Watershed - Rush Creek (BL01)
Rush Creek Watershed

Details

The Rush Creek Watershed is approximately 154,478 acres in size and consists of 551 miles of streams and rivers. The topography of the watershed consists of steeply wooded hillsides with narrow ridgetops and valleys. Rock outcrops along the bluffs facing the Mississippi River are a common sight in the watershed. Stream valleys and ridgetops with scenic vistas now contain many seasonal and permanent homes.

Date  2010

Population, Land Use

The severe elevation changes, common in this watershed, minimize the usable acreage for agricultural purposes, allowing forests to dominate the land (43% of the watershed). However, agriculture is still the dominate land use of the area effecting 31.4% of the land.

Date  2010

Nonpoint and Point Sources

Due to the expanding population in the watershed, Prairie du Chien, DeSoto, Ferryville, and the Valley Ridge Clean Water Commission each have wastewater treatment plants. These plants all discharge to the Mississippi River.

Date  2010

Ecological Landscapes for Rush Creek Watershed

Ecological Landscapes

This watershed is located in the Western Coulee and Ridges Ecological Landscape in southwestern and west central Wisconsin and is characterized by its highly eroded, driftless topography and relatively extensive forested landscape. Soils are silt loams (loess) and sandy loams over sandstone residuum over dolomite. Several large rivers including the Wisconsin, Mississippi, Chippewa, Kickapoo and Black flow through or border the Ecological Landscape. Historical vegetation consisted of southern hardwood forests, oak savanna, scattered prairies, and floodplain forests and marshes along the major rivers. With Euro-American settlement, most of the land on ridgetops and valley bottoms was cleared of oak savanna, prairie, and level forest for agriculture. The steep slopes between valley bottom and ridgetop, unsuitable for raising crops, grew into oak-dominated forests after the ubiquitous presettlement wildfires were suppressed. Current vegetation is a mix of forest (40%), agriculture, and grassland with some wetlands in the river valleys. The primary forest cover is oak-hickory (51%) dominated by oak species and shagbark hickory. Maple-basswood forests (28%), dominated by sugar maple, basswood and red maple, are common in areas that were not subjected to repeated presettlement wildfires. Bottomland hardwoods (10%) are common in the valley bottoms of major rivers and are dominated by silver maple, ashes, elms, cottonwood, and red maple. Relict conifer forests including white pine, hemlock and yellow birch are a rarer natural community in the cooler, steep, north slope microclimates.

Date  2010

Hydrologic Features

Many of watershed streams are small to medium sized and flow toward the Mississippi River from Battle Hollow Creek, on the northern border, south to Prairie du Chien. Most streams located in the Rush Creek watershed are groundwater fed, coldwater streams and classified as trout streams. Class I, II and III Trout Streams cover over 102 miles in this watershed alone, with 69 miles of Class I streams, 23 miles of Class II streams, and 9 miles of Class III Trout Streams.

Date  2010

Rush Creek Watershed At-a-Glance

Impaired Water in Rush Creek Watershed
River and Stream QualityAll Waters in Watershed

Most streams located in the Rush Creek watershed are groundwater fed, coldwater streams and classified as trout streams. There are over 50 miles of exceptional resource waters. Class I, II and III Trout Streams cover over 102 miles in this watershed alone, with 69 miles of Class I streams, 23 miles of Class II streams, and 9 miles of Class III Trout Streams.

Date  2010

Watershed Trout Streams
Watershed Outstanding & Exceptional Resources

Lakes and Impoundments

There are 37 natural lakes and 'spring-lakes' in the Rush Creek Watershed, with four larger than 200 acres. These lakes are largely backwater streams in the Mississippi River floodplain.

Date  2010

Wetland Health

Wetland Status The Rush Creek Watershed extends from the southwestern portion of Crawford County north into the southwestern portion of Vernon County, along the Mississippi River. An estimated 6% of the current land uses in the watershed are wetlands. Almost 97% of the original wetlands in the watershed are estimated to exist. Of these wetlands, forested wetlands (60%) and emergent wetlands (31%), which include wet meadows and marshes, dominate the landscape. 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 57% of the existing emergent wetlands and 27% of the remaining forested wetlands. Reed Canary Grass domination inhibits successful establishment of native wetland species. Wetland Restorability Of the 300 acres of estimated lost wetlands in the watershed, approximately 64% are considered potentially restorable based on modeled data, including soil types, land use and land cover (Chris Smith, DNR, 2009).

