Fish and Aquatic Life
Irish Valley Creek is an eight-mile creek that flows west and converges with Waters Valley Creek before flowing into Waumandee Creek. Irish Valley Creek transports the majority of the sediment in the subwatershed. The headwaters area of this stream is wooded with protected streambanks. Based on information from the Waumandee Creek Priority Watershed Project, cattle in the majority of the downstream area are permitted access to the creek, causing trampled banks, slumping and increased erosion of the banks. Sedimentation is the reason the creek was placed on the 1998 303(d) list. Irish Valley Creek currently supports a warm water forage fish community with potential to support a Class III trout fishery. The stream substrate is primarily silt and sand. Water quality surveys based on macroinvertebrates were completed in 1999 and 2001.
According to the Hilsenhoff Biotic Index (HBI), the diversity of macroinvertebrates resulted in a score of 2.798 and 3.286, respectively, reflecting excellent water quality. This is a significant improvement from the macroinvertebrate study on Irish Valley Creek in 1990, which resulted in an 8, which signifies poor water quality. A fish survey was conducted on Irish Valley Creek in 2001. Table 2 shows the results of the survey (Site No. 5 is upstream, Site No.1 furthest downstream).
Site No. 5 has seen considerable improvement in the Brook Trout population since 1989. Where streams have improved, little or no cattle have access to the stream. The banks are fairly stable and well vegetated. The downstream areas that have seen very little improvement are still impacted by sedimentation due to agricultural activities.
Gravel substrate is extensively covered by sand, silt, and soft organic matter preventing a suitable habitat for fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Filling-in of pools reduces the amount of available cover for juvenile and adult fish. Sedimentation of riffle areas reduces the reproductive success of fish by reducing the exposed gravel substrate necessary for appropriate spawning conditions. Sedimentation also affects macroinvertebrate biomass (fish food source) which tends to be lower in areas with predominantly sand substrate than a stream substrate with a mix of gravel, rubble, and sand. Sedimentation also causes elevated turbidity which reduces the penetration of light necessary for photosynthesis in aquatic plants, reduces the feeding efficiency of visual predators and filter feeders, and lowers the respiratory capacity of aquatic invertebrates by clogging their gill surfaces. In addition, other contaminants such as nutrients (phosphorus) attached to sediment particles can be transported to streams during runoff events.
Coverage of the substrates with sediment constitutes an objectionable deposit under the water
quality standards criterion noted in S.NR 102.04(1) (a) cited below. The creeks are limited by
excessive sediment loading and habitat unsuitable to support a coldwater fishery.
Author Aquatic Biologist
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 (USEPA) Approved
TMDL for Sediment Impaired Streams in the Waumandee Creek Watershed - Irish Valley Creek. This TMDL project is designed to restore water resource substrate, which In most cases, the gravel substrate is extensively covered by sand, silt, and soft organic matter
preventing a suitable habitat for fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Filling-in of pools reduces the amount of available cover for juvenile and adult fish. Sedimentation of riffle areas reduces the reproductive success of fish by reducing the exposed gravel substrate necessary for
appropriate spawning conditions. Sedimentation also affects macroinvertebrate biomass (fish food source) which tends to be lower in areas with predominantly sand substrate than a stream substrate with a mix of gravel, rubble, and sand.
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|
|1811400||Unnamed||10009533||Irish Valley Creek # 1 (Us Waumandee Creek)||Map||Data|
|1811500||Unnamed||10015401||Irish Valley Creek -Bridge On Hwy E||10/5/2010||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1811400||Unnamed||10029836||Irish Valley Creek (21N10W S19 NW1/4 NW1/4)||Map||Data|
|1811400||Unnamed||10029837||Irish Valley Creek at CTH E (third upstream crossing)||Map||Data|
|1811400||Unnamed||063040||Irish Creek at Cth E||Map||Data|
|1811400||Unnamed||10031676||Irish Valley Creek at upper most CTH E xing||10/5/2010||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1811400||Unnamed||10010322||Irish Valley Creek Cth E||10/11/1990||10/3/2001||Map||Data|
|1811400||Unnamed||10049511||Irish Valley Creek - private crossing||Map||Data|
Unnamed is located in the Waumandee Creek watershed which is 221.97 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (49%), agricultural (24.60%) and a mix of grassland (13.70%) and other uses (12.60%). This watershed has 508.29 stream miles, 3,011.30 lake acres and 8,253.68 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Available for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available 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.This water is ranked High Stream for individual Rivers based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.