WCR - Stream Evaluation Monitoring 2014 - WCR_06_CMP14

Purpose

Western District proposes to monitor select streams throughout the region to evaluate if they are meeting full potential. Each of these streams has had some form of management activity or BMP applied to them in the past. The failure for these streams to meet their full potential could potentially land them on the impaired waters list. Each stream will have biological, physical and chemical parameters collected to help with the current evaluation. The monitoring activities will be completed by Western District staff; including but not limited to; Kurt Rasmussen, Mark Hazuga, Matt Jacobson and Adam Scheunemann. In addition, Western District water quality staff will be partnering with La Crosse and Eau Claire Fisheries staff to complete this project. LaCrosse Fisheries staff has agreed to provide staff hours and equipment to accomplish these stream evaluations. Eau Claire Fishereis staff agreed to use their funds to monitor 11 sites and Eau Claire Water Resources will evaluate 12 sites. The field work for this project will be completed between May and November of 2014. Database updates and reports will be generated the following year when all data becomes available. The selected streams located in La Crosse, Vernon and Crawford County were all part of a brook trout restoration project that took place in 2000 and 2001. The goal of this project is to evaluate the health of these smaller streams and determine if prior management activities have been successful. Specific sample locations will mirror the monitoring that was done pre and post brook stocking activities. The specific SWIMS locations are not listed in this document and are “to be determined” based on access and historic information. The specific streams and associated WBICs to be surveyed in this project are listed by county below: LACROSSE COUNTY Pammel Creek (WBIC 1649200) VERNON COUNTY Spring Coulee Creek (WBIC 1643400) and Unnamed Stream 29-1 or Genoa Creek (WBIC 1643300) CRAWFORD COUNTY Buck Creek (WBIC 1636200) Leitner Creek (WBIC 1634900) Du Charme Creek (WBIC 1634800) Picatee Creek (WBIC 1634700) Mill Coulee Creek (WBIC 1634700) Data collection will include fish and qualitative habitat surveys, one macroinvertebrate sample per stream (unless a recent sample was collected) and continuous temperature monitoring. Physical and chemical stream characteristics will also be documented during each visit. Wadable Baseline Monitoring protocols will be followed for data collection. Eau Claire Fisheries and Water Quality staff have been evaluating streams in Eau Claire County for the past few years to assess the potential of these streams to support salmonid communities. These streams have been stocked annually with feral Young of Year trout and evaluated each year to determine if brook trout carryover and reproduction is occurring. Trout that carry over into a second year indicate that water quality conditions (temperature, dissolved oxygen) and habitat are adequate for some trout carryover but the lack of reproduction in subsequent years may indicate the lack of spawning habitat. Also, low density of carryover trout would suggest habitat conditions are less than optimal. Water Resources staff recommended three of the streams be added to the 2014 impaired waters list for TP and degraded habitat. Another stream is being evaluated for potential 303d listing in 2016. Fisheries has identified other streams in Eau Claire County to assess their potential to support trout. Both programs will collect data in a consistent manner and share results. Streams and sites monitored for this project include: Travis Creek - 2 sites Hay Creek - 2 sites Thompson Valley Creek - 3 sites Fall Creek - 2 sites Diamond Valley Creek - 3 sites.