Date  2010

Potentially Restorable Wetland AnalysisPotentially Restorable Wetland Analysis

Wetland Health

Many wetlands in the Rush Creek watershed have been lost. Of these, over 936 acres are considered potentially restorable. These hydric soils with on alluvial land are poorly drained and frequently flooded.

Date  2010

Potentially Restorable Wetland AnalysisPotentially Restorable Wetland Analysis

Impaired Waters

Impaired waters include 59 stream miles impaired due to fish tissue contamination from atmospheric mercury deposition causing specific fish advice for target fish species. Ninety-six (96) miles of the Mississippi River are listed due to ambient concentrations of mercury and PCBs in the water column.

Date  2010

List of Impaired Waters

Aquatic Invasive Species

Eurasian Watermilfoil and zebra mussels are found on Colombus Lake, and the Wisconsin River in this watershed, and a small unnamed lake of the Mississippi "east channel".

Date  2010

Watershed Grants
Grant Details
Aquatic Invasives Early Detection and Response
Date
2/25/2015
Waters Involved
Copper Creek
Status
Complete

Crawford County: Copper Creek Hops: Crawford County proposes to enlist volunteers in the survey and chemical treatment of Japanese Hops on Copper Creek in the Town of Seneca. Major project elements to include: a) volunteer recruitement and training, b) pre-treatment survey, c) chemical treatment, and d) post-treatment survey.


Grant Details
Aquatic Invasives Early Detection and Response
Date
2/25/2015
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

Crawford County: Copper Creek Hops: Crawford County proposes to enlist volunteers in the survey and chemical treatment of Japanese Hops on Copper Creek in the Town of Seneca. Major project elements to include: a) volunteer recruitement and training, b) pre-treatment survey, c) chemical treatment, and d) post-treatment survey.


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
10/1/2008
Waters Involved
Garnet Lake
Status
Complete

Crawford County: Crawford Oxbow Study: The Crawford County Land Conservation Department proposes to conduct studies and prepare a report with recommendations for the management of oxbow lakes associated with the Wisconsin and Lower Kickapoo Rivers in Crawford County. Major project elements include: 1) collection of baseline water quality and biotic data, 2) identification of upland watershed boundries and land uses, 3) identification of springs and evaluation of their roles in sustaining oxbows, 4) recommend management options to affected government units and agencies.


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
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
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Planning
Date
10/1/2005
Waters Involved
Marais de Saint Feriole
Status
Complete

City Of Prairie Du Chien: Stormwater Ordinances & Utility: To develop/revise municipal runoff ordinances in compliance with Chapter NR151 and examine options for dedicated revenue sources.


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Planning
Date
10/1/2005
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

City Of Prairie Du Chien: Stormwater Ordinances & Utility: To develop/revise municipal runoff ordinances in compliance with Chapter NR151 and examine options for dedicated revenue sources.


Grant Details
River Protection Grant
Date
4/1/2000
Waters Involved
Sugar Creek
Status
Complete

Mississippi Valley Conservancy: Sugar Creek Protection: The Mississippi Valley Conservancy will aquire a private tract of land to add to the Sugar Creek Bluff project. Activities involved with this project will include the purchase of the 36 acre tract.

Specific deliverable for this grant project will include:
**9** documentation of purchase


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

The Rush River Watershed includes both the inland streams and lakes as well as portions of the Mississippi River.Monitoring includes: 1) Mississippi River Long-Term Trends, which is part of a statewide network of sites established to track the chemical, biological and ecological integrity of the state's waters. 2) Natural Community Stream Reference Sites study, which was started in 2008 to evaluate proposed distinct ecological communities for rivers and streams based on flow and temperature. 3) Watershed Rotation Study, started in 2006, and designed to assess stream biological, chemical, and habitat parameters to evaluate ambient conditions at "pour point" locations for each of state's 330 watersheds. 4) Fisheries assessments at individual streams include the many coldwater trout fisheries. For example, fish stocking evaluation surveys have been ocnducted on Buck Creek in 2002, 2003, 2004.

