Watershed - Sauk and Sucker Creeks (SH01)
Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed

Details

The Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed is the southernmost watershed in the Sheboygan River Basin. Most of the watershed is located in Ozaukee County, with a small northern portion located in Sheboygan County. This watershed includes the subwatersheds of Sauk Creek and Sucker Creek, plus areas discharging directly to Lake Michigan. Sauk Creek enters Lake Michigan in the City of Port Washington, while Sucker Creek (also known as Sucker Brook) enters the Lake north of the City of Port Washington. The watersheds are primarily agricultural, but urbanization is proceeding.

Water quality is good to poor in both Sauk and Sucker Creeks. This assessment is based on fish and macroinvertebrate communities and water chemistry. About About 12% of the rivers and streams in the watershed have been identified as being in poor condition to support fish and other aquatic life, 19% have been identified as being in fair to good condition, and the remaining 69% have not been assessed. Most streams in the two watersheds have natural community classifications of cool-warm transition headwaters. The remaining streams are classified as macroinvertebrates streams or have no classification. There are three small lakes in the watersheds; however, little is known about their condition.

Nonpoint sources of pollution and stream channelization are the primary causes of degraded water and habitat quality throughout the watershed. Construction site erosion and impervious surfaces (such as roads, roofs, and parking lots) are increasingly threatening water quality as urbanization proceeds. Runoff from farm fields and barnyards also contributes to degraded water quality in the watershed. These pollution sources and habitat modifications are contributing to the high concentrations of nutrients and suspended solids and sediment observed in the watershed. Large sediment plumes are frequently observed entering Lake Michigan at the mouths of Sauk and Sucker Creeks during spring melt and heavy rains.

The Sauk and Sucker Creeks watershed does not support any Exceptional or Outstanding Resource Waters. Nor is it home to any trout waters. However, there are annual, anadromous spawning runs of trout and salmon within Sauk and Sucker Creeks. WDNR is currently investigating whether or not there is any natural reproduction of salmonid species within the two watersheds.

The only impaired waters listed for the watershed are several beaches along Lake Michigan, which suffer from elevated E. coli counts. Lake Michigan is also home to the vast majority of Aquatic Invasive Species that are listed for the watershed, including the following: Eurasian Water Milfoil, Fishhook Waterfleas, Spiny Waterfleas, Zebra Mussels, Rainbow Smelt, and Round Goby. The invasive Rusty Crayfish can be found in Sauk Creek.

Date  2012

Population, Land Use

The entire City of Port Washington and portions of the Villages of Cedar Grove, Belgium and Fredonia are located within this watershed. Based on the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission’s (SEWRPC’s) 2000 land use data, over three quarters (78%) of the total area in the Sauk and Sucker Creeks watershed is devoted to agriculture and other open lands. Transportation, communication, and utilities make up six percent of the watershed’s area. Residential areas and wetlands each comprise about five percent of the total area, and another three percent is woodlands. Recreational, governmental / institutional, industrial, and commercial uses and surface water each cover less than one percent of the Sauk and Sucker Creeks watershed.

Date  2012

Nonpoint and Point Sources

The Sauk and Sucker Creeks watershed was ranked by WDNR in 2007 as a high priority overall for non-point source (NPS) pollution and was similarly ranked for groundwater NPS pollution. Streams in the watershed are ranked as high priority for NPS pollution. Lakes within the watershed, however, are ranked as being at a medium risk for NPS pollution.

Three wastewater treatment facilities discharge into the watershed?one into Sauk Creek in Port Washington (Cedar Valley Cheese) and two directly into Lake Michigan (Port Washington WWTP and WE Energies). A fly ash landfill is located at Druecker's Quarry along Sauk Creek at NE1/4, Sec.9, Town of Port Washington, in Ozaukee County.

There are no existing Combined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permits within the watershed, but there is one proposed for Melichar Broad Acres Dairy in Port Washington. Part of this farm is in the Sauk and Sucker Creek watershed and the other part is in the Milwaukee River watershed.

There have been problems in the watershed with domestic and commercial septic systems illegally draining into the creek via drain tiles. For example, septage from a tavern in the unincorporated town of Lake Church was going to a drain tile and downstream to Sucker Creek. After becoming aware of this problem, Ozaukee County ordered the owners to install a replacement private onsite wastewater treatment system (POWTS), which was done in 2010.

Within the watershed, the City of Port Washington and Ozaukee County are both Phase 2 municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) with general permits. Ozaukee County and the City of Port Washington participate in the Ozaukee County Intergovernmental Water Quality Network for their education and outreach efforts. Based upon a state stormwater model, the City of Port Washington is currently at 38.3% removal of total suspended solids (TSS), while Ozaukee County is at 20.9% for TSS reductions compared to no stormwater controls at all. The state goal was to reach a 40% reduction in TSS by 2013. There are eight active industrial stormwater permitted facilities in Port Washington. Seven of them are active Tier 2 permits and one is a Scrap Recycling facility. There are currently 13 active construction site permits in Port Washington that are over 1 acre in size.

