Pleasant Valley Br, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05)
Pleasant Valley Br, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05)
Pleasant Valley Branch (908500)
5.92 Miles
0 - 5.92
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 Headwater
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.
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent forage 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.
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.
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.


This is a tributary to Kittleson Valley Creek in southwest Dane County. It is considered a warm water forage fishery stream, but does have the potential for trout (Marshall, 1988). Water quality and in-stream habitat are thought to be good (WDNR,1992-931). Grazing along the stream appears to be the primary water quality and habitat problem.


Author   Aquatic Biologist


Pleasant Valley Branch is a five-mile long stream located in southwestern Dane County. It is part of the Gordon Creek
watershed and empties into Kittleson Valley Creek southeast of Daleyville. Currently, Pleasant Valley Branch
supports a warm water forage fishery, however, the presence of brown trout and mottled sculpin demonstrate this
stream’s potential to support a cold water fishery. Pleasant Valley Branch is currently listed on the 303(d) list for
degraded habitat due to sedimentation from overgrazing and a lack of habitat. However, several streambank
stabilization and habitat restoration projects are currently underway in the stream.

In 2003, a section of Pleasant Valley Branch, starting at the northern CTH H crossing, and extending about ½ mile
down stream, had stream bank work done as part of a Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP) grant. Prior to
this work, one brown trout and a few specimens of forage fish were found in this section of stream. The stream was
wide, shallow, and the bottom was composed primarily of sand and silt. A 2004 post-rehabilitation habitat evaluation
of this project area showed marginal silt deposition (22%), with the majority of the substrate being composed of gravel
or coarser material (59%). These findings, coupled with width to depth ratios of about 7:1, suggest “good” habitat
quality for this section of rehabilitated stream. Also, three additional fish surveys were conducted to observe the
effects of the restoration project. Two survey sites were replicates from the previous year in the area that had been restored and found 34 brown trout (2.5 - 13.9 inches), three brook trout (10.0 - 10.9 inches), 11 black crappie (6.6 - 7.3
inches), and four minnow and forage species.

A third section, downstream of where the restoration was to occur, found 29 brown trout (6.1 - 13.7 inches) and five
other forage and minnow species, with white sucker and creek chub being the most abundant. Additional lands in the
watershed have been enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and another section of stream
corridor is scheduled for rehabilitation work in 2005 under the state’s Targeted Runoff Management Program.

Date  2005

Author   Aquatic Biologist


Pleasant Valley Branch is a 5 mile stream in southwest Dane County that serves as a tributary to Kittleson Valley Creek. The stream currently supports warm water forage fish but could support a cold water fishery. While water temperature and water quality are thought to be good (1995 basin report), the stream is on the state’s list of degraded (303d) waters because of impairment caused by nonpoint source pollution. This is especially evident from just upstream of County Highway A downstream to its mouth (Amrhein, pers. obs). Fish and habitat monitoring conducted in 2002 showed the presence of cold water indicator species. Heavy sedimentation caused by overgrazing and lack of habitat keep the stream from reaching it’s potential. The stream is considered high priority for nonpoint source pollution and would benefit from stream buffers. The Dane County Land Conservation Department is planning to restore 3000 linear feet of stream as part of the Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Pleasant Valley Branch -T5N, R6E, Sec. 28, Surface acres = 6, Length = 7 miles, Stream order = II, GradIent = 27 ft/mile, Base discharge = 2.1 cfs.
Pleasant Valley Branch originates in Section 3 of Perry Township (T5N, R6E) and flows south. Joining Kittleson Valley Creek in the same township, it drains crop and pasture land and upland forest areas. No wetlands adjoin the creek. The creek is sprlng-fed with a moderate gradient. Water quality is quite good although slightly alkaline, but fish are sparse. Access is good at Hwy. A and along Hwy. H. Fish species: brown trout, sucker, and forage species.

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   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Pleasant Valley Br, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05) Fish and Aquatic LifePleasant Valley Br, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05) RecreationPleasant Valley Br, Gordon Creek Watershed (SP05) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Pleasant Valley Branch was listed for Degraded Habitat and Total Suspended Solids/Sediment in 1998 due to sedimentation from overgrazing and a lack of habitat. The TMDL for this listing was approved 2005. Pleasant Valley Branch supports a warm water forage fishery; however, the presence of brown trout and mottled sculpin demonstrate this stream's potential to support a cold water fishery. Several streambank stabilization and habitat restoration projects have taken place in the stream. When Pleasant Valley Branch was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle and was proposed for delisting based on new biological, habitat, and water quality data.

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'.



Monitor EPA SP12 (Measure W)
Pleasant and Kittleson Valley SP-12 Delist Review Project - SCR_18_CMP13B
Monitor EPA SP12/WQ10
Evaluate the fish/habitat/ macroinvertebrate quality of Kittleson Valley and Pleasant Valley Creek. Similar work was performed in 2009 at the inception of the WI buffer initiative project. Overall goal is to compare data from that year and remove Pleasant Valley from the list of impaired waters.
Monitor Watershed (Status,Sources,Impairments)
Pleasant and Kittleson Valley SP-12 Project - SCR_18_CMP13B
Monitor to Evaluate Projects
Pleasant and Kittleson Valley SP-12 Project - SCR_18_CMP13B

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

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

Natural Community

Pleasant Valley Branch 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.

More Interactive Maps