% of the primary land use throughout the watershed is agriculture. The remainder of the watershed is largely forested. Wetlands occupy just over 4% of the watershed and are located adjacent to the Baraboo River, Seymour Creek and the West Branch of the Baraboo River.

Date  2002

Population, Land Use

Population in the watershed for the year 2000 was estimated at 6,790. Municipalities in the watershed include Elroy, Hillsboro, Kendall and Union Center. Overall population growth in the communities is below the state average.

Date  2002

Nonpoint and Point Sources

Nonpoint sources of pollution primarily from agricultural activities have created water quality problems in the watershed. Siltation of streams and the nutrient enrichment of Hillsboro Lake, an impoundment of the West Branch of the Baraboo River, were severe enough that the area became a Priority Watershed Nonpoint Source Pollution Abatement Project in 1993. The portion of the Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed addressed by this project includes all lands draining to Hillsboro Lake. Goals of the project are to significantly reduce sedimentation rates in Hillsboro Lake, significantly reduce peak streamflow, increase baseflow in watershed streams, and improve fish habitat. The Vernon County Land and Water Conservation Department has been working with landowners in the watershed for the past six years to achieve these goals by improving land management practices. The communities of Elroy, Hillsboro, Kendall and Union Center each contain wastewater treatment facilities with permitted discharges to either the Baraboo River or the West Branch of the Baraboo River. Kendall is the only community in the watershed to discharge to a trout stream. Foremost Farms USA in Hillsboro discharges to groundwater and the West Branch of the Baraboo River below Hillsboro Lake.

Date  2002

Ecological Landscapes for Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo 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. The Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed has a variety of 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-mesic prairie, hemlock relict, moist cliff, pine relict, southern dry-mesic forest, and southern mesic forest.

Date  2002

Recreational Opportunities

Two Wisconsin State Trails bisect this watershed: The Elroy-Sparta and the "400." Both trails are former railroad beds that parallel the Baraboo River and were converted to limestone screened bike trails. Snowmobilers also use these trails in winter. The Elroy-Sparta State Trail is 32 miles in length and travels through three tunnels. The "400" State Trail is a 22 mile trail between Elroy and Reedsburg. Even though both trails travel through the hilly driftless area of Wisconsin, the trail grade doesn't change more than 3%. Rest areas and campgrounds are found along the trails.

Date  2002

Wildlife and Habitat

The watershed is also home for a variety of rare plant and animal species including; 2 species of fish and 1 species of bird. These plants and animals are also listed on the state's Natural Heritage Inventory (NHI).

Date  2002

Watershed Documents
Watershed Grants
Grant Details
Lake Protection Grant
Date
2/1/1999
Waters Involved
Field Veterans Memorial Lake
Status
Complete

Vernon County: Lmi-Hillsboro Lake Improvement: The Vernon County Land Conservation Department proposes to reduce sedimentation to Hillsboro Lake by 1404 tons over a five year period through implementation of Best Management Practices approved, but unlikely to be funded at any time soon, by the state's Nonpoint Source Program. High Residue Management, Conservation Cropping Plans, Grassed Waterway, Critical Area Stabalization, Grade Stabalization Structures, Streambank Riprapping, Streambank Fencing, Stream Crossings and Streambank Shaping and Seeding.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
12/20/1990
Waters Involved
Field Veterans Memorial Lake
Status
Complete

City Of Hillsboro: Hillsboro Comprehensive Lake Management Plan Development: Develop a management plan for the lake and watershed. Project components include: public information and education activities; land resources assessment; water resources appraisal; inventory and analysis of livestock operations,winter manure spreading pollution sources, streambank erosion, upstream sediment and nutrient sources; assessment of sediment trap option and dredging option; development of fisheries management plan; printing and dissemination of lake management planinformation through newsletter, public meetings, and local newspaper article. Management Plan will be reposited at the Vernon County Land Conservation Department.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
10/29/1992
Waters Involved
Field Veterans Memorial Lake
Status
Complete

City Of Hillsboro: Field Veterans Memorial Lake Sedimentation Study: 1) Conduct sediment coring and analyses using methods specified in application. 2) Prepare construction plans and specifications for dredging project.3) Disseminate information to the public by local newspaper articles and public meetings.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
12/20/1990
Waters Involved
South Branch Creek
Status
Complete

City Of Hillsboro: Hillsboro Comprehensive Lake Management Plan Development: Develop a management plan for the lake and watershed. Project components include: public information and education activities; land resources assessment; water resources appraisal; inventory and analysis of livestock operations,winter manure spreading pollution sources, streambank erosion, upstream sediment and nutrient sources; assessment of sediment trap option and dredging option; development of fisheries management plan; printing and dissemination of lake management planinformation through newsletter, public meetings, and local newspaper article. Management Plan will be reposited at the Vernon County Land Conservation Department.