As indicated in the Rivers and Streams Section, both Sauk and Sucker Creeks exceeded Wisconsin?s water quality standard for phosphorus in 2009 and 2010. One more year of monitoring should be done to determine if any portions of Sauk and Sucker Creeks should be placed on the Impaired Waters List. Only one year of current data has been collected and WDNR guidance recommends either two years of data within five years or two sample events within one year to determine whether or not a water is classified as impaired. Therefore, additional monitoring should be done in the near future. Additional bacteria monitoring for E-coli should also be done on Sucker Creek to supplement the 2010-2011 data.

Date  2011

Ecological Landscapes for Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed

Ecological Landscapes

The Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed lies primarily in the Central Lake Michigan Coastal Ecological Landscape which stretches from southern Door County west across Green Bay to the Wolf River drainage, then southward in a narrowing strip along the Lake Michigan shore to central Milwaukee County. Owing to the influence of Lake Michigan in the eastern part of this landscape, summers there are cooler, winters warmer, and precipitation levels greater than at locations farther inland. Dolomites and shales underlie the glacial deposits that blanket virtually all of the Central Lake Michigan Coastal Ecological Landscape. The dolomite Niagara Escarpment is the major bedrock feature, running across the entire landscape from northeast to southwest. Series of dolomite cliffs provide critical habitat for rare terrestrial snails, bats, and specialized plants. The primary glacial landforms are ground moraine, outwash, and lake plain.

The topography is generally rolling where the surface is underlain by ground moraine, variable over areas of outwash, and nearly level where lacustrine deposits are present. Important soils include clays, loams, sands, and gravels. Certain landforms, such as sand spits, clay bluffs, beach and dune complexes, and ridge and swale systems, are associated only with the shorelines of Lake Michigan and Green Bay.

Historically, most of this landscape was vegetated with mesic hardwood forest composed primarily of sugar maple, basswood, and beech. Hemlock and white pine were locally important, but hemlock was generally restricted to cool moist sites near Lake Michigan. Areas of poorly drained glacial lake plain supported wet forests of tamarack, white cedar, black ash, red maple, and elm, while the Wolf and Embarrass Rivers flowed through extensive floodplain forests of silver maple, green ash, and swamp white oak. Emergent marshes and wet meadows were common in and adjacent to lower Green Bay, while Lake Michigan shoreline areas featured beaches, dunes, interdunal wetlands, marshes, and highly diverse ridge and swale vegetation. Small patches of prairie and oak savanna were present in the southwestern portion of this landscape.

Natural Areas and Critical Species Habitat Sites within the Sauk and Sucker Creek Watershed

An amendment to the regional natural areas and critical species habitat protection and management plan for Southeastern Wisconsin was completed by SEWRPC in 2010. The plan seeks to identify and protect what remains of the landscape of the region as it existed pre-European settlement. The plan also seeks to identify and protect other areas found to be vital to the maintenance of endangered, threatened, and rare plant and animal species. Both plan objectives foster biodiversity in the Region. Under the plan, natural areas are defined as tracts of land or water so little modified by human activity, or which have sufficiently recovered from the effects of such activity, that they contain intact native plant and animal communities believed to be representative of the pre-European-settlement landscape. Critical species habitats are defined as additional tracts of land or water which support endangered, threatened, or rare plant or animal species.

Natural areas, totaling 446 acres, were identified in the Sauk and Sucker Creek watershed. Two natural areas, totaling 199 acres, are protected within the watershed under public ownership; five natural areas, totaling 232 acres within the watershed, are under unprotected private ownership; and one natural area, totaling 15 acres, is protected within the watershed under partial private, partial public, and partial private conservation ownership. The eight natural areas were identified, ranked according to their quality, and classified into one of the following three categories:

1. NA-1 Areas NA-1 areas are native biotic communities of statewide significance that contain excellent examples of nearly complete and relatively undisturbed plant and animal communities that are believed to closely resemble those present during pre-European settlement times.

2. NA-2 Areas NA-2 areas are native biotic communities that are judged to be of lower than NA-1 significance, perhaps on a county or regional basis. These areas are probably so designated because of evidence of a limited amount of human disturbance. They may also be of a high biotic quality, but of less than the minimum size necessary for an NA-1 ranking. In the future, some NA-2 sites may become of higher significance because of recovery from past disturbance, because of a sudden substantial decrease in the acreage of a once-common type, or after a more detailed inventory.

3. NA-3 Areas A-3 areas are native biotic communities substantially altered by human activities, but yet of local natural area significance. These sites often contain excellent wildlife habitat and also provide refuge for a large number of native plant species that no longer exist in the surrounding region because of land use activities.

