Fish and Aquatic Life
Two segments of Token Creek, a small Dane County stream within the Lake Mendota
Watershed and tributary to Cherokee Marsh, are listed for two types of impairments on the 1998 Wisconsin 303(d) list. Both segments are listed as high priority on Wisconsin 303(d) list.
This TMDL deals with the impairments to the designated uses in both segments of
Token Creek listed on the 303(d) list. Specifically, it deals with the impairments caused by sedimentation and the impaired habitat caused by the impoundment.
Indirectly, this TMDL will address the concerns with turbidity and increased
temperature. However, this TMDL is not developed for those two parameters.
Impoundment and Upstream (mile 4 to mile 6.5)
This segment is listed on Wisconsin s 303(d) list as impaired by sedimentation
leading to habitat degradation and elevated temperature. The impoundment has up to 15 feet of deposited sediment. The section of stream above the
impoundment has soft sediment covering the native peat/sand substrate. The
designated use of this segment is that of a warm water sport fishery. Its current
use is that of a Hillsenhoff Biotic Index values vary from very good to very bad.
From information on page 2-14 of the Lake Mendota Priority Watershed Plan,
this segment of Token Creek is characterized by low flows, increased rates of
sedimentation, elevated temperatures and lack of habitat . Recent assessments
indicate the potential of a coldwater fishery throughout this segment, if the dam
Highway 51 to Dam (mile 2 to mile 4)
The designated use of this two-mile segment that of a coldwater fishery.
Presently, the stream s existing use is a coldwater class III. However, it has the
potential to be class I or II coldwater fishery and the present fishery is more
indicative of a warmwater fishery. Habitat impairments are due to soft
sediment covering the native substrate. Macroinvertebrates tend to be tolerant
species. Low numbers of trout have been found in this stream. From
information on page 2-14 of the Lake Mendota Priority Watershed Plan, this
segment of Token Creek is characterized by moderate velocities, high
turbidity, heavy sedimentation, natural occurring log jams, overall channel
widening and heavy in-stream aquatic plant growth . It is presumed that the
high turbidity will be addressed through the control of sediment sources
identified in the load allocation section of this TMDL.1 Temperature may have
been a concern is the impoundment. However, with the removal of the dam,
temperature should not be a concern.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Rock River Water Quality Management Plan, Lower Rock River Appendix. WT-668-2002. South Central Region, WDNR.
Token Creek This spring-fed Class III trout stream is the primary tributary to the Yahara River, providing significant base flow for the Yahara River and Lake Mendota (40 to 50 percent). The stream passes through residential (7 percent), agricultural (73 percent) and wetland areas (4 percent). Intense agricultural practices contribute sediment and nutrients to the stream and small impoundments in upstream areas warm the water, decreasing its suitability for trout management and contribute to excessive rooted aquatic plant production, periods of low dissolved oxygen and turbidity. The first two miles are a warm water sport fishery with some rough species (carp, freshwater drum). From mile marker 2 to 4, the stream is fed by springs and supports water cress and a diverse fishery of cold water, sport and forage fish.
A major dam on the creek once created a 44-acre millpond. In 1992 this dam partially failed and the millpond has become a shallow- to deep-water marsh. At least two significant springs and numerous seeps have been identified in the area formerly covered by the millpond. These springs are identified by two major tributaries rising to form clearly defined wetland/stream tracts that lead to the creek. Biologists believe that preserving the springs is essential for maintaining the existing brown trout fishery and establishing a brook trout fishery. The millpond, as previously maintained, absorbed the cold water springs, which heated the water and impacted the creek's fishery and water quality. WDNR recognized the potential of restoring the millpond area to a natural cold water stream corridor surrounded by good quality wetlands. In partnership with the town of Windsor, Dane County, local conservation groups and residents, WDNR purchased 69 acres of the Token Creek Millpond area for $1 million. The Token Creek Millpond dam was removed and is being restored to a brook trout fishery. The stream is buffered by wetlands that have developed since the dam failed.
Runoff from the three major highways that cross the stream and the interchange and truck stops located adjacent to it likely affects water quality. Urban development in Sun Prairie and the towns of Windsor, Burke and Bristol will generate significant additional stormwater runoff bringing with it sediment and other pollutants. These problems need to be properly managed to protect the water quality and cold water fisheries of Token Creek, as well as the public and private investment made now and in the future to protect and enhance the stream and its fishery.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Token Creek -T8N, R10E, Sec. 7, Surface acres = 18, Length = 10 miles, Stream order = I, Gradient = 8.7 ft/mile,
Base discharge = 18.6 cfs.