Objective

The Streams evaluated in the LaCrosse area will satisfy three main objectives. It will allow us to assess these streams and identify any potential impairments. This project will provide a follow-up evaluation of a brook trout restoration project. By partnering with La Crosse Inland Fisheries staff this project will also strengthen the interagency relationship between the two programs. The selected streams located in La Crosse, Vernon and Crawford County were all part of a brook trout restoration project that took place in 2000 and 2001. All of the streams chosen for the restoration project were smaller watersheds with direct drainage to the Mississippi River. The streams included in this effort were Pammel Creek (WBIC 1649200) in La Crosse County, Spring Coulee Creek (WBIC 1643400) and Unnamed Stream 29-1 or Genoa Creek (WBIC 1643300) in Vernon County, and Buck Creek (WBIC 1636200), Leitner Creek (WBIC 1634900), Du Charme Creek (WBIC 1634800), Picatee Creek (WBIC 1634700) and Mill Coulee Creek (WBIC 1634700) in Crawford County. All of these streams were stocked with Duncan Creek wild brook trout. Prior to stocking fish in each of these streams, fish surveys were conducted and trout were found to be very infrequent or absent from these watersheds. The beauty of this restoration project is the fact that each stream was virtually a clean slate (brown trout free) and they all discharge directly to the Mississippi River. The goal was to have the Mississippi River act as a thermal barrier restricting the migration of brown trout into the system. In addition, many of these streams have had special fishing regulations put on them restricting anglers to artificial lures and the immediate release of all trout species. Follow-up fish surveys were conducted in 2001, 2002 and/or 2003. Most of these streams have not been looked at since 2003. This project is intended to be a follow-up evaluation of the trout restoration project and assessment of these small watersheds. The evaluations will include fish and qualitative habitat surveys, one macroinvertebrate sample per stream (unless a recent sample was collected) and continuous temperature monitoring. Physical and chemical stream characteristics will also be documented during each visit. Wadable Baseline Monitoring protocols will be followed for data collection. Specific sample locations will mirror the monitoring that was done pre and post brook stocking activities. The specific SWIMS locations are not listed in this document and are “to be determined” based on access and historic information. For work planning purposes we are assuming 2 fish and qualitative habitat surveys per stream (16 sites total), 1 macroinvertebrate sample per stream (8 total) and continuous stream monitoring in each stream (8 total). The Eau Claire County stream assessment portion of the project will continue the evaluation of feral brook trout stocking to determine if carryover and reproduction occurs. The absence of one of both of these life stages would indicate degraded conditions and supports the degraded habitat impairment. Water Resources staff intend to use this data to evaluate the potential of these streams to support trout and demonstrate the need to improve habitat conditions so these streams reach their full potential. Department staff feel these streams have been degraded well before monitoring records have been kept and this monitoring along with Regional Reference sites demonstrate the potential of these streams to support trout. Department staff will continue to demonstrate the potential of these streams and work with Eau Claire County LCD and local partners to implement practices to improve habitat and landuse conditions. Data will also be used to address potential impacts from the growing Frac Sand mining industry in the area.

Outcome

Fish and qualitative habitat surveys will be completed at 28 sampling sites on thirteen streams. Eights Streams in the LaCrosse area will also be sampled for macroinvertebrates and continuous water temperature. These streams are lacking recent information and were part of a historic effort to establish reproducing brook trout populations. The Five streams in Eau Claire County will not be sampled for macroinvertebrates but continuous temperature loggers will be deployed to document thermal conditons. The LaCrosse area streams will be surveyed in FY 14 and FY 15 as described below. For FY14 this project will have 2 sampling events (1) recon/temp loggers and (2) fish and habitat. For this work plan I am assuming that half of the fish and habitat surveys will be completed in the each fiscal year. These sampling events would result in a total of four trips into the field in FY14. For FY15 this project will also have 2 sampling events (1) finishing the fish and habitat surveys and (2) macroinvertebrate sampling/temp logger recovery. These sampling events would result in a total of four trips into the field in FY15. The monitoring in the five Eau Claire County streams will be completed in FY15 during the months of July and August. Recon and temp loggers deployment will start in late May or early June and macroinvertebrate samples will be collected in October. Fish and habitat surveys will be conducted throughout the months of June through August. Macroinvertebrate data will be batch uploaded into SWIMS when analysis is complete by CO. Regional/District staff will enter fish and habitat data into the FH Database. Summaries of the data collected will be written and updated into the WATERS database. The summaries will include a write-up of the historic brook trout restoration project and historic monitoring efforts.

Related Reports

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Competitive Projects
Evaluation Monitoring
WCR_06_CMP14
2014
Complete
 
Reports and Documents
WCR_06_CMP14 status 10 13 2016
 
Activities & Recommendations
Fish Management, Access
The specific streams and associated WBICs to be surveyed in this project are listed by county below: LACROSSE COUNTY Pammel Creek (WBIC 1649200) VERNON COUNTY Spring Coulee Creek (WBIC 1643400) and Unnamed Stream 29-1 or Genoa Creek (WBIC 1643300) CRAWFORD COUNTY Buck Creek (WBIC 1636200) Leitner Creek (WBIC 1634900) Du Charme Creek (WBIC 1634800) Picatee Creek (WBIC 1634700) Mill Coulee Creek (WBIC 1634700) Data collection will include fish and qualitative habitat surveys, one macroinvertebrate sample per stream (unless a recent sample was collected) and continuous temperature monitoring. Physical and chemical stream characteristics will also be documented during each visit. Wadable Baseline Monitoring protocols will be followed for data collection. Eau Claire Fisheries and Water Quality staff have been evaluating streams in Eau Claire County for the past few years to assess the potential of these streams to support salmonid communities.
 
Watershed