Specifically, the classification of an area into one of the foregoing categories is based upon consideration of the diversity of plant and animal species and community types present; the expected structure and integrity of the native plant or animal community; the extent of disturbance from human activities, such as logging, grazing, water-level changes, and pollution; the commonness of the plant and animal communities present; any unique natural features within the area; and the size of the area.

There were no natural areas within the Sauk or Sucker Creek watersheds that were ranked NA-1; one natural area was ranked NA-2; and seven natural areas were ranked NA-3. The total of 446 acres included within designated natural areas represents about 1 percent of the watershed.

Four critical species habitat sites, totaling 472 acres, were identified within the Sauk and Sucker Creek watershed. Two of these sites, totaling 408 acres, are under public ownership, and two sites, totaling 64 acres, are under private ownership.

Environmental Corridors

SEWRPC has mapped the key elements of the natural resource base of the Southeastern Wisconsin Region, including lakes, streams, wetlands, woodlands, wildlife habitat areas, areas of rugged terrain, wet and poorly drained soils, and remnant prairies. In addition, SEWRPC has mapped such natural resource-related features as existing and potential park sites, sites of historic and archaeological value, areas possessing scenic vistas or viewpoints, and areas of scientific value. These inventories have resulted in the delineation of ?environmental corridors,? which are broadly defined as linear areas in the landscape containing concentrations of these significant natural resource and resource-related features. More information on environmental corridors can be found on SEWRPC?s website at http://www.sewrpc.org/SEWRPC/LandUse/EnvironmentalCorridors.htm.

The preservation of environmental corridors in essentially natural, open uses has many benefits, including flood-flow attenuation and water pollution abatement. Corridor preservation is important to the movement of wildlife and for the movement and dispersal of seeds for a variety of plant species.

Date  2012

Hydrologic Features

This watershed includes the subwatersheds of Sauk Creek and Sucker Creek, plus areas discharging directly to Lake Michigan. All streams ultimately reach Lake Michigan. There are three lakes within the watershed: Ludowissi Lake, Grasser Lake, and an unnamed lake (an abandoned quarry) located in Harrington Beach State Park. The only active dam is a small dam on this quarry lake. There is also the remnant of an old dam on Spring Creek (a tributary to Sauk Creek) in Port Washington. Stream channelization has caused some degradation of water quality and habitat in the watershed. Also, impervious surfaces (such as roads, roofs, and parking lots) are increasing as urbanization proceeds. Impervious surfaces increase stormwater runoff, contributing to problems with erosion, water pollution, and flooding. The loss of about 60% of the original wetlands in the watershed has also had negative effects, as wetlands offer natural flood control and water pollution reduction, along with other benefits.

Date  2011

Fisheries

The fish community in the two watersheds is primarily forage fish with some game fish species in the lower reaches. Forage fish species include blacknose dace, longnose dace, mottled sculpin, white sucker, creek chub, brook stickleback, common shiner, central stoneroller, fathead minnow, central mudminnow, and johnny darter. Game fish include largemouth bass, northern pike, bluegill, and salmonid species when anadromous fish are making their annual spawning run. Young of the year rainbow trout have been documented in the lower reach of Sauk Creek, indicating possible natural reproduction. Additional monitoring is currently being done by WDNR staff for verification. It should be noted that longnose suckers were documented spawning in the mouth of Sucker Creek during spring, 2010. This species is common in northern Lake Michigan, but is rarer to the south. Also, the longnose sucker rarely appears in Lake Michigan tributaries (Becker, 1983). Trout and salmon species are stocked annually at the mouth of Sauk Creek.

Date  2011

Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed At-a-Glance

Impaired Water in Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed
River and Stream QualityAll Waters in Watershed

The majority of the streams within the Sauk and Sucker Creek watersheds have natural community classifications of cool-warm transition headwaters. There are a few smaller streams that are classified as macroinvertebrate streams or have no classification. These two latter classifications are generally associated with streams so small in size they do not support a fish population and are often intermittent.

Overall, the water quality of Sauk and Sucker Creeks is rated from good to poor. Fish and macroinvertebrate communities rated good to fair in the lower reaches of the two watersheds, where stream habitat is in better condition. Upstream reaches of the two watersheds rated fair to poor for fish and macroinvertebrate communities. This is most likely due to degraded stream habitat, especially within the headwater areas. Stream channelization that occurred years ago, along with sedimentation from runoff and bank erosion, are limiting factors that negatively impair fish and macroinvertebrate populations.

Heavy growth of filamentous algae on the stream bottom also degrades the habitat and water quality of the streams within the two watersheds. Water chemistry monitoring was done in 2009 and 2010 at two individual sites, located at the mouths of Sauk and Sucker Creeks. Water samples collected for chemical analysis from both creeks showed elevated concentrations of total phosphorus that exceed Wisconsin?s water quality standard. E-coli bacteria concentrations also exceeded criteria from samples collected within the Sucker Creek watershed. Dissolved oxygen levels did not appear to be a problem in either stream when samples were collected.