Token Creek originates in Section 24 of Windsor Township (T9N, R10E) and empties into the Yahara River north of Lake Mendota. It drains 27.3 square miles of residential, agricultural, and marsh land. The creek is spring-fed but its flow is interrupted by several impoundments, limiting most portions of the creek to warm water fish species. Water quality is quite good considering the developmental pressures affecting the area, such as residential subdivisions and a major highway interchange. However, agricultural runoff has caused heavy silting problems. Although brown trout are no longer stocked in Token Creek, there is great potential for a trout fishery if the dams were removed, making the springs accessible to trout. Two spring impoundments presently serve as trout rearing ponds and two short sections support some wild brown trout. Carp are a problem in Token Creek and several eradication attempts have been made with no permanent success. The creek is navigable and receives moderate fishing pressure. Public access is available from several DNR-and county-owned tracts and from six road crossings. The creek flows through part of Cherokee Marsh which provides habitat for wildlife and waterfowl. Token Creek County Park located near the Junction of Hwys. 19 and 1-90/94 provides camping and day use facilities. Fish species: common carp, fathead minnow, creek chub, white sucker, brook stickleback, green sunfish, bluegill, walleye, and brown trout.
From: Day, Elizabeth A.; Grzebieniak, Gayle P.; Osterby, Kurt M.; and Brynildson, Clifford L., 1985. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Dane County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Token Creek was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (macroinvertebrate and fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) and temperature sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.
Author Ashley Beranek
The 2018 assessments of Token Creek (miles 9.9-11.65) showed continued impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. However, no biological data (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) were available to assess biological impairment. Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.
Author Ashley Beranek
Token Creek (806600), from headwaters to former millpond, was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, available biological data do not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Temperature data met 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use.
Author Aaron Larson
Impoundment and Upstream (mile 4 to mile 6.5) This segment is listed on Wisconsins 303(d) list as impaired by sedimentation leading to habitat degradation and elevated temperature. The impoundment has up to 15 feet of deposited sediment. The section of stream above the impoundment has soft sediment covering the native peat/sand substrate. The designated use of this segment is a warm water sport fishery. Hilsenhoff Biotic Index values vary from very good to very bad.
From information on page 2-14 of the Lake Mendota Priority Watershed Plan, this segment of Token Creek is characterized by low flows, increased rates of sedimentation, elevated temperatures and lack of habitat. Recent assessments indicate the potential of a coldwater fishery throughout this segment, if the dam is removed.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Wisconsin has over 84,000 miles of streams, 15,000 lakes and milllions of acres of wetlands. Assessing the condition of this vast amount of water is challenging. The state's water monitoring program uses a media-based, cross-program approach to analyze water condition. An updated monitoring strategy (2015-2020) is now available. Compliance with Clean Water Act fishable, swimmable standards are located in the Executive Summary of Water Condition in 2018. See also the 'monitoring and projects' tab.
ATTAINS Implementation Initiated
Dane County proposes to acquire approximately 110 acres of land as an addition to Cherokee Marsh for low impact recreational opportunities and lake protection.
ATTAINS Water Identified for Protection
The Token Creek Watershed Association will work to enhance their capacity as an organization by hiring a half time employee and by expanding their community education.
ATTAINS Water Identified for Protection
The Token Creek Watershed Association will integrate public education and professionally lead workshops to:1) raise public awareness of stream protection benefits, 2) increase grass-roots membership in the organization, 3) train members of TCWA, and 4) aid in the ongoing process of strategic planning. Increasing public awareness of the watershed and TCWA will increase public support for TCWA activities as well as increasing memberships in the organization.
TMDL (USEPA) Approved
Token Creek TMDL Approved by USEPA addressing the sedimentation and habitat
degradation impairments which were identified on the Wisconsin 1998 303(d) list.
Wisconsin's Water Quality Standards provide qualitative and quantitative goals for waters that are protective of Fishable, Swimmable conditions [Learn more]. Waters that do not meet water quality standards are considered impaired and restoration actions are planned and carried out until the water is once again fishable and swimmable
Management goals can include creation or implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load analysis, a Nine Key Element Plan, or other restoration work, education and outreach and more. If specific recommendations exist for this water, they will be displayed below online.
Monitoring the condition of a river, stream, or lake includes gathering physical, chemical, biological, and habitat data. Comprehensive studies often gather all these parameters in great detail, while lighter assessment events will involve sampling physical, chemical and biological data such as macroinvertebrates. Aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish communities integrate watershed or catchment condition, providing great insight into overall ecosystem health. Chemical and habitat parameters tell researchers more about human induced problems including contaminated runoff, point source dischargers, or habitat issues that foster or limit the potential of aquatic communities to thrive in a given area. Wisconsin's Water Monitoring Strategy was recenty updated.
Grants and Management Projects
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|806600||Token Creek||133492||Token Creek - Near Madison WI||5/23/2002||10/17/2002||Map||Data|
|806600||Token Creek||10011992||Token Creek - Upstream Of County Park||1/1/2015||8/17/2019||Map||Data|
|806600||Token Creek||133051||Token Creek at Sth 51||5/27/1980||10/30/2002||Map||Data|
|806600||Token Creek||10015131||Token Creek-Cty Park Rd US 706 M to end||5/13/2015||5/13/2015||Map||Data|
Token Creek is located in the Yahara River and Lake Mendota watershed which is 112.56 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (65.30%), grassland (9.80%) and a mix of suburban (9.50%) and other uses (15.40%). This watershed has 107.14 stream miles, 385.75 lake acres and 5,200.97 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Available for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available for runoff impacts on lakes and High for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of High. This value can be used in ranking the watershed or individual waterbodies for grant funding under state and county programs.This water is ranked High Stream for individual Rivers based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.