Vermont Creek, Black Earth Creek Watershed (LW17)
Vermont Creek, Black Earth Creek Watershed (LW17)
Vermont Creek (1249200)
3.46 Miles
0 - 3.46
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 Mainstem
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.
This river is impaired
Elevated Water Temperature, Degraded Habitat, Impairment Unknown
Total Phosphorus, Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
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.
Streams capable of supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.
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.


Vermont Creek is 6 miles long and joins the Black Earth Creek just west of the Village of
Black Earth Creek. Many of the banks of creek are lined with wetlands and wet meadows.
The creek has been evaluated as a cold water stream that supports natural reproduction of
brown trout. There are some ponded spring heads on the creek and sections of the creek have
been channelized. Although a cursory habitat evaluation conducted on a headwater section of
the creek during the summer of 2001 found the creek to have good in-stream habitat, habitat
work is needed in the channelized portion of the stream. Erosion and other nonpoint sources
of pollution from the surrounding watershed were noted, but not thought to be major
Habitat restoration, sediment control, and reduction of nonpoint control would greatly
enhance the water quality and fish habitat of this stream. Habitat improvement work should be
completed in the WDNR owned section of the creek and serve as a pilot project. Access is
available from road crossings and WDNR properties and easements.

From: 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.

Date  2002

Author  Cynthia Koperski

Historical Description

Vermont Creek -T8N, R6E, Sec. 26, Surface acres = 9, Length = 8 miles, Stream order = I, Gradient = 19.2 ft/mile, Base discharge = 6.4 cfs.
Vermont Creek originates in Section 13 of Vermont Township (T7N, R6E) and joins Black Earth Creek at Black Earth. It flows for the most part within a broad, flat valley alongside Hwy. 78. The surroundIng topography is hilly and the land is used for grazing and some row crops. Wet meadows are associated with the creek in some areas. Vermont Creek is sprlng-fed but several of these springs have been impounded (Dane Cty. Reg. Plann. Comm. 1979a). Adjacent lands tend to be overgrazed and some areas of the creek have been ditched, causing problems from agricultural runoff and stream bank
erosion. The water quality remains quite good.
Upper and Lower Vermont Creek are considered Class II and Class III trout streams, respectively. In 1979 and 1980, DNR-owned reaches of the creek in Sections 2 and 13 (Vermont) underwent trout habitat improvement to direct stream flow and control livestock use. Vermont Creek is popular with anglers and is of sufficient size to be navigable. Access is available at four road crossings and through DNR-owned land on the upper part of the creek. Upland hunting is available on a 42-acre DNR-owned parcel in Section 13. Waterfowl also use a sprlng-fed tributary in the same vicinity.
Fish species: brown trout, white sucker. black bullhead, and mottled sculpin.

From: Day, Elizabeth A.; Grzebieniak, Gayle P.; Osterby, Kurt M.; and Brynildson, Clifford L., 1985. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Dane County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1985

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

From the mouth to the south line of section 2, T7N R6E (class 3); for 2 miles above section 2 (class 2).

Date  1980

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Vermont Creek, Black Earth Creek Watershed (LW17) Fish and Aquatic LifeVermont Creek, Black Earth Creek Watershed (LW17) RecreationVermont Creek, Black Earth Creek Watershed (LW17) Fish Consumption

General Condition

This water had a large stream rehabilitation project conducted in 2010. The section from downstream of Michaelis Road to upstream of CTH JJ has under gone a major stream restoration effort.

Samples taken as part of the Black Earth Creek project in 1/12/2012 had the following results (10012507= 4.51794 Fair/ 10016009= 4.81376 Good). This is the post evaluation and results show a improvement in WQ. I would not recommend listing, habitat work has made positive changes and samples document this change.

Date  2014

Author  Michael Sorge

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of Vermont Creek (from WBIC 1249400 to headwaters) 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.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of Vermont Creek (confluence with Black Earth Creek to the south line of S2, T7N R6E) showed 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. New macroinvertebrate and existing fish sample data were assessed, but 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.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

Vermont Creek (1249200), from the mouth to 3.46 miles upstream, was placed on the impaired waters list for sediment/total suspended solids in 2004. This water was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; biological sample data met 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use (i.e. macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) average scored in the fair to excellent condition categories).

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson


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.



TMDL Implementation
Vermont Creek was identified as one of five TMDL's selected by South Central Region. This stream is currently on the 303d list for habitat and temperature with sediment being the pollutant.

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

Vermont Creek is located in the Black Earth Creek watershed which is 105.20 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (37.80%), agricultural (36.90%) and a mix of grassland (16.20%) and other uses (9.20%). This watershed has 196.86 stream miles, 204.29 lake acres and 1,541.75 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Available 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

Vermont 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.

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