Mineral Springs Creek 2011

Just upstream of the confluence between Sauk Creek and the Port Washington Harbor on Lake Michigan, a small tributary known locally as Mineral Springs Creek (WBIC 49600) joins Sauk Creek through property owned by We Energies. The stream is approximately 2.7 miles in length and drains areas to the south and southwest portions of Port Washington including the city industrial park. Although the culvert at the mouth of this creek is elevated several feet above the elevation of Sauk Creek, there have been informal reports of salmonids reaching upstream portions of the stream during past spawning runs. There is also a report of an old dam on the stream above the We Energies property.

Date  2012

Watershed Trout Streams
Watershed Outstanding & Exceptional Resources

Lakes and Impoundments

There are three lakes within the Sauk and Sucker Creek Watershed. Ludowissi Lake is in the headwaters of Sauk Creek with a surface area of 11 acres and a maximum depth of 25 feet. Recent satelite data from Ludowissi Lake suggest the lake is supporting its fish and aquatic life designated use. Grasser Lake is located within Sheboygan County, is 10.7 acres in size, and has a maximum depth of 33 feet. The third lake is an unnamed lake located within Harrington Beach State Park. This “lake” is actually an abandoned quarry that flooded many years ago. It is 23 acres in size and has a maximum depth of 47 feet. Little is known regarding the latter two lakes because of limited monitoring. Port Washington Harbor The first manmade harbor on Lake Michigan at Port Washington was constructed in the 1870’s. In addition to providing safe harbor for vessels, the harbor received shipments of coal since the Port Washington Power Plant was constructed in the 1930’s. Sauk Creek discharges to the harbor. A recreational marina was constructed in the harbor and two channel slips also provide dock space for recreational and charter boats. The cooling water discharge for the We Energies power plant (which was recently converted to natural gas in place of coal) discharges to the harbor. The City of Port Washington Sewage Treatment plant outfall also discharges to the harbor. The harbor was dredged by the US Army COE in 2004. There are no known sediment contamination issues in this harbor.

Date  2012

Wetland Health

Wetland Status: The Sauk and Sucker Creeks watershed is located mostly within Ozaukee County, with a small northern portion located in Sheboygan County. An estimated 3.4% of the current land uses in the watershed are wetlands. Currently, about 40% of the original wetlands in the watershed are estimated to exist. Of these wetlands, the majority include forested wetlands (65%), scrub wetlands (21%), and emergent wetlands (14%), 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 40% of the existing emergent wetlands, 26% of existing shrub wetlands, and 4% of the remaining forested wetlands (See Figure 5 below). Reed Canary Grass domination inhibits successful establishment of native wetland species. Wetland Restorability: Of the 1,886 acres of estimated lost wetlands in the watershed, approximately 87% are considered potentially restorable based on modeled data, including soil types, land use and land cover (Chris Smith, WDNR, 2009).

Date  2009

Impaired Waters

Numerous locations along Lake Michigan have been listed as impaired due to high E. coli counts. Beaches in the watershed under recreational restrictions due to elevated E. coli counts include: Cedar Beach, County Road D Boat Launch Beach, Upper Lake Park Beach, Amsterdam Beach, Lions Den Gorge National Preserve (South Beach), and Harrington State Park (South Beach).

Date  2011

List of Impaired Waters

Aquatic Invasive Species

Lake Michigan hosts a variety of Aquatic Invasive Species, including the following: Eurasian Water Milfoil, Fishhook Waterfleas, Spiny Waterfleas, Zebra Mussels, Rainbow Smelt, and Round Goby. In addition, Rusty Crayfish have infiltrated Sauk Creek. It should be noted that there are likely invasive plant species that exist in wetland and riparian areas along Sauk and Sucker Creek, including Japanese knotweed, purple loosestrife, garlic mustard and glossy buckthorn. The extent of these invasive species is not currently known.

Date  2011

Fish Consumption Advice

Wisconsin’s fish consumption advisory is based on the work of public health, water quality and fisheries experts from eight Great Lakes states. Based on the best available scientific evidence, these scientists determined how much fish is safe to eat over a lifetime based on the amount of contaminants found in the fish and how those contaminants affect human health. Advisories are based on concentrations of the following contaminants along with angler habits, fishing regulations and other factors. Lake Michigan has had a specific fish consumption advisory in effect for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) since 2009. Studies indicate the people exposed to PCBs are at greater risk for a variety of health problems. Infants and children of women who have eaten a lot of contaminated fish may have lower birth weights and be delayed in physical development and learning. PCBs may affect reproductive function and the immune system and are also associated with cancer risk. Once eaten, PCBs are stored in body fat for many years. Each time you ingest PCBs the total amount of PCB in your body increases (Proposed Guidance for the Classification, Assessment, and Management of Wisconsin Surface Waters, Lowndes and Helmuth, March 12, 2007).

