Impaired Water - Snowden Br (Big Patch Creek)
Grant County, Wisconsin
0.00 - 4.99
Water is impaired due to one or more pollutants and associated quality impacts.
On 1998 303d list; also on 2002 trout list (class 2)

2006 303d list changes; applies to entire length 0-5 miles and not just 0-3 miles.

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).
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 - stocked, reproduction
Not Applicable
Designated Use
Coldwater - stocked, reproduction
303(d) ID
Listing Date
Impaired Water Notes
Snowden Branch is a nine-mile stream in Grant County of southwestern Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
(WDNR) placed the first five miles of Snowden Branch on the state’s 2004 303(d) impaired waters list as low priority due to degraded habitat caused by excessive sedimentation. The Clean Water Act and United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) regulations require that each state develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for waters on the Section 303(d) list. The purpose of this TMDL is to identify load allocations and management actions that will help restore the biological integrity of the stream.

Snowden Branch is a tributary stream that flows southwest into Blockhouse
Creek near Dickeyville, Wisconsin. Blockhouse Creek subsequently flows into
the Little Platte River. Snowden Branch has an average gradient of 33 feet per mile and drains an area of approximately 17 square miles. It is listed as having the potential to support a coldwater fishery from its mouth upstream for five miles and as a warm water forage fishery for its remaining length. Snowden Branch is currently listed as supporting a warm water forage fishery for its entire length.

Land use in the watershed is dominated by agriculture; however the geography of the area dictates the types of practices employed. The upper third of the stream resides in rolling hills and is predominantly used for row cropping. The lower two thirds of the stream lie in lowland valleys and are used for pasturing. In many locations throughout the stream, heavy pasturing along shorelines and agricultural cropping practices adjacent to stream banks are causing sediment runoff to the stream. This is especially evident during high precipitation and snowmelt events.

WDNR files dating back to the 1960’s note degraded water quality due to runoff from animal feeding operations that carried manure and sediment to the stream. Although the major problem areas have been addressed, concerns with nonpoint source pollution in the watershed still exist. Water quality data outlining these conditions have been collected by WDNR, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and the Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development Council as part of a River Planning Grant. Biological data have been collected by WDNR and include fish, habitat, and macroinvertebrate surveys between the years of 1968 and 2000. In addition, local citizens have shown considerable interest in the stream’s health. Water Action Volunteers through the WDNR Citizen Monitoring Program have collected stream data related to weather conditions, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, temperature, flow, and biological organisms during the summer months of 2000-2004.

Impaired Water Notes
The sediment TMDL for Snowden Branch was approved by the USEPA September 12, 2006.