Sugar Pecatonica Basin TMDL
TMDL Development
Approved TMDL
Implement TMDL
Evaluate for Delisting

Project description

These Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for sediment address sedimentation and degraded habitat impairment conditions in the 20 streams below. These TMDLs identify load allocations and management actions that will restore the biological integrity of these streams. Each stream is addressed individually by these TMDLs, but grouped together because all are located within the Sugar Pecatonica River Basin. These streams share the same watershed characteristics, soils, and types of land use, and are impaired by excessive sedimentation.

The Sugar Pecatonica River Basin is located in southern Wisconsin with a drainage basin of approximately 1,832 square miles in Dane, Rock, Lafayette, Green, and Iowa counties, and another 796 square miles in northern Illinois. Larger municipalities in the Wisconsin basin include Verona, Monroe, Mt. Horeb, Dodgeville, Darlington, parts of Fitchburg, and parts of Madison. The Sugar-Pecatonica Basin also has some of the most productive farmland in Wisconsin. Most of the agricultural activities in the basin are dairy farming, cash cropping, and livestock feeder operations.

Project goals

The goal of each of these TMDLs is to re-establish a balanced and sustainable aquatic community consistent with the water quality standards use designation. For a number of streams this community will be a cold water community including trout. At a minimum, these streams should be a class II trout fishery. Other streams will support a warm water sport fishery. Various measures, such as fish and macroinvertebrate (aquatic insect) indices will be used to assess whether the goal for each stream will be met. The total load capacity is identified based on meeting these goals.

Contacts

Jim Amrhein, Southern District Biologist
Jean Unmuth, Biologist
Andy Morton, Supervisor
Amy Garbe, Wastewater Specialist
Runoff Management Coordinator (vacant)
Eric Rortvedt, Stormwater Specialist

Project plan

No new or additional enforcement authorities are provided under these TMDLs. However, future enforcement of
nonpoint source performance standards and prohibitions will likely take place in the watersheds of these impaired
waters. It is also anticipated that regulatory agricultural and non-agricultural performance standards and performance
standards called for in Wisconsin Statutes will be implemented in the watershed for these impaired waters. For
example, any new development occurring in these watersheds will need to reduce sediment erosion by 80% per NR
216 and NR 151 requirements. Administrative rules passed by the Natural Resources Board identify that watersheds
with impaired waters will have the highest priority for enforcement. In addition to the implementation of enforceable
nonpoint source performance standards, there are a number of voluntary programs that will assist in implementing
these TMDLs.

To ensure the reduction goals of these TMDLs are attained several management measures must be implemented or
maintained. Many of these measures require local and county participation to properly implement. These measures
include:


  • Minimize and eliminate the grazing of cattle on the wooded hill slopes. Areas that are still adversely
    impacted from previous grazing operations should be stabilized with vegetation.

  • Efforts to enroll areas near channels and create riparian buffers through the use of the Conservation
    Reserve Enhancement Program need to be continued and areas already enrolled need to be kept in
    enrollment.

  • Although not counted in the sediment reduction goals, stream banks with active erosion can be large
    sources of sediment and thus need to be stabilized. Cattle need to be fenced out of channels and off
    channel banks. In areas where cattle need to cross, stable crossings need to be maintained.

  • Efforts to promote conservation tillage need to continue. As the dairy rotations give way to cash cropping
    efforts need to concentrate on ensuring no-till operations for corn-soybean rotations.

  • Areas with slopes greater than a C-slope (greater than 12%) that are currently being cropped should be
    encouraged into permanent pasture.

Recent events

Updates to the TMDL implementation will be posted here as they are available.

Partners, teams

Dane County, Green County, Lafayette County, and Iowa County
University of Wisconsin Extension
USGS
Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection
Upper Sugar River Watershed Association

Final TMDL report

These Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for sediment address sedimentation and degraded habitat impairment
conditions in the above 20 streams. These TMDLs identify load allocations and management actions that will restore
the biological integrity of these streams. Each stream is addressed individually by these TMDLs, but grouped together
because all are located within the Sugar Pecatonica River Basin.1 These streams share the same watershed
characteristics, soils, and types of land use, and are impaired by excessive sedimentation. All of the streams are listed
as a high priority on the 2004 303(d) list and the impaired segments are listed on. Final TMDL

Public comments

These TMDLs were subject to review for 30 days from May 3, 2005 through June 3, 2005. On May 3, 2005 a news
release was sent to over 800 entities including: newspapers, television stations, radio stations, interest groups, and
interested individuals. The news release indicated the public comment period and how to obtain copies of the public
notice and draft TMDL. The news release, public notice and draft TMDL were also placed on the Wisconsin DNR?s
website. In addition, hard copies of the public notice and the draft TMDL were sent to: Cottonwood Dairy LLC on
Cherry Branch, Hollandale Wastewater Treatment Facility on Dodge Branch, Dodgeville Wastewater Treatment
Facility (also on Dodge Branch) and county conservationists in all four counties represented in these TMDLs. One
written comment was received. Two verbal comments were received to verify TMDL procedures on some of the
streams.

