Fish and Aquatic Life
Rush Creek flows for approximately 11 miles west toward the Mississippi River with an average gradient of 23 feet per mile. It drains steep forested hills and agricultural lands. Rush Creek is a Class III trout stream from HWY 35 upstream approximately 4 miles, then Class II for the remaining miles 7 miles upstream. The most recent fish survey, conducted in 1994, documented numerous minnow species, white sucker, burbot, rainbow, brook, and brown trout. The fishery is dominated by brown trout with scant numbers of rainbow and brook trout. Rush Creek had been stocked the year previous to the survey. Rush Creek continues to be stocked with brown, brook and rainbow trout. Bank erosion is light to medium, however some bends are steep and lack vegetation. In-stream cover for fish consists of some overhanging vegetation along with a few undercut banks.
Additional overhead cover and shoreline restoration work would likely improve the habitat and winter survival of trout in Rush Creek. Problems affecting Rush Creek are bank erosion, lack of in-stream cover, beaver activity, and flooding. The 1994 survey estimated the watershed comprised of 37% agricultural activity and approximately 62% forest and wooded wetland. Access to Rush Creek is from four road crossings, the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Refuge, the Rush Creek State Natural Area, which surrounds the lower 2 miles of Rush Creek, and DNR owned easements. From: Koperski, Cindy. 2002. The State of the Bad Axe - La Crosse Basin. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI
Author Cynthia Koperski
Rush Creek. T11N, R6W, Section 13. Surface Acres = 1.6, Miles = 1.4, Gradient = 57.1 feet per mile.
This clear, hard water stream flows in a southerly direction into Crawford County where it joins the Mississippi River. It is a Class III brown trout stream. During the winter aerial groundwater survey, open water was noted in the lower half of the stream in Vernon County. Rubble dominates the bottom types; there is considerable gravel, some sand, and small amounts of boulder, silt, and detritus. There are no road crossings in Vernon County. Wildlife value is insignificant.
From: Klick, Thomas A. and Threinen, C.W., 1973. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Vernon County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Rush Creek (Tributary in S27 to the Crawford-Vernon county line) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new total phosphorus and 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.
Water Quality Planning
BL01, Watershed Plan
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|
|1637000||Rush Creek||10013718||Rush Creek Station 1-1976-Nw 1/4 Sw 1/4 Sec. 6-Starts At Hwy 35 Bridge.||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
Rush 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.