0.29 - 3.61
Coldwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem
Fish and Aquatic Life
Sugar Creek, located in northwest Crawford County, flows in a westerly direction for approximately 9.5 miles before reaching the Mississippi River. It has an average gradient of 47.4 feet per mile and drains steep wooded hillsides and some agricultural lands. Sugar Creek is a Class III trout stream for the lowest 2.5 miles and Class II upstream for 7 miles.
The most recent fishery survey, conducted in 1976, documented numerous brown trout, very few brook trout, and some warm water species in the station nearest the Mississippi River. Trout habitat improvement work has been done on DNR easements along Sugar Creek. This stream flows through a large piece of land that recently received long term protection through a purchase by the Mississippi Valley Conservancy. A portion of this land is currently managed as prairie.
The WDNR has stocked brown trout fingerlings in Sugar Creek for many years. More recently, wild brown trout have been stocked. A 1998 fish survey documented possible natural reproduction and winter survival of trout in Sugar Creek. The recent addition of overhead cover for trout to Sugar Creek and the trend toward less active farming in the watershed warrants a complete fish and habitat survey of Sugar Creek to document changes in the habitat and fishery. Access to Sugar Creek is from three road crossings, DNR easements and the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Refuge.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Sugar Creek (miles 3.62-11.29) 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 is 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.
The Mississippi Valley Conservancy will aquire a private tract of land to add to the Sugar Creek Bluff project. Activities involved with this project will include the purchase of the 36 acre tract. Specific deliverable for this grant project will include: documentation of purchase.
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|
|1636300||Sugar Creek||10013752||Sugar Creek Station 2-1976-Ne 1/4 Ne 1/4 Sec. 10||Map||Data|
|1636300||Sugar Creek||10013258||Sugar Creek St. 1 - Brudos Property 100 M Upstream Crossing||Map||Data|
|1636300||Sugar Creek||10022335||Sugar Creek - Lower Crossing Hutter Property||Map||Data|
|1636300||Sugar Creek||10022334||Sugar Creek - Crossing On Brudos Property||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1636300||Sugar Creek||10013751||Sugar Creek Station 1-1976-Ne 1/4 Se 1/4 Sec. 16-Starts 300' Downstream From Hwy 35 Bridge||Map||Data|
|1636300||Sugar Creek||10009070||Sugar Creek #1- Bridge On Lagoon Rd.||9/2/2014||6/28/2020||Map||Data|
|1636300||Sugar Creek||10013757||Sugar Creek Station 1-2000-Nw 1/4 Nw 1/4 Sec. 11-Ron Hofschild Property||Map||Data|
|1636300||Sugar Creek||10032325||Sugar Creek at Hwy. 35 bridge near Ferryville||8/12/2011||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
Sugar 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.
Sugar 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.
Reclassified Trout Water. David Vetrano, October 2003, 608 785-9009, "Recent surveys shows that Sugar Creek is a high quality trout stream, having sufficient natural reproduction to sustain populations of wild trout at or near carrying capacity. Consequently, this stream requires no stocking of hatchery raised trout." Biologist confirms entire stream indicated is CLASS I Trout Water.
Author Aquatic Biologist
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