Dorn Creek, Six Mile and Pheasant Branch Creeks Watershed (LR10)
Dorn Creek, Six Mile and Pheasant Branch Creeks Watershed (LR10)
Spring (Dorn) Creek (805600)
5.46 Miles
1 - 6.46
Natural Community
Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results that use predicted flow and temperature based on landscape features and related assumptions. Ranges of flow and temperature associated with specific aquatic life communities (fish, macroinvertebrates) help biologists identify appropriate resource management goals. Wisconsin Natural Communities.
Cool-Cold Headwater, Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Warm Headwater
Year Last Monitored
This is the most recent date of monitoring data stored in SWIMS. Additional surveys for fish and habitat may be available subsequent to this date.
2016
Poor
 
This river is impaired
Elevated Water Temperature, Impairment Unknown, Recreational Restrictions - Pathogens
E. coli, Total Phosphorus, Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
 
Dane
Trout Water 
Trout Waters are represented by Class I, Class II or Class III waters. These classes have specific ecological characteristics and management actions associated with them. For more information regarding Trout Classifications, see the Fisheries Trout Class Webpages.
No
Outstanding or Exceptional 
Wisconsin has designated many of the state's highest quality waters as Outstanding Resource Waters (ORWs) or Exceptional Resource Waters (ERWs). Waters designated as ORW or ERW are surface waters which provide outstanding recreational opportunities, support valuable fisheries and wildlife habitat, have good water quality, and are not significantly impacted by human activities. ORW and ERW status identifies waters that the State of Wisconsin has determined warrant additional protection from the effects of pollution. These designations are intended to meet federal Clean Water Act obligations requiring Wisconsin to adopt an 'antidegradation' policy that is designed to prevent any lowering of water quality - especially in those waters having significant ecological or cultural value.
No
Impaired Water 
A water is polluted or 'impaired' if it does not support full use by humans, wildlife, fish and other aquatic life and it is shown that one or more of the pollutant criteria are not met.
Yes

Fish and Aquatic Life

Current Use
The use the water currently supports. This is not a designation or classification; it is based on the current condition of the water. Information in this column is not designed for, and should not be used for, regulatory purposes.
LFF
Streams capable of supporting small populations of forage fish or tolerant macro-invertebrates that are tolerant of organic pollution. Typically limited due to naturally poor water quality or habitat deficiencies. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 3 mg/L.
Attainable Use
The use that the investigator believes the water could achieve through managing "controllable" sources. Beaver dams, hydroelectric dams, low gradient streams, and naturally occurring low flows are generally not considered controllable. The attainable use may be the same as the current use or it may be higher.
WWSF
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
Designated Use
This is the water classification legally recognized by NR102 and NR104, Wis. Adm. Code. The classification determines water quality criteria and effluent limits. Waters obtain designated uses through classification procedures.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.

Overview

Spring (Dorn) Creek Six-mile-long Dorn Creek originates in the town of Springfield (T8N, R8E, S13) and flows southeast through agricultural lands and Governor Nelson State Park before meeting Six Mile Creek. The stream drains 12.7 square miles that are 78 percent agricultural and 16 percent wetland. Wetlands adjacent to the creek provide wildlife habitat and spawning for northern pike. The creek supports a mainly tolerant warm water forage fishery. Two intolerant species are also known to inhabit the creek--the Northern Redbelly Dace and Pearl Dace (WDNR 1996b).

Rock River Water Quality Management Plan, Lower Rock River Appendix. WT-668-2002. South Central Region, WDNR.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Spring Creek is a tributary to Six Mile Creek that drains 12.7 square miles in the southwestern portion of Westport Township. This area includes approximately 325 acres of shallow marsh and sedge meadow located near the mouth of the creek and extending upstream (Dane Cty. Reg. Plann. Comm. 1979a). The areas have remained relatively undisturbed and the state has acquired some of these lands for protection as spawning areas for northern pike and panflsh. The fresh meadow and wetlands provide habitat for waterfowl, pheasants, rabbits, deer, and furbearers. Hunters use the area frequently. The waters of Spring Creek are moderately high in chloride, indicating a pollution source, most likely livestock- related. The creek has a high sediment load, causing heavy silting problems in many areas. The fishery is limited to forage species, panflsh, and spawning northern pike. Diversity could be increased by improving soil conservation practices within the watershed. Access is available at four road crossings and at a small boat launch on state property at North Shore Bay Drive. Fish species: central mudminnow, common carp, golden shiner, northern redbelly dace, bluntnose and fathead minnow, creek chub, pearl dace, white sucker, black and yellow bullhead, banded killifish, brook stickleback, and Johnny darter.

