Fish and Aquatic Life
Bishop Branch, located in central Vernon County, flows in a southeasterly direction for 6.0
miles before reaching the West Fork of the Kickapoo River south of Liberty. This stream has
a gradient of 30 feet per mile and drains forested hillsides with agricultural activity limited to
the valleys. Bishop Branch is a Class II trout stream from its mouth upstream for five miles
and then Class I for the next one mile upstream. It is classified as an Exceptional Resource
The most recent survey, conducted in 1995, documented a self-sustaining brown trout
population along with only a few brook trout and rainbow trout. At the time, the stream
bottom was dominated by sand with some areas of cobble and gravel. In-stream cover
consisted of deep pools, woody debris and LUNKER structures. A fish and habitat survey of
Bishop Branch should be conducted to determine its existing condition. Bishop Branch would
benefit from the purchase of streambank easements from willing sellers and the restoration of
in-stream habitat. WDNR records indicate that Bishop Branch was last stocked with brown
trout in 1995. Access to Bishop Branch is from WDNR owned land, WDNR easements and
one road crossing. A rare aquatic species has been found in this creek.
From: Ripp, Coreen, Koperski, Cindy and Folstad, Jason. 2002. The State of the Lower Wisconsin River Basin.
PUBL WT-559-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Cynthia Koperski
Bishop Branch, T12N, R3W, Section 16. Surface Acres = 8.7, Miles = 4.2, Gradient = 30.0 feet per mile.
This tributary of the West Fork Kickapoo River flows in a general southeasterly direction and has clear, hard water. It heads at the junction of Cook Creek and Creek 2-3, which flows through Maple Dale. Bishop Branch is considered a Class II brown trout stream. A large variety of forage fish are present. Sand is the dominant bottom type, with rubble, silt, gravel, boulder, and clay present in that order of abundance. Two road crossings provide access. There is no significant wildlife value.
From: Klick, Thomas A. and Threinen, C.W. 1973. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Vernon County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Bishop Branch (miles 0-4.2) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) 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
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.
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.
Restore Hydrology, Morphology
Vernon County proposes to restore some 2600 linear feet of Bishops Branch, a tributary to the West Fork of the Kickapoo River, in the Town of Liberty. Major project elements to include 1) placement of lunker structures, boulders, and rock weirs in the stream, 2) deepening of pools, 3) placement of riprap, and 4) revegitation of the streambank.
Restore Hydrology, Morphology
Vernon County proposes to restore some 2600 linear feet of Bishops Branch- a tributary to the West Fork of the Kickapoo River- in the Town of Liberty. Major project elements to include 1) placement of lunker structures- boulders- and rock weirs in the stream- 2) deepening of pools- 3) placement of riprap- and 4) revegitation of the streambank.
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|
|1188500||Bishop Br||633059||Bishop Branch - Bishop Br. Se1/4 Of Nw1/4 Sec.16||10/19/2016||10/19/2016||Map||Data|
|1188500||Bishop Br||10010789||Bishop Br - Bishop Branch Station #3||10/22/2003||11/11/2004||Map||Data|
|1188500||Bishop Br||10010794||Bishop Branch Station #1 Confluence Of Bishop Branch And Kickapoo River||5/13/1980||10/29/1980||Map||Data|
|5030022||Unnamed||10029972||Bishop Branch STH 56||5/16/2006||9/14/2014||Map||Data|
|1188500||Bishop Br||10022516||Bishop Branch - 550ft Downstream Of Starr Dr. Bridge||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1188500||Bishop Br||10030071||Bishop Branch at Hwy 56||10/29/2009||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1188500||Bishop Br||10012478||Bishop Branch Off Hwy 56 At Starr Property||5/16/2006||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1188500||Bishop Br||10031590||Bishop Branch - lower||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1188500||Bishop Br||10030760||Bishop Branch Station 1 - 1971 along Hwy 56||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1188500||Bishop Br||10010793||Bishop Branch Station #2 260 M Downstream Of Hwy 56||10/7/1998||10/7/1998||Map||Data|
Bishop Br is located in the West Fork Kickapoo River watershed which is 118.04 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (41.10%), grassland (29%) and a mix of agricultural (25.50%) and other uses (4.40%). This watershed has 283.75 stream miles, 49.18 lake acres and 672.36 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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.