Impaired Water - Cherry Br (Cherry Branch)
Lafayette County, Wisconsin
0.00 - 7.11
Water is impaired due to one or more pollutants and associated quality impacts.
TMDL approved 2005.Stream Descriptions
For all of the following streams, sedimentation is causing habitat degradation. Sedimentation reduces the suitable
habitat for fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Filling-in of pools reduces the amount of available cover for
juvenile and adult fish. Sedimentation of riffle areas reduces the reproductive success of fish by reducing the exposed
gravel substrate necessary for appropriate spawning conditions. Sedimentation also affects macroinvertebrate biomass
(fish food source) which tends to be lower in areas with predominantly sand substrate than a stream substrate with a
mix of gravel, rubble, and sand. Sedimentation also causes elevated turbidity which reduces the penetration of light
necessary for photosynthesis in aquatic plants, reduces the feeding efficiency of visual predators and filter feeders, and
lowers the respiratory capacity of aquatic invertebrates by clogging their gill surfaces. In addition, other contaminants
such as nutrients (phosphorus) attached to sediment particles can be transported to streams during runoff events.

This water was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; based on 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Further biological monitoring is recommended.
Listing Details
Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
Listed For
Fish and Aquatic Life
Degraded Habitat
Current Use
WWFF - Warmwater Forage Fishery
Listing Status
TMDL Approved
Attainable Use
Coldwater - aquatic life, spawning
Not Applicable
Designated Use
Coldwater - aquatic life, spawning
303(d) ID
Listing Date
Impaired Water Notes
Flowing through east central Lafayette County, this seven mile long stream was once thought to have potential as a trout stream because of good feeder springs located in the drainage area (Surface Waters of Lafayette County). The existing use is a warm water forage fishery. The lower 6 miles is on the state’s list of impaired waters. Sampling conducted in 1980, 1990 and in 2001 indicated that the stream is home to a number of tolerant warm water species including white suckers, creek chubs, fathead minnows, and an occasional carp (Marshall, 1991; Sims, pers.comm). The goals of the priority watershed project were to reduce erosion and turbidity, reduce organic loading, increase aquatic diversity, and improve wildlife habitat. Recent observations indicate turbidity and sediment accumulation continue to be major problems on this stream (Sims, pers. com).

Fisheries surveys conducted in 2007 showed the stream to be a very poor coldwater fishery and only a fair warm water one. The fishery assemblage was dominated by habitat and/or oxygen tolerant species. Sampling conducted at Miller Road and Philippines Road in 2008 - after a year of record rains and river levels - showed the presence of young-of-the-year northern pike, and almost nothing else. It is surmised that adult pike took advantage of high water levels to migrate up from the East Branch Pecatonica River in the spring of 2008 to spawn. Young-of-the-year pike are voracious predators (Becker, 1983) and may have impacted the presence of other forage fish species.

Biologists noted the stream being impacted by agriculture: stream channel entrenchment, row crops with little buffer, banks trampled due to pasturing, and high rates of sedimentation. Macroinvertebrates indicate good water quality and marginal habitat. The environmental quality of Cherry Branch, as indicated by biological measures, appears to have changed little over the past 2 decades and should remain on the 303(d) list. (J Amrhein, 2010)

Impaired Water Notes
Cherry Branch (898500, miles 0-7.11) is part of the Sugar-Pecatonica River Basin and the sediment TMDLs were approved by the USEPA August 24, 2005.