USEPA decision document

The USEPA Decision Document for approval of the Sugar Pecatonica TMDL is located here:
USEPA Decision Document

Technical memos

Resource conditions


The Sugar Pecatonica River Basin lies in the temperate continental zone, which is characterized by winters that are cold and snowy and summers that are mostly warm with periods of hot and humid conditions. Average annual precipitation for the region is about 32 inches of rain and melted snow; the majority falling in the form of thunderstorms during the growing seasons (May-September). Most runoff occurs in February, March, and April when the land surface is frozen and soil moisture is highest. The watershed lies in the driftless area of Wisconsin, an area not covered by the last glacier. This landscape is shaped largely by the bedrock surface in this region; with soils that are generally moderately to excessively well drained that have a high mineral and low organic matter content. An upland plateau dissected by a maze of steep ridges, deep narrow valleys, and numerous spring-fed streams generally characterizes topography in the watershed. The ridge and valley topography of the area is conducive to fast runoff and often results in flash flooding as steep gradient feeder streams deliver runoff water to the Sugar and Pecatonica Rivers.

Farming occurs on the ridgetops (which can result in severe erosion) or in the stream valleys with the region's steep hillsides often left wooded. Wetlands usually only occur along stream and river margins. While there are some wetland complexes along the Pecatonica and Sugar rivers, the percentage of wetland to upland areas in the basin is significantly less than for basins outside the driftless region. For more information on a description of the population, soils, topography, geology, and other physical characteristics of the region, refer to Chapter 2 of the Nonpoint Source Control Plan for the Lower East Branch Pecatonica River Priority Watershed Project or The Sugar Pecatonica Basin Homepage at. http://dnr.wi.gov/water/basin/gpsp/

Priority waters for restoration

For all of the following streams, sedimentation is causing habitat degradation. Sedimentation reduces the suitable
habitat for fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Filling-in of pools reduces the amount of available cover for
juvenile and adult fish. Sedimentation of riffle areas reduces the reproductive success of fish by reducing the exposed
gravel substrate necessary for appropriate spawning conditions. Sedimentation also affects macroinvertebrate biomass
(fish food source) which tends to be lower in areas with predominantly sand substrate than a stream substrate with a
mix of gravel, rubble, and sand. Sedimentation also causes elevated turbidity which reduces the penetration of light
necessary for photosynthesis in aquatic plants, reduces the feeding efficiency of visual predators and filter feeders, and
lowers the respiratory capacity of aquatic invertebrates by clogging their gill surfaces. In addition, other contaminants
such as nutrients (phosphorus) attached to sediment particles can be transported to streams during runoff events.
The following is a stream by stream description, based on information obtained from WDNR files.

German Valley Branch
German Valley Branch is a seven-mile spring fed stream in Dane County on the south slope of Military Ridge that
joins Big Spring Creek (also known as Blue Mounds Branch) to form Gordon Creek. Its designated use has not been
codified. Although this entire stream is on the state?s list of impaired waters due to habitat degradation caused by
heavy sedimentation, German Valley has shown signs of improvement over the last several years, and is now
considered to be meeting its designated use. As such, German Valley Branch, along with Syftestad Creek, serve as a
reference stream for these TMDLs.

Previously, under its impaired condition, German Valley Branch only supported a warm water forage fishery. Recent
monitoring indicates that the stream now supports a cold water fish community including abundant mottled sculpin,
numerous brown trout that migrate upstream from Gordon Creek and American brook lamprey. German Valley Creek
is currently managed as a Class II trout stream but fisheries and water quality reclassification submittals are pending
approval. Surveys conducted in 2001 and 2002 showed water temperatures that stayed below 75?F and dissolved
oxygen stayed above 6.0 mg/l, even during rain events. Fish shocking conducted in that same year at CTH Z showed
several year classes of brown trout as well as the presence of other cold water species such as mottled sculpin and
American brook lamprey. In conjunction with biological sampling data, WDNR biologists made visual observations in
2002 regarding the stream. They noted that the bottom consisted of rock and rubble with areas of sediment deposition,
and that the stream was narrow. According to Department habitat ratings, these observations suggest fair habitat. The
Cold Water Index of Biotic Integrity (CWIBI) for this survey was 50, which indicates a ?fair? assemblage of coldwater
species. This improvement may be due to the large enrollment of upstream lands in the Conservation Reserve Program
(CRP). There is an ongoing project on German Valley Branch to rehabilitate the stream corridor to mitigate the effects
of sediment from nonpoint sources and improve fish habitat. Such efforts will continue through 2005.

