Stevens Creek, Bass Creek Watershed (LR03)
Stevens Creek, Bass Creek Watershed (LR03)
Stevens Creek (796300)
8.35 Miles
0 - 8.35
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.
Cool-Cold Mainstem, Warm Headwater, COOL-Warm Headwater
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
Degraded Habitat
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.
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent forage fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
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 warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
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.


Stevens Creek is a small warm water stream tributary to Bass Creek near Hanover. The stream is very turbid and its flow sluggish in its lower reaches. While flow above State Highway 11 is much stronger, obvious erosion from agricultural cropland and pasture use affects the stream's water quality. The fishery consists of forage fish although fisheries managers believe the stream could sustain a trout fishery if protected. Like Bass Creek, the water quality of Stevens Creek is affected by cropland erosion, barnyard runoff, and streambank erosion. A May 1996 habitat evaluation characterized the stream's habitat at the Mineral Point Road crossing as poor. Twenty cattle were observed standing in the stream. The stream's habitat at the Snyder Road crossing was also considered poor. The entire 8-mile length of Stevens Creek is on the 303(d) list of impaired waters.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

A seepage-fed warm water stream rising north of Footville, then flowing south to enter Bass Creek at Hanover. The fishery is composed of forage species only. Adjoining fresh meadow wetland totals 655 acres and supports a fair pheasant population. Access is available from two town roads, two country roads and one state highway crossing.

Surface Acres -5.33, Miles = 5.5, Gradient = 14.5 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.

Date  1970

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Stevens Creek, Bass Creek Watershed (LR03) Fish and Aquatic LifeStevens Creek, Bass Creek Watershed (LR03) RecreationStevens Creek, Bass Creek Watershed (LR03) Fish Consumption


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.



Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Runoff Grant
The Rock County LCD may also apply for a Targeted Runoff Management (TRM) grant through WDNR. TRM grants are competitive financial awards to support small-scale, short term projects (24 months) completed by governmental units to reduce runoff pollution. Both urban and agricultural projects can be funded through a TRM grant; however, the grants require a local contribution to the project. The state share is capped at $150,000.
Cost-Share Agreement
The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) is another option available to landowners. EQIP is a fedcost-share program administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that provides farmers with technical and financial assistance. Farmers may receive up to seventy five percent reimbursement for installing and implementing runoff management practices. Eligible projects can include: terraces, waterways, diversions, and contour strips to manage agricultural waste, promote stream buffers, and control erosion on agricultural lands.
TMDL Implementation
To reach the TMDLs in the Stevens Creek and Markham Creek watersheds best management practices such as riparian buffers and conservation tillage are encouraged in agricultural land use settings to reduce loading during high flow events. In addition to the implementation of enforceable non-point source performance standards, there are a number of voluntary programs that will assist in implementing these TMDLs.
Master Planning
Farmers may enroll in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) or similar programs to establish vegetated buffers on cropland and marginal pastures. Riparian buffers assist in making CREP a viable program for this impaired stream. A similar program available is the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which takes highly erodible land out of agricultural use. As of May 2005, 394 acres in the Markham Creek and Stevens Creek watersheds were enrolled in CRP and CREP. Of the 394 enrolled acres, 118 acres are within 20 feet of a stream or major drainage way. Of these, 82 acres are filter strips and the other 36 acres are enrolled as wetland restorations or scrape ponds for wildlife.

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

Stevens Creek is located in the Bass Creek watershed which is 113.10 miĀ². 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.

Natural Community

Stevens Creek is considered a Cool-Cold Mainstem, Warm Headwater, COOL-Warm Headwater 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 (Warm-Transition) Headwaters are small, sometimes intermittent streams with cool to warm summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are uncommon to absent, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are common to uncommon. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.

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.

Warm Headwaters are small, usually intermittent streams with warm summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are absent, transitional fishes are common to uncommon, and warm water fishes are abundant to common. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.