The Jordan and Skinner Creeks Watershed is located in southwest Green County. The two main creeks that give this watershed its name join just east of Browntown. Skinner Creek then flows into the Pecatonica River just west of Browntown. One stream in the watershed, Bushnell Creek, is classified as a trout stream for a portion of its length.
The watershed is dominated by agriculture, although it does have some areas of woodlots and grasslands. The habitat in all of the streams is impacted by agricultural non-point source pollution. The population of this mostly rural watershed is expected to remain steady over the next several decades. One municipality, Browntown, discharges to Skinner Creek.
The Jordan and Skinner Creeks Watershed is located primarily in the Southwest Savanna Ecological Landscape which is located in the far southwestern part of the state. It is characterized by deeply dissected topography, unglaciated for the last 2.4 million years, with broad open hilltops and river valleys, and steep wooded slopes. The climate is favorable for agriculture but the steep slopes limit it to the hilltops and valley bottoms. Soils are underlain with calcareous bedrock. Soils on hilltops are silty loams, sometimes of shallow depth over exposed bedrock and stony red clay subsoil. Some valley soils are alluvial sands, loams, and peats. Some hilltops are almost treeless due to the thin soil while others have a deep silt loam cap.
Historic vegetation consisted of tall prairie grasses and forbs with oak savannas and some wooded slopes of oak. Almost three-quarters of the current vegetation is agricultural crops with lesser amounts of grasslands, barrens, and urban areas. The major forest types are oak-hickory and maple-basswood. High-quality prairie remnants occur on rocky hilltops and slopes that are not farmed. Some prairie pastures and oak savannas still exist. The grassland areas harbor many rare grassland birds, invertebrates, and other grassland species. Relict stands of pine occur on bedrock outcroppings along some stream systems.
The Browntown-Cadiz Springs State Recreation Area covers 723 acres just east of Browntown. The area has marsh, grassland, and scattered woodlots that provide habitat for pheasants, rabbits, squirrels and deer. Fishing is popular on the two lakes that lie adjacent to this public area.
Lakes and Impoundments
Beckman Lake is a 73 acre impoundment adjacent to Zanders Lake. The lake is scheduled to be drawn down in late summer of 2002 as repairs are made to the dam. Zander Lake is a 21 acre impoundment caused by a partial diversion of Zanders Creek. This lake has problems associated with siltation which limits the fishery. However it has importance from a wildlife standpoint. An overabundance of macrophytes plagues both of these waters, but anglers in the area are generally successful in pursuit of bluegills, crappies and bass.
Rivers and StreamsAll Waters in WatershedWatershed Trout StreamsWatershed Outstanding & Exceptional Resources
Impaired WatersList of Impaired Waters
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.
Monitor biology on WBIC: 896200
Conduct biological (mIBI or fIBI) monitoring on Unnamed, WBIC: 896200, AU:3995820
Monitor biology on WBIC: 957500
Conduct biological (mIBI or fIBI) monitoring on Flat Rock Creek, WBIC: 957500, AU:18563
Monitor biology on WBIC: 895000
Conduct biological (mIBI or fIBI) monitoring on Jordan Creek, WBIC: 895000, AU:18541
Watershed History Note
The Village of Browntown in the Jordan and Skinner Creeks Watershed, had been an important local place in the 1840's. In 1846, William Brown, Henson Irion and John Wood purchased land near Skinner Creek. They were attracted by, "the excellent water privilege" there and began building a saw mill the same year. In 1847 they built a dam and finished the saw mill. They also put up a corn mill or "corn cracker".
The first dwelling house was built by Brown in 1846 and in the fall of 1848 he erected another building which is still occupied today. For many years this point was known as Brown, Irion and Wood's Mill. By 1875 that mill had disappeared and another mill was erected.
A telegram from Milwaukee announced the news that on July 15, 1880 a contract to build a railway from Monroe to Gratiot was given to O'Hara Brothers of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This was the beginning of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Company's. extension from Monroe to Mineral Point . While the railroad was being built in 1881, old pioneer William Brown made daily visits to watch the progress of the work. A bewhiskered character with a colorful personality, Brown was nicknamed Old Grizzly. Each day he told the workers just how to lay the track. The railroad men asked him his name, and decided to call the depot Brown(s)town, in his honor. Today the former railroad bed is home to the "Cheese Country Recreation Trail" which is a multi-use trail open for ATVs, mini bikes, horses, hikers, mountain bikes, and snowmobiles. The trail winds for 47 miles through scenic areas of Green, Lafayette, and Iowa counties.