Henry Creek
Henry Creek is a one-mile long stream located in southwestern Dane County in the Upper Sugar River watershed. This
spring-fed tributary flows to the southwest and joins the Sugar River near the town of Basco. The entire stream is
currently listed on the 303(d) list for degraded habitat resulting from sedimentation from non-point sources. However,
in 1999, an Environmental Quality Improvement Program project was completed near the headwaters, which have
improved the stream quality. In 2002, a habitat evaluation was conducted near the HWY 69 bridge crossing. Width to
depth ratios for this segment of the stream were about 5:1, which is considered to be ?excellent? and is a
demonstration of the improved habitat quality. However, sedimentation is still a concern as the habitat survey found
the substrate to be composed primarily of fine sediment (greater than 60%) which is considered to be ?poor? according
to WDNR habitat rating guidelines.

A 2002 fish survey found six brown trout (2.0 ? 8.2 inches) and the presence of mottled sculpin and brook stickleback,
both of which are considered cool-water indicators. The CWIBI score from this survey was 50 indicating ?fair? biotic
integrity. In 2002 a macroinvertebrate sample was taken, yielding an HBI score of 3.967, suggesting ?very good?
water quality with possible slight organic pollution. Currently, Henry Creek supports a warm water forage fishery, but
has the potential to become a cold water fishery.

Pleasant Valley Branch
Pleasant Valley Branch is a five-mile long stream located in southwestern Dane County. It is part of the Gordon Creek
watershed and empties into Kittleson Valley Creek southeast of Daleyville. Currently, Pleasant Valley Branch
supports a warm water forage fishery, however, the presence of brown trout and mottled sculpin demonstrate this
stream?s potential to support a cold water fishery. Pleasant Valley Branch is currently listed on the 303(d) list for
degraded habitat due to sedimentation from overgrazing and a lack of habitat. However, several streambank
stabilization and habitat restoration projects are currently underway in the stream.

In 2003, a section of Pleasant Valley Branch, starting at the northern CTH H crossing, and extending about ? mile
down stream, had stream bank work done as part of a Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP) grant. Prior to
this work, one brown trout and a few specimens of forage fish were found in this section of stream. The stream was
wide, shallow, and the bottom was composed primarily of sand and silt. A 2004 post-rehabilitation habitat evaluation
of this project area showed marginal silt deposition (22%), with the majority of the substrate being composed of gravel
or coarser material (59%). These findings, coupled with width to depth ratios of about 7:1, suggest ?good? habitat
quality for this section of rehabilitated stream. Also, three additional fish surveys were conducted to observe the
effects of the restoration project. Two survey sites were replicates from the previous year in the area that had been
restored and found 34 brown trout (2.5 - 13.9 inches), three brook trout (10.0 - 10.9 inches), 11 black crappie (6.6 - 7.3
inches), and four minnow and forage species.

A third section, downstream of where the restoration was to occur, found 29 brown trout (6.1 - 13.7 inches) and five
other forage and minnow species, with white sucker and creek chub being the most abundant. Additional lands in the
watershed have been enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and another section of stream
corridor is scheduled for rehabilitation work in 2005 under the state?s Targeted Runoff Management Program.

Syftestad Creek
Syftestad Creek is a five-mile stream in southwest Dane County that serves as a tributary to Kittleson Valley Creek.
Its designated use has not been codified. Although this entire stream is on the state?s list of impaired waters due to
habitat degradation caused by heavy sedimentation, Syftestad Creek has shown signs of improvement over the last
several years, and is now considered to be meeting its designated use. As such, Syftestad Creek, along with German
Valley Branch, serve as a reference stream for these TMDLs.

Previously, under its impaired condition, Syftestad Creek only supported a warm water forage fishery. WDNR aquatic
biologists observed that the stream bottom had extensive (greater than 60% silt and clay) fines in riffles and runs.
According to the WDNR habitat ratings, this is considered poor habitat. A macroinvertebrate assessment conducted in
2002 indicates "excellent" water quality (HBI = 3.260) indicating adequate dissolved oxygen levels.
Recent monitoring indicates that the stream now supports a cold water fish community including evidence of abundant
mottled sculpin and redside dace. Redside dace is a state species of special concern and another coolwater indicator of
a coolwater fish community. While much of the upper half of the stream remains in agriculture many acres have been
enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program over the last decade. Additionally, the lower half of the stream is
buffered by land, which has been set aside or returned to prairie by private landowners. Because of improved land
management practices in the watershed, the DNR experimented with a brook trout reintroduction project. Results
from a fall, 2004 survey are promising as they show carryover of brook trout from the previous year.

