Crow Br, Platte River Watershed (GP02)
Crow Br, Platte River Watershed (GP02)
Crow Branch (954600)
2.50 Miles
0 - 2.50
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.
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.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.


This small spring-fed stream is tributary to the Platte River west of the Village of Livingston. Water quality and poor instream habitat impair uses of the stream, although land management activities have improved in some reaches. Crow Branch is currently classified as a class II trout for 2.5 miles of its length (WDNR, 1980). The stream has been somewhat impaired over the years due to excessive streambank grazing and runoff from farm fields and barnyards. Two species listed on the state’s threatened and endangered species list have been found in Crow Branch (Lyons, 2000). One of these species is especially sensitive to water pollution. Nonpoint source best management practices, particularly stream buffer corridors and managed grazing, would help protect and improve the stream.

Date  2001

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

From: Smith, Tom D., and Ball, Joseph R., Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Grant County, Department of Natural Resources, 1972.Surface Area = 2.76 acres, Length = 5.7 miles, Gradient = 46 ft./mile, Flow = 1.9 c.f.s.

A moderate gradient, spring-fed stream flowing to the west from Livingston and entering the upper reach~s of the Platte River. Five miles of this stream are classified submarginal trout water with brown and brook trout being present. Bank erosion and siltation are very severe throughout the watershed. The low number of brood fish and unsuitable spawning grounds subject to rapid runoff are factors depressing trout reproduction. The lower portion of this stream supports a good fingerling smallmouth bass population which acts as a bass nursery for the Platte River. Improved soil and water control practices could greatly benefit the stream habitat. Muskrats are common throughout while beaver may occasionally visit the lower reaches. Points of access are present from the Platte River and four bridge crossings. Four dwellings are adjacent to the stream.

Date  1972

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Crow Br, Platte River Watershed (GP02) Fish and Aquatic LifeCrow Br, Platte River Watershed (GP02) RecreationCrow Br, Platte River Watershed (GP02) Fish Consumption


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

Crow Br is located in the Platte River watershed which is 197.74 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily grassland (43.30%), agricultural (30.70%) and a mix of forest (19%) and other uses (7.00%). This watershed has 455.07 stream miles, 21.45 lake acres and 1,303.48 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

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

Natural Community

Crow 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.

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