Date  2010

Rush Creek Watershed

Goals

3/10/2010
Conduct comprehensive stream surveys on high priority streams; install in-stream habitat to improve fisheries, and conduct continuous water temperature monitoring to monitor fish community suitability and changes over time.

Priorities

3/10/2010
Concerns and Issues include: agricultural non-point source pollution and stormwater runoff volume from rural housing developments
Watershed Recommendations
Control Streambank Erosion
 
Date
Status
Restoration Work: Reduce sedimentation and improve instream habitat in Rush Creek to support natural reproduction of trout in this coldwater stream.
7/12/2010
Proposed
 
Monitor Fish Community
Cooley Creek fIBI
Date
Status
AU 13964, poor fIBI, Station 10038717
1/1/2018
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor Fish Community
 
Date
Status
Condition assessment surveys -- WDNR should continue to conduct trout stocking and habitat assessment surveys on the small 1st and 2nd order streams draining directly into the Mississippi (e.g. Buck, Du Charme Creek, Leitner Creek, etc.).
7/12/2010
Proposed
 
Monitor and/or Protect Groundwater, Sourcewater
 
Date
Status
WDNR staff should continue to encourage communities to develop wellhead protection plans in the Watershed and the whole basin.
7/1/2010
Proposed
Projects
 
Monitor or Assess Watershed Condition
 
Date
Status
Assessment work should include fish, macroinvertebrate, continuous temperature and habitat data in order to assess the long-term viability of these small streams to withstand extreme flow fluctuations and maintain a viable cold water sport fisheries.
7/12/2010
Proposed
 
Monitor with Baseline Survey
 
Date
Status
Picatee Creek is classified as Class I Trout water in 2008. No bug data on file; FIBI baseline data poor (2000) but stocking survey showed "good" quality (2002). Gather bug data when possible to confirm condition.
7/1/2013
Verify
Projects
 
Rush Creek WatershedWater Plans and PartnershipsRead the Watershed Plan

A watershed plan has been updated for this watershed in 2010 and is now available for review.

Date  2010

Watershed History NoteView Basin Site

Before European settlement, the area was inhabited by many different Indian tribes for more than 2,000 years. The Ho-Chunk people (also known as Winnebago) were the most recent and numerous and many Ho-Chunk still reside in the basin. The basin is rich in archeological sites from early Indian cultures. Many pictographs (paintings) and petroglyphs (carvings) are found in caves of the driftless area. Early Indian settlements have been confirmed along the Mississippi River by the discovery of large concentrations of discarded mussel shells. Some effigy mounds also exist in the basin. After European folks moved into the area, four river towns were established and are still located in the area: Desoto, Ferryville, Lynxville, and Prairie du Chien. Each has a unique history woven together by their common resource the Mississippi. Ferryville derived its name from the little ferry boats. The Julia Hadley was the first ferryboat and was owned by Capt. T. C. Ankeney who gave it his wife's name. Ferryville's first name was "Humblebush". The little Julia Hadley traveled between Ferryville and Lansing, Iowa. The captain's wife decided that by adding "ville" to ferry it would be a very good name for the village. (From: http://www.ferryville.com/HistoryofFerryville.html) After 1837 the vast timber resources of northern Wisconsin were eagerly sought by settlers moving into the mid-Mississippi valley. By 1847 there were more than thirty sawmills on the Wisconsin, Chippewa, and St. Croix river systems, cutting largely Wisconsin white pine. During long winter months, logging crews felled and stacked logs on the frozen rivers. Spring thaws flushed the logs down the stream toward the Mississippi River. Here logs were caught, sorted, scaled, and rafted. Between 1837 and 1901 more than forty million board feet of logs floated down the Great River to sawmills. The largest log raft on the Mississippi was assembled at Lynxville in 1896. It was 270 feet wide and 1550 feet long, containing two and one-fourth million board feet of lumber (from http://www.crawfordcountywi.com).

Date  2010