Argus School Branch
Argus School Branch is a two-mile cold water stream that flows southwesterly through the driftless area to Bushnell
Creek. While it supporting warm water sport fish, the lower portion of the creek can likely support a Class II trout
fishery. WDNR aquatic biologists indicate that greater than 50% of the substrate is covered in silt. Based on the
WDNR habitat rating guidelines, greater than 50% fine sediment accumulation indicates fair to poor habitat quality.
Brown trout are currently stocked in the lower portion of the stream. Fish monitoring data collected in 2002 found
creek chubs and mottled sculpin, and rated the biotic integrity of this stream as "fair" (IBI = 50). It is listed on the
303(d) list because over grazing and streambank degradation leading to higher temperatures in the stream, excessive
sedimentation and habitat destruction. WDNR staff believe excessive sedimentation has caused the stream to widen
and become shallower to a level (width: depth 20:1) considered to be of only "fair" habitat quality. Some smaller
farms are going out of business, which inadvertently may help to improve the quality of the stream, as the level of over
grazing will decrease.

Braezel?s Branch
Braezel?s Branch Creek is a seven-mile stream in Green County that flows westward into Lafayette County where it
converges with the Lower East Branch Pecatonica River. The lower four miles of the stream are on the 303(d) list
because of habitat degradation and sedimentation from non-point source pollution. This stream currently supports a
warm water forage fishery, but has the potential to support a cold-water fish community. A fish shocking survey
conducted in 1990 showed the presence of tolerant and very tolerant warm water forage species. An additional fish
survey conducted in 2002 at Hwy 81 found 25 brown trout ranging between 4.6-16.7 inches in length, as well as
several other tolerant species. The CWIBI score was 20, rating the stream integrity as poor. Macroinvertebrate
sampling conducted in 1990 at Hwy 81 indicated ?very good? water quality although the streambank substrate was
predominantly sand with little gravel or rock, and streambank erosion had reduced habitat. At an upstream segment, a
WDNR aquatic biologist observed moderate levels of fine sediment (60% sand, 40% silt) with a width: depth ratio of 10:1. According to WDNR habitat ratings, both observations rate the habitat as fair. In the judgement of WDNR
staff, the downstream segment should have a higher percentage of fine sediments covering the substrate, which should
negatively impact the downstream habitat rating. Past resource objectives were to improve wildlife habitat, to protect
and restore wetlands, and to reduce bank erosion. Current data is not sufficient to determine overall potential of this
stream. While mitigation of erosion and improvement in habitat of this stream is desirable, further monitoring is
required to determine the realistic potential for this stream.

Buckskin School Creek
Buckskin School Creek is located in western Green County and is part of the Jordan and Skinner Creek watersheds.
The six-mile long stream flows to the south, merging with Bushnell Creek northwest of Monroe to form Skinner
Creek. The entire stream is listed on the 303(d) list for degraded habitat resulting from sedimentation from
agricultural non-point source pollution and stream bank erosion. In 2004, a qualitative habitat stream survey was
performed at Buckskin Road, which yielded a score of 191, suggesting ?fair? habitat quality. A more thorough habitat
evaluation was conducted near the mouth of the stream, at the CTH J crossing, and found that habitat quality for this
section of the stream also was ?fair? based on substrate composition (50% fines). This is consistent with the land use
as the lower half of the stream runs through heavily pastured farmland, subject to sedimentation, while the upper half
flows through a fairly well buffered corridor with very little agriculture.

A 2004 fish survey at CTH J found nine minnow species, with southern redbelly dace and central stonerollers being
the most abundant. Sixteen brassy minnows, a cool-water indicator, were found during the survey as well. Buckskin
School Creek currently supports a warm water forage fishery, but it is believed to have the potential to become a Class
II trout stream. However, current data is not sufficient to determine overall potential of this stream. While mitigation
of erosion and improvement in habitat of this stream is desirable, further monitoring is required to determine the
realistic potential for this stream.

Burgy Creek
Burgy Creek is a ten-mile tributary in the Little Sugar watershed that flows easterly into the West Branch Little Sugar
River. The Burgy Creek sub-watershed encompasses twenty-four square miles and is predominantly agricultural. The
stream is currently managed as a warm water forage fishery, and contains a diverse forage fishery including cold water
indicator species such as mottled sculpin and brook trout. These species indicate the creek?s potential to become a
class II cold water trout stream. Fish surveys performed in 2002 at two segments of the stream both produced an
CWIBI score of 20, which rates this creek?s coldwater biotic integrity as poor. Stream channel ditching, runoff from
farm fields, and streambank grazing have degraded the habitat in the stream. Consequently, the entire stream length is
listed as impaired with sediment as the primary non-point source pollutant. As part of a structured habitat survey in
2002, WDNR aquatic biologists observed that the stream bottom had extensive (greater than 60% silt and clay) fines in
riffles and runs. According to the WDNR habitat ratings, this is considered poor habitat.

