Black Earth Creek Monitoring Project SCR02_10 (USGS # BQY43)


Black Earth Creek experienced a major fish kill in 2001. Following the kill, the trout population rebounded, but then has been declining during the last couple years to about half of it's peak density. Managers supect periodic fish kills due to manure runoff, but need to gather water quality data during storm events to confirm this suspicion. This monitoring effort will provide a real time assessment tool that will instantaneously notify resource managers when runoff conditions and chemical parameters threaten the stream with excessive nonpoint source pollution.


The overall objective of the study is to monitor long term water quality trends on BEC and attempt to determine potential water quality parameters that may lead to a decline in fish populations. Data should be collected year round and viewable via the web on a real-time basis. Discharge and water quality data will be published annually in the Wisconsin Water Science Center’s annual data report. Regression equations to predict real-time water quality concentrations from water quality sonde data and water quality samples will be evaluated annually to determine the feasibility of establishing an alert system. In order to describe the water quality parameters that occur along Black Earth Creek, multiple monitoring locations are needed. For this study, four monitoring locations are proposed and can be found on figure 1. Currently there is an operating stream-gaging station (station number 05406460, February 1954 to present) on BEC downstream of South Valley Rd that is collecting water level and discharge data. An additional gage will be installed downstream of the current gage to add the additional continuous water quality monitoring sonde and automated sampling equipment. The second monitoring location includes an installation of a new gage at County Highway P for discharge, automated water quality sampling, and continuous water quality. The third and fourth monitoring locations include the installation of two remote continuous water-quality data sondes for real-time monitoring between County Highway P and the BEC streamgage at Black Earth. Potential sites include Hwy 14 below the sewage treatment plant and Scherbel Rd, below confluence of Garfoot Creek. The principle needs that the monitoring would address, as described by the Wisconsin DNR (WDNR), are to identify water chemistry conditions that may be limiting trout populations. As part of this study, a determination will be made as to the feasibility of establishing an alert system that would use real-time water chemistry parameters to indicate when stream conditions may potentially induce a fish kill. This alert system would notify the WDNR and other organizations to activate management plans to reduce the impact on the fisheries resource. This project collect and analzye water quality data sondes at two locations along BEC to help identify areas of water chemistry changes. These sites would use regressions to estimate the discharge (non-published) between the site locations and the active streamgages located on BEC. Manual EWI samples will be collected during base flow and periods of storm runoff. These samples will be used in the development of the regression analyses to predict real-time constituent concentrations from the water quality sonde data and water quality samples.


Scope of Work for USGS component of Study 1. Install and maintain automated water quality sampling equipment and water quality data sonde at four locations. 2. Monitor and compute annual discharge at the County Highway P location. 3. Collect base flow samples as well as coefficient samples to ensure adequate data coverage and quality. 4. Store and publish data collected by water quality monitors. 5. Provide data access via the web to cooperating partners. 6. Begin development of regression equations to predict real-time water quality concentrations from water quality sonde data and water quality samples.

Related Reports

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

Targeted Monitoring
Watershed Project
Reports and Documents
USGS Gauging Stations for BQY43
Photo taken on summer day in 2011 with the boys at Black Earth Creek.
Power Point Summary for Water year 2011. PPT was part of the description of what has taken place in water year 2011. Findings with the regression analysis as well as a data summary of monitoring events
This is the 6/4/2010 Mid term update to the Black Earth Creek Work Group. Summary of the current data that has been collected and updated analysis.
Black Earth Creek Co-op Monitoring work group meeting. Data analysis, finding, and problems that have been encountered. Regression analysis support.
Activities & Recommendations
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Black Earth Creek