Impaired Water - Syftestad Creek (Syftestad Creek)
Dane County, Wisconsin
0.00 - 5.16
Condition has remained stable; water is not impaired.
Water delisted in 2006 w/ TMDL approved; also on NR104 Phase II list (CW Addition (Marshall))
Delisted under 2006 303d.
Listing Details
Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
Listed For
Current Use
Listing Status
Water Delisted
Attainable Use
Delisted 2006
Designated Use
303(d) ID
Listing Date
Impaired Water Notes
Syftestad Creek is a 5 mile long tributary to Kittleson Valley Creek in southwestern Dane County. This high gradient stream supported coolwater forage species such as mottled sculpin and redside dace, a state species of special concern. Habitat in the stream was degraded for many years by sedimentation caused by agricultural nonpoint source pollution. The stream formerly held a variety of warm water forage species, but was thought to have cold water potential (WDNR, 1985). During the 1970s and 1980s, the Gordon Creek watershed had the highest level of impacts from nonpoint source pollution and animal waste in particular.

Little historic information is available on the stream. Sampling conducted by the department in the mid 1970’s showed a wide variety of warm water forage species (WDNR, 1982). Macroinvertebrate samples taken in 1986 showed “good” water quality.

Since the late 1980’s, land use in the sub-watershed has changed toward less agriculture. The number of cattle farms decreased from 14 down to 8 from 1989 to 2002 and the number of dairy farms decreased from 8 to 2 during that same period of time (Barham, 1998 and Marshall, 2005). Since the inception of the Conservation Reserve Program, 19 percent of the lands within the watershed have been placed in set-aside, thus improving infiltration rates and reducing runoff.

Impaired Water Notes
Fisheries sampling conducted in 2002, 2003 and 2005 showed the stream to have a predominance of coolwater and coldwater species such as mottled sculpin and brook and brown trout. As is typical of coldwater systems, there are few species and the majority of them are intolerant, stenothermal species.

Overall, the water temperatures, stream size, and habitat quality have led fishery managers to believe this stream can be managed successfully for brook trout. Water resources staff have submitted a request to classify this stream as a cold water resource (WDNR, 2005). The data collected over the past 4 years show that Syftestad Creek is meeting its potential as a cold water stream, and should be removed from the state’s list of impaired waters.

Impaired Water Notes
Land use has improved. The number of operating farms in the watershed has decreased. A number of acres within the watershed has been placed in CRP, CREP or has been taken out of production. This has improved base flow, stabilized event flows, reduced streambank erosion and allowed the stream to meet its potential as a cold water resource.