A 2002 Macroinvertebrate survey produced an HBI score of 4.788, which indicates ?good? water quality with some organic pollution. Overall, this stream ranks high on the non-point source priority list, and is on the state?s list of Exceptional Resource Waters. During the 2002 survey, a redside dace (state species of concern) was found and is the first report of this species in the stream. The monitoring conducted in 2002 confirms that this stream could respond favorably to management actions aimed at reducing non-point source pollution and improving habitat.

Dougherty Creek
Dougherty Creek is a sixteen-mile long stream that currently exists as a Class II trout stream for much of its length.
Only the upper two miles are on the state?s list of impaired waters because of degraded habitat due to sedimentation,
phosphorous, and BOD from non-point source pollution. Because of its length, the stream flows through a variety of
land uses including small patches of forest, cropland, and wetland, but also through pasture where it suffers severe
bank erosion. The stream bottom above Apple Grove Road is primarily gravel. Below this area, silt becomes more
prevalent and the water more turbid. While most of the stream is managed for brown trout, some rainbow trout have
been stocked and show up in stream surveys. Tolerant, warm water forage species are common in the stream
including white sucker, common shiner, and creek chub. Mottled sculpin and other intolerant species are found in low
numbers. As part of a structured habitat survey in 2002, Department staff found that the stream has extensive (79% silt
and clay) fines covering the substrate. According to the Department?s habitat rating guidelines, this is considered poor
habitat. Past resource objectives were to improve the trout fishery, reduce organic loading and erosion, to increase
aquatic diversity, and to improve wildlife habitat. There have been some improvements to the stream habitat, and
certain areas of the riparian corridor have been returned to prairie. Land use in the upper 2 miles of stream has
improved. Monitoring of this section should be conducted to determine contemporary conditions.

Jockey Hollow Creek
This two-mile stream originates in western Green County and flows westward where it feeds into Trotter Branch just
inside the Lafayette County line. The stream is on the state's list of impaired waters because it suffers from poor
habitat, low flow, channel straightening, and sediment is the primary non-point source pollutant. Sampling conducted
in 1985 and 1990 showed only the presence of brook stickleback. The stream has the potential to be a warm water
forage fishery, but currently supports limited forage fish. It has not been monitored in recent years.

Legler School Branch
Legler School Branch is a nine-mile spring fed stream in the Little Sugar River watershed that flows easterly into the
Little Sugar River near New Glarus, WI. The Legler School Branch sub-watershed is 4 square miles and is used
primarily for agriculture. The entire stream is listed on the 303(d) list due to degraded habitat, with sediment as the
primary nonpoint source pollutant. The 1985 Surface Waters of Green County reported that bank cover was generally
good and erosion was only a problem during periods of heavy runoff. In 2001, it was noted that there were signs of
severe bank erosion downstream from Legler Valley Road and cows had access to the stream. A structured habitat
survey completed upstream from the 2nd Street bridge crossing in 2004 shows the stream?s bottom consists of greater
than 60 percent fine sediments (68 percent silt and clay) in pools, riffles, and runs. According to WDNR habitat rating
guidelines this is considered poor habitat. In addition, a WDNR aquatic biologist made visual observations of the
stream, noting that it was wide and shallow with highly eroded banks. Department staffs believe that sediment
deposition has caused the stream to widen and become shallower to the point that it is considered poor habitat.

Legler School Branch currently supports a limited forage fishery with the potential to support a warm water forage fishery or perhaps a cold water fishery. The fishery has been shown to be severely limited with one 2001 survey finding
one fathead minnow in an upstream location. Interestingly, a fish survey completed at a downstream location in 2004
found four brown trout ranging from 8.7-11.7 inches in length, one largemouth bass, and a large number of cold water
indicator species such as mottled sculpin and brook stickleback. The CWIBI score for this segment of the stream was
50, which indicates ?fair? coldwater biotic integrity. The abundance of cool-water species and the consequently high
IBI score at this location could be due to the cool and wet nature of the summer when the survey was performed.
Further fish, habitat, and temperature monitoring would be required to accurately determine the thermal regime of this
stream.

Pioneer Valley Creek
This five-mile stream runs through a highly pastured watershed, which results in a fairly poor quality stream with
scarce bank cover and heavy erosion. Only small numbers of forage species are present in the stream. It is on the
state's list of impaired (303d) waters due to sediment as the non-point source pollutant and degraded habitat as the
impairment. Currently, this is a limited forage fishery but is listed to potentially be a warm water forage fishery. There
are no HBI and IBI scores available, as this stream has not been monitored in recent years.

