Fish and Aquatic Life
Dell Creek is a warm water sport fishery for the lower 1.5 miles and a Class II trout stream for
the upper 10.5 miles of its length. The creek is an exceptional resource water (ERW). The
land use along the stream is agricultural with some woodlands and wetlands. Much of Dell
Creek's length in Sauk County is publicly owned.
The main problems on the creek are sediment and nutrient loading from agricultural sources,
and a lack of in-stream habitat. Surveys conducted in 1995 found low numbers of trout and
determined the water quality to be from fair to poor in some locations. This indicates that the
stream has experienced some severe environmental damage. It is thought that the limited
habitat is one of the limiting factors for aquatic life.
Ripp, Coreen, Koperski, Cindy and Folstad, Jason. 2002. The State of the Lower Wisconsin River Basin.
PUBL WT-559-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Cynthia Koperski
Dell Creek is a Class II trout stream for 10.5 miles of its length (WDNR, 1980). All of
Dell Creek in Sauk County has been nominated as exceptional resource waters under
the state's antidegradation program. There are two large impoundments on Dell Creek,
Lake Delton and Mirror Lake. Much of Dell Creek's length in Sauk County is publicly
owned. Silt and sediment from farm fields are thought to be a problem in the stream
and are causing a sediment problem in the upper end of Mirror Lake (Trumm, 1991).
Suspected high nutrient inputs to Mirror Lake from Dell Creek are thought to be fueling
the excessive aquatic plant and algae growth in the lake (Schlesser, 1991-1992, Trumm, 1991).
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
The 2018 assessments of Dell Creek (Unnamed Stream (WBIC 5029152) to the Sauk-Juneau county line) showed impairment by temperature; new temperature sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, available biological data do not indicate impairment (i.e. no fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Based on the most updated information, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list.
Author Ashley Beranek
The 2018 assessments of Dell Creek (miles 1.84-7.56) showed continued impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. However, available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.
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.
Aquatic Plant Management Plan
Monitor Targeted Watershed Area (TWA)
Dell Creek BMP Evaluation TWA 2017 -2019
Monitor Targeted Watershed Area (TWA)
Monitor the status of streams and rivers in the Dell Creek section 319 funded watershed for BMP evaluation. The department needs current fish, habitat, temperature, water chemistry and macroinvertebrate data for streams in the watershed. The data will be used to determine whether these streams are achieving their attainable use in order to update the watershed tables, determine if Dell Cr. can be removed from the impaired waters list, and assess the overall health of the watershed and BMP effectiveness as required by Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act.
Nine Key Element Plan
Dell Creek PWS Plan - Nine Key Element Plan - The goal of the Dell Creek Priority Watershed Project is to protect, enhance and restore the surface and groundwater in the watershed area.
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|
|1296000||Mirror Lake||10014911||Mirror Lake Spring Boomshocking||Map||Data|
|1295200||Dell Creek||10007748||Dell Creek at Wisconsin Dells Parkway (Ush 12)||Map||Data|
|1295200||Dell Creek||10018017||Lake Delton -- Canyon Drive||6/12/1996||7/5/2019||Map||Data|
Dell Creek is located in the Dell Creek watershed which is 133.73 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (48.30%), agricultural (22.50%) and a mix of grassland (11.20%) and other uses (18.00%). This watershed has 231.97 stream miles, 193.10 lake acres and 4,715.88 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Medium 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.