Date  2011

Groundwater

Preserving groundwater quality and quantity is essential for a healthy watershed. Like surface water, groundwater is susceptible to depletion and deterioration. The quality of groundwater can be reduced by excessive or overly concentrated pumping, onsite waste treatment systems, surface water pollution, improper agricultural practices, and other pollutants. Since much of the streamflow in this watershed is dependent upon groundwater discharge, the protection of groundwater recharge areas is very important. Most of the watershed is considered to have moderate groundwater recharge potential. Preserving groundwater quality and quantity is also critical when it is used for domestic consumption. Most of the water used in the watershed is groundwater. Both public and private wells utilize groundwater as their source—a notable exception is the City of Port Washington, which uses Lake Michigan as its source. The following groundwater information is for Ozaukee County (from Protecting Wisconsin’s Groundwater through Comprehensive Planning website, http://wi.water.usgs.gov/gwcomp/), which roughly approximates to the Sauk and Sucker Creeks watershed. The municipal water systems of Belgium and Cedar Grove have developed wellhead protection plans and ordinances. Ozaukee County and Sheboygan County have both adopted animal waste management ordinances, as well. From 1979 to 2005, total water use in Ozaukee County has increased from about 7.5 million gallons per day to about 10.7 million gallons per day. The increase in total water use over this period is due to increases in domestic use. The proportion of county water use supplied by groundwater has varied from about 82% to 87% during the period 1979 to 2005. Private Wells Ninety-nine percent of 110 private well samples collected in Ozaukee County from 1990-2006 met the health-based drinking water limit for nitrate-nitrogen. 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 21-33% of private drinking water wells in the region of Wisconsin that includes Sauk and Sucker Creeks watershed 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 Sauk and Sucker Creeks watershed. All 10 private well samples collected in Ozaukee County met the health standard for arsenic. Potential Sources of Contamination There are no concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in the Sauk and Sucker Creeks watershed; nor are there any licensed landfills or Superfund sites within the watershed. There are 12 open-status sites that have contaminated groundwater and/or soil in the Sauk and Sucker Creeks watershed, all of which are located in or around the city of Port Washington. These sites include three Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites and nine Environmental Repair (ERP) sites. 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, $22,278,131 has been reimbursed by the PECFA program to clean up 204 petroleum-contaminated sites in Ozaukee County. This equates to $258 per county resident, which is similar to the statewide average of $264 per resident.

Date  2011

Watershed Documents
Watershed Grants
Grant Details
Targeted Runoff - Rural Construction
Date
1/1/2002
Waters Involved
Sauk Creek
Status
Complete

Ozaukee County: Sauk/Sucker Creek Trm: to provide cost-sharing for landowners in the sauk/sucker creek project area


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
10/1/2005
Waters Involved
Sauk Creek
Status
Complete

City Of Port Washington: Municipal Service Center Rain Gardens: To cost-share design and construction of four (4) rain garden filtration practices on the Municipal Service Center site.


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Planning
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Sauk Creek
Status
Complete

City Of Port Washington: Stormwater Management Plan: to cost-share @70% development & implementation of stormwater management plan


Grant Details
River Planning Grant
Date
7/1/2010
Waters Involved
Sauk Creek
Status
Complete

Ozaukee County: Sucker Creek Watershed Pilot Project: The planning process and final report will include: 1) Baseline assessments- assess existing condition, native flora and fauna, current public utilization and riverbank structure 2) Public information sessions- listening sessions to gather ideas feedback and comments on the restoration 3) Site planning- Trail connections, recreational facility and public access points, vegetation restoration and invasive species control, shoreland stabilization and runoff reduction, site grading create opportunities to create diverse high quality native vegetation and habitat.


Grant Details
River Planning Grant
Date
7/1/2011
Waters Involved
Sauk Creek
Status
Complete

City Of Port Washington: Barrier Removal & Habitat Restoration, Sauk & Mineral Springs Creek: The City of Port Washington proposes to improve the stream habitat and fish passage at the mouth of Sauk Creek and Mineral Springs Creek. This phase of the project would include the planning and design work to remove a concrete weir and nearby seawalls on the south side of Sauk Creek and the smaller tributary. The project area is the lower 435 feet of Sauk Creek and the lower 120 feet of Mineral Springs Creek.

Details include developing a preliminary grading plan that identifies feasible utility routes and identifies design challenges relative to planned creek improvements, completing feasibility study of weir removal, including final design plans, and providing preliminary design plans for stream restoration.