Prairie Brook Creek
This two-mile long creek originates in western Green County and flows westward to Dougherty Creek. Prairie Brook
Creek runs primarily through pasture and there is a considerable amount of bank erosion. However, the steep gradient
of the stream maintains a sandy bottom with small amounts of gravel and cobble, as well as "good" width:depth ratio
(8:1). A macroinvertebrate assessment in 1990 described the water quality of this stream as "very good" with slight
organic pollution (HBI = 3.636). Prairie Brook is currently classified as Class III trout stream (no evidence of natural
reproduction) but is potentially a Class II. Fish monitoring conducted in 2002 recovered only two species (creek chub and brook stickleback) and a cold water index of biotic integrity was calculated as "poor". Habitat is very limited and
fencing to prevent over pasturing would help improve the stream corridor.

Searles Creek
This nine-mile, low gradient stream flows eastward and joins the Sugar River at the north end of Decatur Lake. The
creek's watershed is a broad, flat-bottomed basin, which is heavily tilled for crops. A great deal of the stream has been
straightened because of ditching. Trees and vegetation along the shore buffer some areas, while other areas are grazed
right down to the shoreline. A wetland area just upstream from the confluence with Decatur Lake provides habitat for
wildlife. The existing use as a warm water sport fishery is mainly due to fish species migrating upstream from Decatur
Lake seeking better habitat than which can be found in the lake itself. As part of a structured habitat survey in 2002,
WDNR aquatic biologists observed that the stream bottom had extensive (greater than 60% silt and clay) fines in
riffles and runs. According to the WDNR habitat ratings, this is considered poor habitat. A 2002 fish assessment at
CTH F showed a variety of warm water forage species dominated by bluntnose minnow. The results from a 2002
macroinvertebrate assessment describes this stream as "good" water quality with some organic pollution (HBI =
5.089). Searles Creek is listed on the state's list of impaired (303d) waters because of habitat degradation caused by
primarily sedimentation.

Silver School Branch
Silver School Branch is located in northern Green County and is part of the Little Sugar River watershed. This fourmile
long stream flows to the south through predominantly agricultural land and drains into the Little Sugar River
southeast of Monticello. The lower three miles of Silver School Branch are currently listed on the 303 (d) list for
degraded habitat from sedimentation due to non-point source pollution. A fish survey from 1974 found one northern
pike and 10 other forage and minnow species, with creek chub and southern redbelly dace being the most common
seen, however, the stream has not been monitored in recent years. Silver School Branch is currently listed as a warm
water forage fishery, but is believed to have the potential to become a cold water fishery. However, current data is not
sufficient to determine overall potential of this stream. While mitigation of erosion and improvement in habitat of this
stream is desirable, further monitoring is required to determine the realistic potential for this stream.

Spring Creek
Spring Creek is located in southeastern Green County and is part of the Lower Sugar River watershed. Originating
south of Juda, it flows to the east for ten miles before it drains into the Sugar River, south of Brodhead. Spring Creek
flows mainly through agricultural land, and much of the stream length had been ditched for cropland drainage. The
lower ten miles of the stream are currently listed on the 303(d) list for degraded habitat due to sedimentation from nonpoint sources. A habitat evaluation was conducted above the CTH G bridge crossing in 2002 and found that about 48% of the substrate in the surveyed section was composed of fine sediment, which is considered to be ?fair? habitat based on the Department?s habitat rating guidelines. Width to depth ratios averaged 16:1 for this segment of the stream, which is also considered to be ?fair? habitat quality.

A 2002 fish survey, about three miles upstream of where Spring Creek meets the Sugar River, found one brown trout
(25.5 inches) two northern pike (15.5, 21.5 inches) and 16 other minnow and forage species, of which, white sucker
and common shiner were most abundant. Two brassy minnows, which are cool-water indicators, were also seen
during this survey. The HBI score, based on a macroinvertebrate sample taken in 2002, was 5.422, which suggests
?good? water quality with some organic pollution. Currently, Spring Creek is listed as a warm water forage fishery;
however, it has the potential to become a warm water sport fishery. Buffer strips and bank stabilization would
enhance this stream.

Twin Grove Branch
Twin Grove Branch is located in southern Green County and is part of the Honey and Richland Creek watersheds.
Originating just east of the town of Twin Grove, the six-mile long stream flows westward and empties into Richland
Creek. The entire length of Twin Grove Branch is currently listed on the 303(d) list for degraded habitat resulting
from sedimentation due to agricultural non-point source pollution. Fish surveys from 1974 and 1976 found 17 species
of forage and minnow species between two different locations near the mouth of the stream. The most abundant
species found were central stonerollers, white sucker, and creek chub; however, the stream has not been monitored in
recent years. Twin Grove Branch currently supports a warm water forage fishery, but is believed to have the potential
to become a warm water sport fishery.

