3.11 - 3.65
Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater
Fish and Aquatic Life
Larson Coulee Creek, located in central La Crosse County, flows for approximately 3.5 miles in a southerly direction before reaching the La Crosse River near West Salem. It has a moderate gradient of 40 feet per mile and drains agricultural valley land and steep wooded hills. Larson Coulee Creek is a class Class I trout stream above CTH M for about 0.5 miles and Class II for approximately 3 miles below CTH M.
A 1971 fish survey documented abundant spring flow in the headwaters of Larson Coulee Creek where watercress provided cover for young brook trout. The lower portion of the creek contains very little cover for fish. Approximately 60% of the shoreline was in agricultural use and 40% was considered wild or wooded. The addition of in-stream habitat may sufficiently improve Larson Coulee Creek to a Class I brook trout stream. Streambank pasturing and barnyard runoff contribute to problems seen in Larson Coulee Creek. Since the most recent fishery survey of Larson Coulee Creek was conducted in 1971, an updated survey should be conducted to determine the current status of the stream. Larson Coulee Creek has been stocked regularly with brook trout by the WDNR since 1960. Access to Larson Coulee Creek is from WDNR owned easements and five road crossings.
Water chemistry testing of streams throughout La Crosse County was initiated by the La Crosse County Land Conservation Department in 1998. Baseflow conditions were targeted for testing as the most likely to show normal water quality conditions. Sampling takes place four times annually when no rainfall or snowmelt has occurred during the previous 72 hours. Between 1998 and 2001, Larson Coulee Creek met the county phosphorus goal in approximately 20% and the county fecal coliform bacteria goal in nearly 50% of the samples taken. These data indicate a nutrient load that is likely also contributing to high bacterial counts. The county ranks Larson Coulee Creek fairly low in priority compared to other streams for efforts to reduce phosphorus and bacterial contamination. La Crosse County should continue baseflow sampling of Larson Coulee Creek to determine water quality trends.
Author Cynthia Koperski
From the mouth to the upper crossing of CTH M (class 2); from CTH M up 0.5 miles (class 1).
Author Aquatic Biologist
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.
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|
|1652700||Larson Coulee Creek||10014099||Larson Coulee Creek Station 4 - 550 Ft Upstream Of Station 3 Start At Cth M||Map||Data|
|1652700||Larson Coulee Creek||10014100||Larson Coulee Creek Station 4 - 1350 Ft Upstream Of Cth M||Map||Data|
|1652700||Larson Coulee Creek||10010095||Larson Coulee Creek - Larson Coulee Station 3 - Bridge On Cth M||Map||Data|
|1652700||Larson Coulee Creek||10014101||Larson Coulee Creek Station 6 - 2690 Ft Upstream Of Cth M Bridge Crossing||Map||Data|
Larson Coulee Creek is located in the Lower La Crosse River watershed which is 145.46 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (42.30%), agricultural (14.80%) and a mix of urban (10.30%) and other uses (32.50%). This watershed has 295.20 stream miles, 1,187.12 lake acres and 5,641.64 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Medium for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked for runoff impacts on lakes and Low for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Low. 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.
Larson Coulee 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.