Spring Creek (Dorn Creek) (Westport Township) -T8N, R9E, Sec. 28, Surface acres = 7.3, Length = 6 miles, Stream order = II, Gradient = 21.6 ft/mile, Base discharge = 3.5 cfs.
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.

Date  1985

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Dorn Creek, Six Mile and Pheasant Branch Creeks Watershed (LR10) Fish and Aquatic LifeDorn Creek, Six Mile and Pheasant Branch Creeks Watershed (LR10) RecreationDorn Creek, Six Mile and Pheasant Branch Creeks Watershed (LR10) Fish Consumption

General Condition

The Dorn Creek watershed is located northwest of Madison, Wisconsin, in a primarily agricultural region. Based on USGS mapping (USGS1983), five major sub-watersheds (A through E) have been identified (Fig. 1). The watershed drains approximately 32.9 square kilometers, of which 16 percent are wetlands and 78 percent are agricultural land (WDNR, 1996). Dorn creek contributes ~ 7% of the annual surface flow into Lake Mendota. The main stream channel is approximately 13 kilometers long, of which roughly 7 kilometers are perennially wet. Over its length the stream drops approximately 57 meters (excluding a very steep portion at the very top of the watershed) giving an average slope of 0.44 %.

The lower portion of the watershed is significantly less steep: 14 meters of drop over the 7 km of perennially flowing stream gives an average slope of 0.19 %. Base flow is provided by a number of small springs, and is on the order of 0.03 cubic meters per second at the lower end of the study area. The creek flows through two wetlands having areas of approximately 0.5 and 1.0 square kilometers. The larger is the Dorn Creek Marsh, located at the bottom of the watershed (downstream of the research sites). There is perennial flow in the channel beginning just upstream of the smaller (upstream) wetland. The area receives an average annual precipitation of 840 mm (30 year average 1971 2000, from Midwest Regional Climate Center).

USGS In-stream sediment transport & deposition. Chin H. Wu, Kenneth W. Potter, John A. Hoopes, Justin S. Roger, and Evan A. Murdock

Date  2011

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of Dorn Creek (miles 0-1) showed impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use and biological impairment was observed (i.e. at least one fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Based on the most updated information, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of Dorn Creek (miles 1-6.46) showed continued impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. However, available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

Dorn Creek (805600), mile 1 to headwaters, 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.

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson

Condition

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.

Reports

Recommendations

Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.

Management Goals

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

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

Monitoring Projects

Watershed Characteristics

Dorn Creek is located in the Six Mile and Pheasant Branch Creeks watershed which is 119.45 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (45%), suburban (15.70%) and a mix of open (13.20%) and other uses (26.00%). This watershed has 145.61 stream miles, 9,959.08 lake acres and 2,759.80 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.However, all waters are affected by diffuse pollutant sources regardless of initial water quality. Applications for specific runoff projects under state or county grant programs may be pursued. For more information, go to surface water program grants.

Natural Community

Spring (Dorn) Creek is considered a Cool-Cold Headwater, Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Warm Headwater under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model resultsand DNR staff valiation processes that confirm or update predicted conditions based on flow and temperature modeling from historic and current landscape features and related variables. Predicated flow and temperatures for waters are associated predicated fish assemblages (communities). Biologists evaluate the model results against current survey data to determine if the modeled results are corect and whether biological indicators show water quaity degradation. This analysis is a core component of the state's resource management framework. Wisconsin's Riverine Natural Communities.

Cool (Warm-Transition) Headwaters are small, sometimes intermittent streams with cool to warm summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are uncommon to absent, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are common to uncommon. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.

Cool (Cold-Transition) Headwaters are small, usually perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon (<10 per 100 m), transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.