Apple Branch
Apple Branch Creek is a seven-mile spring fed trout stream in the lower east Pecatonica River watershed that flows
easterly into Whiteside Creek, southwest of Argyle, WI. The upper three miles of the stream (mile 4 to mile 6.8) are
listed as impaired on the 303(d) list due to degraded habitat and temperature. Sediment is the primary non-point source
pollutant and in 1991, poor trout survival, bank erosion, turbidity, and high temperatures were noted as causes of
impairment. The stream currently supports a warm water forage fishery, but has the potential to support a cold water
fish community. The 1967 Surface Waters of Lafayette County stated that the stream, ?abounds with forage fishes of
varied species? and that, ?rainbow and brown trout are common and brook trout are present?. In 1980, it was
demonstrated that Apple Branch supported low numbers of brown trout and that natural reproduction was unlikely.

A 2001 comprehensive fish survey downstream from the impaired segment showed the presence of carp, bigmouth
buffalo, white suckers, and tolerant warm water forage fish, resembling a degraded system. Another 2001 downstream
fish survey found an abundance of tolerant warm water forage fish, but also noted the presence of mottled sculpin, a
cool-water indicator species. The lower part of Apple Branch was recently upgraded to a Class II trout fishery.
In 1990, two macroinvertebrate surveys taken at Spore Road and Apple Grove Church Road, downstream of the
impaired segment, produced scores of 4.639 and 4.54, which indicate ?good? water quality with some organic
pollution. In addition to biological surveys, Department biologists made visual observations that at Spore Road the
stream had significant silt (70%) covering the substrate. According to the Department?s habitat rating guidelines this
is considered poor. Department staffs believe that sediment deposition has caused the stream to widen and become
shallower to a level (width: depth 15:1) where it is considered a moderately wide and shallow stream with fair habitat.
Past resource objectives were to improve trout fisheries and stream habitat, reduce erosion by greater than 50%, reduce organic loading, and improve wildlife habitat. Most recent survey data may indicate that the system is not meeting these objectives, and a more comprehensive survey looking at habitat and macroinvertebrates is needed.

Cherry Branch
Cherry Branch is a seven-mile stream that flows through east central Lafayette County. The 1967 Surface Waters of
Lafayette County noted it was once thought to have potential as a trout stream because of good feeder springs located
in the drainage area. Currently, Cherry Branch exists as a warm water forage fishery. The lower six miles of this
stream are on the 303(d) list because of habitat degradation and sedimentation from non-point source pollution. Fish
surveys conducted in 1980, 1990, and in 2001 indicate that the stream is home to a number of tolerant warm water
species including white suckers, creek chubs, fathead minnows, and an occasional carp. One fish survey conducted in
2001 at Philippine Rd found no fish present, but only frogs and crayfish. A macroinvertebrate sampling conducted at
Hwy N in 1990 produced an HBI of 4.153, which indicates ?very good? water quality with possible slight organic
pollution.

In conjunction with biological sampling of the stream, WDNR aquatic biologists made visual observations
that the stream bottom was mostly clay and silt (about 50 percent) and sediment accumulation continued to be a major
problem in the stream. It was also noted that sediment deposition in some areas has caused the stream to become wide
and shallow (width: depth 20:1). According to WDNR habitat ratings, both observations rate the habitat as fair.
Mitigation of erosion and improvement in habitat of this stream is undoubtedly desirable, but additional monitoring is
required to confirm the potential for this stream.

Silver Spring Creek
Silver Spring Creek is located in southeastern Lafayette County and is part of the Lower Pecatonica River watershed.
Originating south of the town of Lamont, the stream flows five miles south and empties into the Pecatonica River
north of Gratiot. All five miles of Silver Spring Creek are currently listed on the 303(d) list due to degraded habitat
resulting from sedimentation from non-point source pollution. A 2001 fish survey from the Silver Spring Creek Rd.
crossing found seven brown trout (3.0 ? 14.5 inches) and eight other minnow and forage species, including the
presence of brook stickleback, a cool-water indicator. Silver Spring Creek?s current use is as a warm water forage
fishery, but the lower 3.9 miles are classified as a Class II trout fishery.

Dodge Branch
Dodge Branch is a twenty-two mile long; spring fed tributary originating in central Iowa County, just north of
Dodgeville. The stream is part of the Upper East Branch Pecatonica River watershed, and flows southeast, draining
into the East Branch of the Pecatonica River near Hollandale. Dodge Branch is separated into three segments on the
303(d) list for modeling purposes. However, based on a review of designated uses, Dodge Branch contains four
segments and all have degraded habitat due to sedimentation. The upper mile (miles 21-22) of the stream is codified
as a limited forage fishery. This section receives wastewater discharge from Dodgeville, and is impacted by urban
non-point source pollution.

Stream miles 17 through 21 are codified as a warm water sport fishery. Four fish surveys were conducted in this
portion of the stream in 2001. Between the four surveys, 14 brown trout, three channel catfish, and 20 forage and
minnow species were seen. The most abundant forage species were white sucker, central stoneroller, and creek chub.
Habitat surveys in this portion of the stream found that approximately 70% of the substrate was composed of gravel or
coarser material which suggests �good� habitat quality.