Deliverables will include a preliminary grading plan of the south bank of Sauk Creek, feasibility study and final design plans for weir removal and preliminary design plans (60% completion) for stream restoration. The total budget is $13,330, with a requested grant award of $9997.50.


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

Streams and Lakes Baseline and Trends Monitoring

Biological and physical monitoring of these two watersheds was done in 2010 and 2011 at five locations in each watershed for a total of ten sites. Prior to that, the most recent data were from 1999 and should be considered outdated. Fish and macroinvertebrate surveys were done and are tools to help determine the water quality of a stream. Physical monitoring consists of stream habitat analysis to determine fish cover and the overall condition of the riparian corridor. Water chemistry monitoring was done in 2009 and 2010 at two individual sites located at the mouths of Sauk and Sucker Creeks.

One more year of monitoring should be done to determine if any portions of Sauk and Sucker Creeks should be placed on the Impaired Waters List. Only one year of current data has been collected and WDNR guidance recommends two years of data within five years, or two sample events within one year to determine whether or not a water is classified as impaired. Therefore, additional monitoring should be done in the near future.

Volunteer Monitoring There have been three stations monitored by at least three Volunteer Stream Monitors in the SH01-Sauk and Sucker Creek Watersheds during 2010; all of these stations are located in Sucker Creek. All three stations are monitored for dissolved oxygen, pH, instantaneous and continuous temperature and transparency using Level 2 procedures, and entered into the SWIMS database (http://prodoasjava.dnr.wi.gov/swims/welcome.do). Stations were monitored at the three locations seven times between July and September 2010.

Dissolved oxygen levels recorded at Sucker Creek at CTH D, CBSM- 10031616 and Sucker Creek at Pebble Beach Rd, CBSM- 10031615 were insufficient to sustain aquatic life. They ranged from 0.06-1.93mg/l. Both stations note the appearance of an oily sheen and odor from the river. Dissolved oxygen levels at the third station, Sucker Creek at High Point Beach Rd, CBSM- 10031617, were more suitable for sustaining aquatic life, and ranged from 6.54-8.55mg/l. A 4-5inch fish was visible during one sampling event.

Throughout the monitoring seasons, volunteers collected pH measurements primarily within state standards (which range from 6 to 9) ranging from 6.28 to 7.99.

Temperature measurements, used to classify streams as cold, cool or warm water habitats, and which are indicative of the ability of a habitat to sustain aquatic species, were manually recorded at all stations throughout the season. Maximum instantaneous temperatures were below 25�C for all streams using this method, suggesting they may be cold water streams.

Each stream was measured for stream transparency six to seven times throughout the 2010 monitoring season. Both Sucker Creek at CTH D and Sucker Creek at High Point Beach Rd recorded good water quality with each having only one reading over 10 NTU, but not greater than 240 NTU. Sucker Creek at Pebble Beach Rd recorded primarily poor quality with over 80% of the readings greater than 10 NTU; however none were greater than 240 NTU.

Date  2012

Volunteer Monitoring

There have been three stations monitored by at least three Volunteer Stream Monitors in the SH01-Sauk and Sucker Creek Watersheds during 2010. All three stations are monitored for dissolved oxygen, pH, instantaneous and continuous temperature and transparency using Level 2 procedures, and entered into the SWIMS database Stations were monitored at the three locations seven times between July and September 2010.(http://prodoasjava.dnr.wi.gov/swims/welcome.do).

Dissolved oxygen levels recorded at Sucker Creek at CTH D, CBSM- 10031616 and Sucker Creek at Pebble Beach Rd, CBSM- 10031615 were insufficient to sustain aquatic life. They ranged from 0.06-1.93mg/l. Both stations note the appearance of an oily sheen and odor from the river. Dissolved oxygen levels at the third station, Sucker Creek at High Point Beach Rd, CBSM- 10031617, were more suitable for sustaining aquatic life, and ranged from 6.54-8.55mg/l. A 4-5inch fish was visible during one sampling event. Throughout the monitoring seasons, volunteers collected pH measurements primarily within state standards (which range from 6 to 9) ranging from 6.28 to 7.99.

Temperature measurements, used to classify streams as cold, cool or warm water habitats, and which are indicative of the ability of a habitat to sustain aquatic species were manually recorded at all stations throughout the season. Maximum instantaneous temperatures were below 25�C for all streams using this method; suggesting they may be cold water streams.

Each stream was measured for stream transparency six to seven times throughout the 2010 monitoring season. Both Sucker Creek at CTH D and Sucker Creek at High Point Beach Rd recorded good water quality with each having only one reading over 10 NTU, but not greater than 240 NTU. Sucker Creek at Pebble Beach Rd recorded primarily poor quality with over 80% of the readings greater than 10 NTU; however none were greater than 240 NTU.