Grant Details
Large Scale Lake Planning
Date
12/20/1990
Waters Involved
West Branch Baraboo River
Status
Complete

City Of Hillsboro: Hillsboro Comprehensive Lake Management Plan Development: Develop a management plan for the lake and watershed. Project components include: public information and education activities; land resources assessment; water resources appraisal; inventory and analysis of livestock operations,winter manure spreading pollution sources, streambank erosion, upstream sediment and nutrient sources; assessment of sediment trap option and dredging option; development of fisheries management plan; printing and dissemination of lake management planinformation through newsletter, public meetings, and local newspaper article. Management Plan will be reposited at the Vernon County Land Conservation Department.


Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed

Goals

1/15/2018
It is imperative to work with the landowners and Vernon County staff to install agricultural BMPs that will help protect the water quality coming from spring heads.
1/15/2018
Bank shaping and sloping at a 3:1 ratio in areas with eroding banks will help stabilize stream banks and reduce soil erosion. Encouraging stabilization of banks with vegetated buffers planted in grasses and forbs will help prevent erosion, act as natural cover for fish, and reduce sediment and nutrients flowing to the streams.
1/15/2018
It is imperative to continue to work with landowners in the watersheds in locations where woody vegetation has overgrown the stream banks. The goal would be to encourage prevention of woody overgrowth along banks so that streams can continue to flow in a meandering pattern and to narrow streams for better fish habitat.
Watershed Recommendations
Best Management Practices, Implement
W Branch Baraboo River review BMPs
Date
Status
DNR should investigate management actions that may help increase base flow and dissolved oxygen to the West Branch of the Baraboo River, downstream of the lake.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Best Management Practices, Implement
UNT of S Branch Creek BMPs
Date
Status
The Unnamed Tributary (WBIC: 1290500) of South Branch Creek flowing from a spring pond, appears to be contributing a high amount of nutrients to South Branch Creek, and DNR along with partners should implement BMPs to reduce soil erosion and nutrient inputs.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Best Management Practices, Implement
S Branch Creek BMPs
Date
Status
South Branch Creek has some stream segments and springheads that are highly eroded from livestock grazing, therefore, DNR and partners should implement agricultural BMPs to reduce soil erosion.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Delist Impaired Water
Baraboo River at Sebranek Rd 303d delisting
Date
Status
The West Branch of Baraboo River at Sebranek Road had a median value for phosphorus of 0.077 mg/l, but did not exceed the lower confidence limit for the 12 samples, thus is not considered as impaired for phosphorus. This water should not be listed as impaired.
1/15/2018
Proposed
Projects
 
Delist Impaired Water
West Branch Baraboo River for 303d Delisting
Date
Status
The West Branch should be removed from the impaired waters list for Low DO, phosphorus, sediment, total suspended solids and BOD. Biological information rated from fair to excellent and does not support listing the stream for biological impairment.
1/15/2018
Proposed
Projects
 
Easement/Buffer
Research Buffer Opportunities
Date
Status
DNR should work on outreach efforts with landowners in the watershed, and research opportunities for harvestable buffers to provide economic incentives for maintaining buffers along streams.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Hire County Aquatic Invasives Coordinator
 
Date
Status
Hire Aquatic Invasives (AIS) County Coordinator - Juneau
1/1/2011
Not Proposed
Projects
 
Hire County Aquatic Invasives Coordinator
 
Date
Status
Hire Aquatic Invasives (AIS) County Coordinator - Monroe
1/1/2011
Not Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Aquatic Biology
Monitor biology on WBIC: 1292600
Date
Status
Conduct biological (mIBI or fIBI) monitoring on Unnamed, WBIC: 1292600, AU:5475903
5/21/2016
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Targeted Area
Phosphorus monitoring site change
Date
Status
The West Branch of Baraboo River phosphorus monitoring site located at STH-33, should not be used as a stream site for calculation of phosphorus values, due to the site being located within Hillsboro Lake. Instead use the phosphorus values from the Sebranek Road site.
1/15/2018
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Targeted Watershed Area (TWA)
Hillsboro Lake TWA 2015
Date
Status
Western District proposes to conduct 319 Project Evaluation monitoring in the Hillsboro Lake Watershed located in eastern Vernon County, Wisconsin.
1/8/2015
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Hillsboro Lake health assessment
Date
Status
DNR should monitor Hillsboro Lake to determine lake health and condition.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
2nd Indicator Montior at Dilly Creek
Date
Status
DNR should conduct follow up monitoring in the unnamed tributary (WBIC: 1290900 Dilly Creek) at another location upstream in segment one for a second biological indicator for impairment decisions.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Monitor or Propose 303(d) Listing
Monthly Phosphorus Monitoring at UNT
Date
Status
DNR should monitor monthly phosphorus at the mouth of the unnamed tributary (WBIC: 1290900 Dilly Creek) to determine if it is impaired for phosphorus.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Natural Community Review or Change
S Branch Creek Natl Comm. Review
Date
Status
DNR should monitor South Branch Creek downstream of CTH Q to determine if the natural community designation of cold water is correct. Currently, the stream is designated as cold-water in the lower stretch near the stream mouth and at the stream outlets to Hillsboro Lake, which is a shallow warm-water lake; this water backs up into South Branch Creek downstream of CTH Q even during small rain events.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Natural Community Review or Change
No change Natl Comm. Dilly Creek
Date
Status
The unnamed tributary (WBIC: 1290900 Dilly Creek) fish natural community designations of cool-cold were verified, thus no changes are recommended.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Natural Community Review or Change
Beaver Creek Natl Comm. Change
Date
Status
DNR should change the natural community designation of Beaver Creek from cool-cold to cool-warm.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Natural Community Review or Change
S. Branch Creek Natl Comm. Change
Date
Status
DNR should change the natural community designation of South Branch Creek from cool-cold to cool-warm.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Natural Community Review or Change
W Branch Baraboo River Natl Comm. Change
Date
Status
The West Branch of Baraboo River fish natural community designations of cool-cold were verified, and the fish and aquatic life should be changed to good or supporting.
1/15/2018
Proposed
Projects
 
