Kittleson Valley Creek, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05)
Kittleson Valley Creek, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05)
Kittleson Valley Creek (907900)
3.91 Miles
2.79 - 6.70
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's Riverine Natural Communities.
Coldwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem
Year Last Monitored
This is the most recent date of water monitoring stored in the SWIMS system. Additional surveys for fish and habitat may be available subsequent to this date.
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.
Class III Trout
Streams capable of supporting a seasonal coldwater sport fishery and which may be managed as coldwater streams.
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.
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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.
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.


Kittleson Valley is a tributary to Gordon Creek in southeast Iowa County. Seven miles are considered Class II trout waters while an additional two miles are Class III (DNR, 1980). Recreational use of this stream is impaired due to polluted runoff. Heavy sedimentation in the stream bottom (WDNR, 1992-931), is probably due to bank erosion and runoff from farm fields.


Author   Aquatic Biologist


Kittleson Valley Creek flows through southwestern Dane County and joins Gordon Creek in southeastern Iowa County. The middle section of this stream is a cold water stream with Class III and Class II trout sections. Severe bank erosion and overgrazing limit the fishery value of this stream (Water Resources of Dane Co, Welke, pers. obs). Fish and habitat monitoring conducted in 2002 showed the presence of cold water indicator species including brown trout, mottled sculpin and brook lamprey. Sand, silt, and clay cover the original gravel streambed. The limited iInstream cover for fish is provided by the numerous box elders which have fallen into the stream. This stream could benefit from the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program with was recently enacted (Sorge, pers. obs).

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Kittleson Valley Creek -T5N, R6E, Sec. 30, Surface acres = 2.9, Length = 8 miles. Stream order = III. Gradient = 19.3 ft/mile, Base discharge = 7.0 cfs.
This medium-sized stream is a tributary to Gordon Creek in Iowa County. Its tributaries include Jeglum Valley, Pleasant Valley, Syftestad, and York Valley Creeks. Above Hwy H, the substrate has significant areas of silt and gravel, while the percentage of gravel decreases in the lower portion of the stream (Dane Cty. Reg. Plann. Comm. 1979a). Records show 32 springs in the watershed. Temperatures are cool and flows are fairly constant in the summer but severe stream bank erosion, overgrazing, and flooding limit the fishery value of thls stream. It is presently managed as a Class II stream, but the potential exists for increasing the wild brown trout fishery. A diverse grouping of forage species are present. Small pockets of wet meadow are found along the creek's lower stretches. Six road crossings provide access.
Fish species: brown trout, brassy minnow, hornyhead chub, common shiner, southern redbelly dace, bluntnose minnow, creek chub, white sucker, green sunfish, fantail and Johnny darter, and mottled sculpln.

From: Day Elizabeth A.; Grzebieniak, Gayle P.; Osterby, Kurt M.; and Brynildson, Clifford L., 1985. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Inventory of Dane County. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI

Date  1985

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Kittleson Valley Creek -Mouth location T5N R5E Section 35 -16, Surface area = 2.3 acres, Length = 0.9 miles, Gradient = 42.3 feet per mile, Total alkalinity = 260.0 rng/l, Volume of flow = 12.0 cfs.
This stream originates in Dane County, wherein most of its watershed lies, and flows southwesterly into Iowa County where it becomes the principal tributary of Blue Mounds Branch (Gordon Creek), contributing about 33 percent of its base flow.
Most of its watershed is cleared for farming which results in the severe flooding of the basin and heavy bank erosion in some sections. There is a possible source of pollution from a dairy located near the county line. This is monitored by the Division of Environmental Protection.
The sport fishery consists of brown trout in the upper section in Dane County, where they are stocked annually. The lower sections, in Iowa County, contain smallmouth bass. Forage fishes present include white suckers, hogsuckers, stoneroller minnows, rosyface shiners, and johnny darters.
Aquatic game assets include muskrats which are common throughout its length and some waterfowl in the wider sections. There are no public lands in Iowa County but it is accessible from a town road crossing.

From: Piening, Ronald and Threinen, C.W., 1968. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Iowa County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1968

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Kittleson Valley Creek, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05) Fish and Aquatic LifeKittleson Valley Creek, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05) RecreationKittleson Valley Creek, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Kittleson Valley Creek (miles 2.79-6.7) 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.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

General Condition

Kittleson Valley Creek (CTH H to the headwaters) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (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.

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 2016 . See also 'monitoring' and 'projects'.


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

Kittleson Valley Creek is located in the Gordon Creek watershed which is 76.90 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily grassland (46.50%), agricultural (25.80%) and a mix of forest (24.40%) and other uses (3.30%). This watershed has 205.79 stream miles, 7.11 lake acres and 487.25 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.

Natural Community

Kittleson Valley Creek is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem 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) Mainstem streams are moderate-to-large but still wadeable perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are common to absent, mainstem species are abundant to common, and river species are common to absent.

More Interactive Maps