Date  2012

Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed

Priorities

9/9/2011
In-stream E-coli bacteria concentrations are frequently high.
9/9/2011
Lack of awareness, understanding and participation in watershed stewardship.
9/9/2011
Nutrient concentrations impact water quality by promoting undesirable growth of algae and negatively impacting in-stream dissolved oxygen concentrations.
9/9/2011
Sedimentation from bank erosion and agricultural fields impacts water quality and available habitat.
9/9/2011
Wetlands are severely impacted by reed canary grass (reduced diversity).
9/9/2011
Aquatic invasive species are present and can have negative impacts on native species.
9/9/2011
The extent and distribution of invasive plant species within the watershed are not well known.
9/9/2011
Highway runoff contributes sediment, nutrients, and pollutants to local waterways.
9/9/2011
There is a lack of adequate stream buffers in portions of the watershed.
9/9/2011
The potential impact of farm tiles to stream water quality is not well understood.
9/9/2011
Fish passage barriers prevent passage of fish species to historic spawning or nursery areas. This is especially true for Mineral Spring Creek at its confluence with Sauk Creek.
9/9/2011
Lack of inventory and monitoring data limits ability to identify source control areas and to classify the waterways and determine if they should be added to the EPA 303(d) list of impaired waterways.
9/9/2011
Runoff from agricultural lands continues to impact water quality in the watershed and there is a need to further reduce sediment and nutrient impacts to waterways.
9/9/2011
Runoff from developed (and developing) areas has a significant negative impact to water quality through the introduction of sediment, nutrients, and other pollutants to nearby waterways.
9/9/2011
Loss of wetlands and woodlands in the watershed has resulted in the loss of valuable fish & wildlife habitat, plus other potential benefits, such as filtering pollutants, maintaining summer base flow, alleviating flooding concerns, and reducing water temperatures.
9/9/2011
In-stream warm-water fish habitat needs improvement.
Watershed Recommendations
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Citizen Stream Monitoring
Date
Status
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
1/1/2012
In Progress
Projects
 
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Citizen Stream Monitoring
Date
Status
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
1/1/2012
In Progress
Projects
 
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Citizen Stream Monitoring
Date
Status
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
1/1/2012
In Progress
Projects
 
Engage Volunteers in Monitoring/Restoration
 
Date
Status
The Department should coordinate with local agencies to enhance the Self-Help Monitoring Program for lakes in the Sauk & Sucker Creek Watershed.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Engage Volunteers in Monitoring/Restoration
 
Date
Status
Water quality biologists should work with the local schools and interest groups to establish volunteer monitoring in the Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Fish Management, Access
 
Date
Status
Improve fish passage in the Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed.
9/9/2011
Proposed
 
Hire County Aquatic Invasives Coordinator
 
Date
Status
Hire Aquatic Invasives (AIS) County Coordinator - Ozaukee
1/1/2011
Not Proposed
Projects
 
Hire County Aquatic Invasives Coordinator
 
Date
Status
Hire Aquatic Invasives (AIS) County Coordinator - Sheboygan
1/1/2011
Not Proposed
Projects
 
Information and Education
 
Date
Status
Increase awareness, understanding and participation in watershed stewardship in the Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed.
9/9/2011
Proposed
 
Map Invasive Species
Sauk Creek TWA AIS Recommendation
Date
Status
Determine the extent and distribution of invasive plant species in the Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed.
9/9/2011
Proposed
 
Monitor Invasive Species
 
Date
Status
Facilitate and provide incentives for increased management by private landowners, organizations, businesses, municipalities and agencies to monitor and control the invasion by non-native species in the Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed.
9/9/2011
Proposed
 
Monitor Targeted Area
 
Date
Status
Water quality biologists should complete stream monitoring special project and assessments for Sucker Creek and Sauk Creek.
9/9/2011
Proposed
 
Monitor Targeted Area
 
Date
Status
Water quality biologists should conduct water quality assessments on Grasser Lake.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Monitor Targeted Area
 
Date
Status
Water quality biologists should conduct water quality assessments on Ludowissi Lake.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Monitor Targeted Area
 
Date
Status
The water quality biologists should conduct stream assessments on the tributaries to Lake Michigan within the Sauk & Sucker Creeks Watershed.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Monitor Targeted Area
 
Date
Status
Water quality biologists should conduct stream assessments on all of the tributaries to Sucker Creek and Sauk Creek.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Monitor Watershed (Status,Sources,Impairments)
 
Date
Status
Water quality biologists should continue working with the communities, Ozaukee Land Conservation Department, agricultural community and others to improve the water quality by decreasing sediment runoff, nutrient loads, and stormwater runoff to Sauk & Sucker Creeks.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Monitor Watershed (Status,Sources,Impairments)
 
Date
Status
Water quality biologists should continue to assist Ozaukee County in identifying drain tile connections from septic systems and milk-house wastes to surface waters in the Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed and facilitate the corrections.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Ordinance Development or Implementation
 
