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Coldwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem
Fish and Aquatic Life
The Copper Creek system, located in western Crawford County, consists of Copper Creek, North Branch Copper Creek, South Branch Copper Creek, and Upper Copper Creek. Where the North and South Branch join, Copper Creek begins. Upper Copper Creek flows into the North Branch.
Land use in the Copper Creek area is similar to the rest of Crawford County, consisting of farms and recreational homes. Steep wooded hillsides with narrow ridgetops and valleys are characteristic sights in the area. Fishery surveys dating from 1946 mention how frequent, severe flooding occurs within the Copper Creek drainage area. Streams in the Copper Creek system have been stocked with hatchery-raised brown trout for many years.
Most of these streams have not been comprehensively surveyed since the early 1970's. At the time, the Copper Creek watershed was comprised of approximately 50% agriculture and 50% forest, with small areas of wetland near the mouth. To better understand and manage the streams of the Copper Creek system, extensive fishery and habitat surveys should be conducted in the near future.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Copper Creek 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.
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.
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|
|5032911||Unnamed||10052058||Copper Crk-Utility Corridor to N Brch Cooper Crk||8/3/2011||8/3/2011||Map||Data|
|724600||Lake Winneshiek||10022243||Lake Winneshiek||6/22/2010||9/2/2016||Map||Data|
|1635500||Copper Creek||10052058||Copper Crk-Utility Corridor to N Brch Cooper Crk||8/3/2011||8/3/2011||Map||Data|
|1635500||Copper Creek||10032310||Copper Creek - 175 M downstream at bend||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1635500||Copper Creek||10032327||Copper Creek at confluence of North and South Branches||Map||Data|
|1635500||Copper Creek||10032328||Copper Creek at 1000 ft. south of State Hwy. 171 Seneca||Map||Data|
|1635500||Copper Creek||10009028||Copper Creek #1-Lower Bridge X-Ing On Lon Ruedisili Property||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|5032723||Unnamed||10052058||Copper Crk-Utility Corridor to N Brch Cooper Crk||8/3/2011||8/3/2011||Map||Data|
|5033036||Unnamed||10052058||Copper Crk-Utility Corridor to N Brch Cooper Crk||8/3/2011||8/3/2011||Map||Data|
|1635600||Unnamed||10052058||Copper Crk-Utility Corridor to N Brch Cooper Crk||8/3/2011||8/3/2011||Map||Data|
|1635500||Copper Creek||10013637||Copper Creek Station 1-1965-Nw 1/4 Nw 1/4 Sec. 25||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|5032695||Unnamed||10052058||Copper Crk-Utility Corridor to N Brch Cooper Crk||8/3/2011||8/3/2011||Map||Data|
Copper Creek is located in the Rush Creek watershed which is 240.16 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (46.60%), grassland (16.20%) and a mix of agricultural (15%) and other uses (22.10%). This watershed has 551.06 stream miles, 1,906.88 lake acres and 9,793.93 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked for runoff impacts on lakes and Medium for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Medium. 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.
Copper 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.
Copper Creek begins where the North Branch and the South Branch of Copper Creek join together. It is a 3.5 mile tributary to the Mississippi River which flows in a westerly direction and has an average gradient of approximately 7 feet per mile.
Author Aquatic Biologist
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