Bad Axe River (BL02) Watershed Planning


Watershed plan update 2010. The Bad Axe River Watershed, which lies entirely within Vernon County, encompasses approximately 200 square miles of steep forested hillsides, ridge top and valley farms. The only farms with sizable tillable acreage in the basin are located on the upper plateau of the Bad Axe River watershed, west of Westby and Viroqua. Th e communities of Viroqua, Westby and Genoa are all found within this watershed. The Bad Axe Watershed’s waters are generally in good condition with three exceptional resource waters in Vernon County: Cox Creek, 5.79 miles, Hornby Creek, 9.59 miles, and Frohock Creek (Creek 15-14), 5.24 miles, and many miles of trout waters throughout the area. Waters recently monitored and found to be in overall good condition include Coe Hollow Creek, Bad Axe River, Springville Branch, Hornby Creek, and Sidie Hollow Creek. Esofea Branch was indicated as possibly fair condition with a need for more monitoring. The only impaired water in this watershed is the Mississippi River, which forms the western edge of the land area.


Priority issues for this watershed include the quantity and quality of stormwater reaching surface waters, and the impacts on surface water temperature from stormwater water runoff . A related but distinct priority is identifying and reducing urban and agricultural nonpoint source pollution in addition to stormwater runoff .


Water Quality Goals for the Watershed Include: • Conducting comprehensive stream surveys on impaired or potentially impaired streams; • Installing in-stream habitat where habitat is a limiting factor for biological condition; and • Continuing work to conduct continuous water temperature monitoring on key streams where temperature may be a limiting factor for biological response.

Study Design

Watershed specified for planning and assessment purposes. Assessment of water quality condition in this respective county will use protocols described in WisCALM of the year of assessment. Minimum assessment work includes biological data (macroinvertebrates, fish indices), chemistry and habitat data. Additional work includes identification of priorities and goals, creating recommendations for actions, and updating narratives for watersheds and waterbodies. Assessments are to be double checked by at least one additional biologist.

Related Reports

Run Project Summary Report
View Umbrella-Projects
View Related-Projects

Water Quality Planning
Targeted Watershed Plans
Reports and Documents
Watershed_OERW_Bad Axe River
Watershed_landscape_fishstations2_Bad Axe River
BL02_General Assessment Results Form
BL02 Historical and Current Wetland Status
Photo 2. Aftermath of floodwater scour of the Runge Hollow Lake Dam emergency spillway on the North Fork of the Bad Axe River. August 23, 2007.
Photo 1. Floodwaters flowing over the emergency concrete spillway of the Springville Dam on the Springville Branch of the Bad Axe River. August 20, 2007.
Assessments and recommendations for the Bad Axe (BL02) Watershed
Activities & Recommendations
Control Streambank Erosion
The South Fork of the Bad Axe River fishery would benefit from the reduction of streambank erosion.
Control Streambank Erosion
The Springville Br Bad Axe River fishery would benefit from the reduction of stream bank erosion
Habitat Restoration - Instream
The North Fork Bad Axe River would benefit from the in stream river restoration.
Habitat Restoration - Instream
The Cox Creek and Frohock Creek fisheries would benefit from improved in-stream habitat.
Lakes Planning Grant
Coe Hollow Creek, Sidie Hollow Lake Grants
Lakes Planning Grant
1641700 North Fork Bad Axe River 1642400 Runge Hollow Lake
Engage Volunteers in Monitoring/Restoration
Coe Hollow Creek, Sidie Hollow
Monitor Fish Community
Coe Hollow Creek, Sidie Hollow Lake Grants
Grant Awarded
Vernon County Shoreland Ordinance Revision
Monitor Watershed (Status,Sources,Impairments)
Grants and projects for fisheries habitat restoration, lake grants, monitoring and shoreland ordinances.