Date
Status
The City of Port Washington should continue effective implementation of its stormwater program.
9/9/2011
Proposed
 
Ordinance Development or Implementation
 
Date
Status
Ozaukee County should continue effective implementation of its stormwater program.
9/9/2011
Proposed
 
Ordinance Development or Implementation
 
Date
Status
The Department should encourage all communities to adopt construction site erosion and stormwater management ordinances in order to minimize polluted runoff from developed areas.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Permit Compliance Inventory
 
Date
Status
Review wastewater and stormwater discharges in the Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed for compliance.
9/9/2011
Proposed
 
Protect Riparian or Shorelands
 
Date
Status
The Sheboygan River Basin staff supports and should assist Ozaukee County Land Conservation Department in obtaining stream bank buffers along all of the streams in the county.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Restore Riparian Habitat
 
Date
Status
Fisheries and water quality staff should continue to work with external partners on habitat improvement projects on Sucker Creek.
9/9/2011
Proposed
 
Restore Riparian Habitat
 
Date
Status
Fisheries and water quality staff should continue to work with external partners on habitat improvement projects on Sauk Creek.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Restore Wetlands
Sauk Creek TWA Wetlands Recommendation
Date
Status
Restore Wetlands in the Sauk Creek Watershed.
8/9/2017
Proposed
 
Restore Wetlands
 
Date
Status
Restore and manage key wetlands, woodlands, and shorelands in the Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed
9/9/2011
Proposed
 
Runoff Grant
 
Date
Status
Minimize polluted runoff from agricultural areas in the Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed. Because funding for farm conservation practices is limited, these resources should be directed to the highest priority runoff areas first. Goals should include reducing soil erosion, controlling animal waste runoff, and meeting nutrient management requirements.
9/9/2011
Proposed
 
Runoff Grant
 
Date
Status
Sauk and Sucker Creeks Watershed should continue to be considered as a high priority for selection of nonpoint source management projects and funding.
1/1/2010
Proposed
 
Sauk and Sucker Creeks WatershedWater Plans and PartnershipsRead the Watershed Plan

Sheboygan River Basin Partnership

The Sheboygan River Basin Partnership (SRBP) is a non-profit organization working to improve water quality and preserve natural resources within the Sheboygan River Basin (which includes the Sauk and Sucker Creek watersheds). The SRBP is an alliance of conservation and environmental groups; local businesses; local, state and federal agency staff, and concerned individuals. The group works to cultivate Partnerships to raise public awareness, engage participation in stewardship, and promote informed decision-making regarding issues that affect the health of water resources in the area. The SRBP has an adopt-a-stream program that fosters volunteer monitoring.

Sucker Brook Partnership

The Sucker Brook Partnership is an effort that was spearheaded by Ozaukee County Land Conservation Department. The effort was targeted at landowners within the Sucker Brook (Creek) watershed and other interested persons. The focus is to work towards collection of data and information on the watershed and the creek, educate on the current watershed issues, and work cooperatively with landowners and others to improve watershed and waterway conditions.

Date  2011

Watershed History Note

Commercial fishing for the once boundless resources of Lake Michigan has occurred off of Port Washington since the early history of the city. The early fishing was by pound nets set near shore, which began in 1856. Writing a quarter century later in 1881, the authors of the county history published in that year noted: “Fish are caught in great quantities by Port Washington fishermen. Fine specimens of trout, whitefish, and perch are shipped to other markets, the revenue amounting to from $15,000 to $20,000 annually.” Fishing did not become a really significant industry in the city, however, until the 1890s, when commercial fishing families began to base their operations there. The most important were these families: the Ewigs, who came to Milwaukee from Germany in 1882 and to Port Washington in 1896; the Smith brothers, who came to Port Washington in 1899; the Van Ellis family; and the Bossler family. The advent of new technologies for both the catching of fish and the preparing them for market, fast rail transportation to get them to market, and better and bigger fishing boats all combined to make commercial fishing an increasingly profitable, if risky, way to make a living. By 1935, the peak year in terms of quantity of fish caught, as many as eight fishing tugs were based in Port Washington and their associated fishing shanties and smoke houses lined the harbor near the area where Sauk Creek enters it just south of E. Grand Ave. Today, however, all but one of the historic buildings associated with these families have been demolished, including two that were demolished in 1998. The sole survivor is the Fish Net House built by the Smith Brothers between 1922 and 1938 as a net storage and workshop facility for their commercial fishing operations. The Smith Brothers and their descendants have probably been the best known of Port Washington's commercial fishing families over the years, thanks in part to the well known restaurants they have operated in conjunction with their other operations. Although today commercial fishing is no longer an important part of the City’s economy, Port Washington does have one of the largest charter fishing fleets on the Great Lakes. (Source: Port Washington Historical Society website (http://www.ci.port-washington.wi.us/History/))

Date  2011