Fish and Aquatic Life
A shallow, warm water stream, originating in west-central Rock County, flowing southeasterly and entering the Rock River near Afton. A low head dam at Afton creates a wide spot in the river. The fishery is dominated by forage species, although a few smallmouth bass are present. Small areas of fresh meadow and shallow marsh wetland totaling about 1,035 acres are scattered along the length of the stream, but have little wildlife value. Access is possible from nine bridge crossings.
Surface Acres = 49.28, Miles = 16.94, Gradient = 7.1 feet per mile.
From: Ball, Joseph R., and Ronald J. Poff, Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Rock County, Department of Natural Resources, 1970.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Bass Creek is classified as a warm water sport fishery, consisting of forage fish and some smallmouth bass, particularly in its lower end. A fish survey of this creek identified: northern pike; stoneroller; carp; bigmouth, common, spotfin, sand and redfin shiners; southern redbelly and blacknose dace; central, bluntnose, brassy, and fathead minnows; creek chub; white and northern hog suckers; brook stickleback; green sunfish; fantail, johnny, banded, and backside darters; and mottled sculpin.
The creek flows through a predominantly agricultural area in its middle and upper portions. The lower reach flows through a wooded floodplain area. Much of the middle and upper portions have been ditched and straightened and there is a minimal buffer between cultivated fields and the streambank. Two small wastewater treatment plants discharge to Bass Creek. A dam at Afton obstructs fish migration up and down Bass Creek. The dam is in very poor condition. Local residents want to retain the dam and its impoundment, but the costs of dam repair, including the required fish migration structures, is beyond their means. From an environmental standpoint, the best thing for water quality and fisheries of Bass Creek would be the removal of the dam.
A 1996 habitat survey that included two stretches of this creek showed cropland on either side of the stream up to the stream banks, drain tiles on agricultural fields, feeding the stream and contributing to high flows, and barnyard runoff and cropland erosion degrading the stream. At the Old Highway 11 crossing, the stream's habitat was rated as “good to fair” and at the Dorner Road crossing, habitat was rated as “fair.” There are springs and seeps in the area and as a result the water is usually clear.
The Rock County Land Conservation Department believes best management practices would work well in this watershed because the acceptance of conservation practices in this area has been good in the past. About 3.4 miles of streambank have an erosion problem. Bass Creek has been designated an Exceptional Resource Water under the state's antidegradation program as it supports the redfin shiner, a fish on the state's threatened and endangered species list.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Bass Creek (795800) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2014. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, available biological data do not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.
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.
Water Quality Planning
Project: Bass Creek (LR03) Watershed Planning
Monitor Watershed (Status,Sources,Impairments)
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|
|795800||Bass Creek||543064||Bass Creek at Johnson Rd Brg||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||543093||Bass Creek - Just Ab Confl Rock River||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||543271||Bass Creek - Dorner Rd||7/1/1992||5/21/1997||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||10010930||Bass Creek at Johnson Rd||7/11/2013||9/16/2015||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||10012069||Bass Creek - Upstream Of Dorner Rd.||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||10014413||Bass Creek-Us Kessler Rd (Johnson Rd) 370 M To End Gps||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||10007641||Bass Creek at Sth 11||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||10045086||Phragmites Occurrence - Bass Creek at Johnson Rd||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||543251||Bass Creek at Dorner Rd Bridge||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||543216||Bass Creek - Just Ab Mouth||9/24/1975||7/13/1981||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||10032569||Bass Creek above Plymouth San Dist 1 Stp||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||543061||Bass Creek at Schaffner Rd Bridge||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||543256||Bass Creek at Afton at Cth D||6/12/1997||10/24/2017||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||10010931||Bass Creek - Bass Creek At Cty D||5/24/2010||6/15/2020||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||543058||Bass Creek at Depot St.-Footville||7/24/1979||7/24/1979||Map||Data|
|795800||Bass Creek||543062||Bass Creek at Cth H Bridge||4/29/1991||4/29/1991||Map||Data|
Bass Creek is located in the Bass Creek watershed which is 113.10 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (68.90%), grassland (10.80%) and a mix of suburban (7.10%) and other uses (13.20%). This watershed has 210.28 stream miles, 79.27 lake acres and 2,685.49 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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.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.