Ross Crossing Creek, Allen Creek and Middle Sugar River Watershed (SP13)
Ross Crossing Creek, Allen Creek and Middle Sugar River Watershed (SP13)
Ross Crossing Creek (885600)
5.20 Miles
0 - 5.20
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.
Coldwater, Cool-Cold 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.
This river is impaired
Impairment Unknown
Total Phosphorus
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.
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.
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.

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.
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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.
Streams capable of supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.
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.


It is interesting to note that this poor quality stream is actually an ERW. Redfin shiner have been found in Ross Crossing. This 4-mile stream has been ditched to drain cropland. It has the potential to be a cold water trout stream, but currently supports only a warm water forage fishery. The water is turbid and sluggish and local residents report that the stream has dried up during periods of extended drought (Water Resources of Green Co). The fact that it is a tributary to the Sugar River is the primary reason there are forage species and limited numbers of gamefish present (Bush pers. comm).

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Bush, D.M., R. Cornelius, D. Engle, and C.L. Brynildson. 1980. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Green County, 2nd Edition. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, Wisconsin.

Originating in the center of Exeter Township, Ross Crossing Creek flows north and east and enters the Sugar
River between Belleville and Dayton. Nearly all of the stream has been ditched to drain its broad, rolling watershed which is primarily tillable cropland. A sizeable area of pastured sedge meadow lies along the lower mile. Bank cover is fairly stable, herbaceous in the upper half and mixed grass and sedges in the lower. The bottom consists of gravel and rubble covered with silt. r~acrophytic vegetation is absent. The water is
turbid and sluggish and local residents report that the stream has dried up during periods of extended drought. One-unnamed tributary enters the creek in Section 10.
Ross Crossing Creek is managed for forage fish, although a few game fish come up from the Sugar River. Smallmouth bass and panfish' have been found in the stream as well as very small numbers of walleyes and brown trout., In addition, the redfin shiner, which is considered rare in Wisconsin, has been collected in the stream. Wildlife values are limited to muskrats, although the adjacent 90 acres of pastured sedge meadow and 20 acres of pastured woodland may provide a marginal habitat for other species. Two road crossings provide public access.
Fish Species: Brown trout, central mudminnow, ston.eroller unspecified, carp, hornyhead chub, common shiner, spotfin shiner, redfin shiner, bluntnose minnow, fathead minnow, creek chub, white sucker, shorthead redhorse, black bullhead, yellow bullhead, brook stickleback, green sunfish, bluegill, smallmouth bass, black crappie, Iowa darter, Johnny darter, walleye.
Surface Acres = 1.7, Length = 3.6 Miles, Gradient = 8 ft./mi., Base Discharge = 3.1 cu. ft./sec.


Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

From: Poff, Ronald J., and C.W. Threinen, Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Green County, Wisconsin Conservation Department, Madison I, 1961.

Flows northeasterly into the Sugar River. Managed for forage fish. Dry in 1958. Ditched through sections 9 and 10, T-4-N, R-8-E. Fifty per cent of the bank is wild undeveloped land or unused farm land. Approximately 203 acres of wetland borders on the stream.

Surface Acres= 1.7, Miles=3.6, Gradient= 5.6' per mile

Date  1961

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Ross Crossing Creek, Allen Creek and Middle Sugar River Watershed (SP13) Fish and Aquatic LifeRoss Crossing Creek, Allen Creek and Middle Sugar River Watershed (SP13) RecreationRoss Crossing Creek, Allen Creek and Middle Sugar River Watershed (SP13) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of Ross Crossing Creek showed 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, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list.

Date  2017

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.


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 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

Ross Crossing Creek is located in the Allen Creek and Middle Sugar River watershed which is 154.01 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (61.50%), grassland (17.30%) and a mix of forest (9.30%) and other uses (11.80%). This watershed has 263.25 stream miles, 96.10 lake acres and 5,963.23 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Medium 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.This water is ranked High Stream for individual Rivers based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.

Natural Community

Ross Crossing Creek is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold 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 (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.