Natural Community Review or Change
Reivew South Branch 303d biological listing
Date
Status
South Branch Creek was previously listed on the 303(d) list in 2014 as impaired for phosphorus from STH-80 Bridge to the mouth. However, biological information rated good to excellent and does not support a 303(d) listing for biological impairment.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Partnership Project
Encourage Edu and Citizen Monitoring programs
Date
Status
DNR should work with the Hillsboro School District to encourage environmental programs and citizen monitoring of streams and Hillsboro Lake through the Citizen Lake Management Network and the Water Action Volunteer Programs.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Protect Riparian or Shorelands
W Branch Baraboo Erosion Control
Date
Status
The West Branch of Baraboo River has some stream segments that, while not excessively grazed, have steep or vertical banks. DNR and Partners should implement stream bank erosion controls on bends to reduce erosion and stream siltation.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Restore Hydrology, Morphology
W Brach Baraboo River restore fish structures
Date
Status
The West Branch of Baraboo River fish lunker structures in the segment upstream of STH-33 have either collapsed or silted in. DNR should work with Trout Unlimited to restore structures and improve cover for fish.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Water Quality Planning
Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River (LW24) Watershed Plann
Date
Status
In 2017, the Hillsboro Lake Targeted Watershed Assessment was written up as the Hillsboro Water Quality Plan.
11/1/2016
In Progress
Projects
 
Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River WatershedWatershed History Note

The City of Hillsboro is located in the Seymour Creek and Upper Baraboo River Watershed. Immigrating Czechs began arriving in Hillsboro from the Bohemian region of what is now the Czech Republic in the mid-1800’s, drawn in part to the area's similarity to the land they left behind. With them, they brought their traditions, foods, and culture. Each summer, Hillsboro celebrates its Czech heritage with its Cesky Den festival. Czechs were not the only people to find a new home in the Hillsboro area. The land between Hillsboro and nearby Ontario was once known as Cheyenne Valley, which became a haven for African-American settlers after the Civil War. The Cheyenne Valley area near Hillsboro was Wisconsin's largest rural African American settlement in the 19th century. The state's early defiance of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act and the later demise of the slavery system after the Civil War encouraged freed slaves to settle in Wisconsin. Nearly 150 African American settlers, with the assistance of the Quaker religious order, came to Hillsboro, where they successfully farmed. Many settlers became landowners, and a few, like Thomas Shivers, who was born on a Tennessee plantation, owned large acreages. A drive through the countryside surrounding Hillsboro still shows the influence of Algie Shivers, son of African-American settlers and builder of some of the finest round barns in the region. Most round barns built in the upper Midwest were constructed between 1890 and 1930. They were built primarily as dairy barns and were not seen on the Wisconsin landscape until dairy farming became firmly established in the state in the 1890's. Round barns were built to utilize space more efficiently and accommodate new dairying technologies, including the silo. They were said to use less lumber and take less time to build than conventional barns. Proponents also argued that round barns withstood high winds better than rectangular barns and the circular shape was more "natural". The colleges of agriculture promoted round barns and the farmers that owned one were considered "progressive and prosperous". It is unclear why Algie Shivers began to build round barns, but he did attend technical college in Sedalia, Missouri where he likely was exposed to modern farm construction techniques. Algie supervised the construction of at least 15 round barns in eastern Vernon and southeastern Monroe counties. It has been documented that this small area of western Wisconsin has the highest concentration of round barns in the nation. Nearly 1/2 of the round barns that still stand in this area were built by Algie Shivers and his crew. The round barn, a distinctive part of the agricultural heritage of the Midwest, has a direct connection to the equally distinctive story of the multi-racial community of Cheyenne Valley.

Date  2011