Stream miles 10 through 17 are codified as a cold-water fishery. Although this section of the stream receives cold
water from some tributaries, urban non-point source pollution, streambank pasturing, and hydraulic manipulation
negatively affect the water quality. One habitat evaluation was performed in 2001 in the section of stream codified as a
cold water fishery. The survey found that about 75% of the stream bottom was composed of gravel or coarser
material, and about 15% was composed of silt, indicating �good� habitat quality for this section of the stream. One
fish survey was conducted in this section, also in 2001. Warm water forage species such as creek chub and white
sucker were most common, and only one brown trout was found, indicating �poor� biotic integrity for a cold-water
stream.

The lowest section of this stream, miles 0-10, is codified as a warm water sport fishery. Discharge from Hollandale�s
municipal wastewater treatment facility, stream bank pasturing, and non-point source pollution all contribute to the
turbid water seen in this section of the stream. In 2004, three sites on the lower portion of Dodge Branch, downstream
of Jonesdale, underwent IBI surveys. Two brown trout and one small mouth bass were found, in addition to 12 forage
and minnow species, with the most abundant being common shiner and white sucker.

Interactive viewers

  • Restoration Viewer This interactive webmapping application displays mapping products specifically for TMDL implementation.
  • Surface Water Data Viewer The Surface Water Data Viewer is a generalized interactive mapping application that displays a wide variety of water related datasets.
  • Water Condition Viewer The Water Condition Viewer provides monitoring, assessments, and management datasets for water quality.

GIS maps

GIS map of the TMDL sites in Wisconsin
Wisconsin's Total Maximum Daily Loads

Waters in project

German Valley Branch
Pioneer Valley Creek
Henry Creek
Prairie Brook
Pleasant Valley Branch
Searles Creek
Syftestad Creek
Silver School Branch
Argus School Branch
Spring Creek
Braezels Branch
Twin Grove Branch
Buckskin School Branch
Apple Branch
Burgy Creek
Cherry Branch
Dougherty Creek
Dodge Branch
Jockey Hollow Creek
Silver Spring Creek
Legler School Branch

Project teams

DNR staff and management in Southern District work closely with local and regional agencies, University partners, land owners and businesses to identify opportunities for matching land restoration practices with available grants or other funds.

About TMDLs

South Fork Eau Claire River, Lisa HelmuthWisconsin's TMDL Program is working on a variety of flyers and handouts to support a common understanding of the state's TMDL process and requirements. Overview of TMDLs [TMDL Page]

What is a TMDL [PDF]
A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards. A waterway that exceeds standards is often no longer suitable for its designated uses, such as wildlife habitat, fishing, or other recreational activities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)[PDF]
"Why do we need to create TMDLs?", "What is an "impaired water"?", and "How is a TMDL implemented?"

Webinars

DNR Water Webinars [Go to Webinar Page]

Trading and Adaptive Management
UW Extension Webinars on Adaptive Mangement [exit DNR]

Water Quality Trading & Adaptive Management
The Basics || PDF Format
Finding, Quantifying Credits || PDF Format
Developing a Plan || PDF Format
Implementing and Verifying Offsets || PDF Format

Understanding Phosphorus Rules & Management Options
Adaptive Management Basics [3/3/12]
Phosphorus Discharge Limits [3/3/12]
Complying with Phosphorus Discharge Limits [3/28/12]
Water Quality Trading Framework Update [2/10/11]

Clean Water Act: Water Quality Report to Congress
Impaired Waters List Updates, 2018
Impaired Waters List Updates, 2016
Impaired Waters List Updates, 2014
Water Quality Report to Congress Webinar 2012
Water Quality Report to Congress: Impaired Waters & Water Quality Planning [12/05/11]
Water Quality Management Planning July 2010-11 [07/13/10]
Water Quailty Report to Congress & Website Overview [12/09]

Monitoring & assessments

The WDNR intends to monitor selected streams in the Sugar-Pecatonica Basin based on the rate of implementation of
the TMDLs, including sites such as German Valley and Pleasant Valley Creeks where implementation of Targeted
Restoration Management (TRM) grants are aimed at removing these streams from the impaired waters list.
Monitoring will continue until it is deemed that the stream has responded to the point where it is meeting its codified
use or until funding for these studies is discontinued. In addition, selected streams will be monitored on a 5 to 6 year
interval as part of a baseline monitoring strategy to assess temporary conditions and note trends in overall stream
quality. The monitoring will consist of metrics contained in the WDNR?s baseline protocol for wadeable streams,
such as the Index of Biological Integrity (IBI), the current habitat assessment tool, and water quality parameters at a
subset of sites.