Door Creek, Yahara River and Lake Kegonsa Watershed (LR06)
Door Creek, Yahara River and Lake Kegonsa Watershed (LR06)
Door Creek (802800)
14.02 Miles
0 - 14.02
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 Headwater, Cool-Warm Headwater, Cool-Warm 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.
2019
Poor
 
This river is impaired
Impairment Unknown
Total Phosphorus
 
Dane
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.
No
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.
No
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.
Yes

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.
WWFF
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.
WWSF
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.
LFF
Streams capable of supporting small populations of forage fish or tolerant macro-invertebrates that are tolerant of organic pollution. Typically limited due to naturally poor water quality or habitat deficiencies. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 3 mg/L.

Overview

Door Creek, a tributary to the Yahara River entering at Lake Kegonsa, begins as a small stream in the southeast corner of the Town of Burke, and flows south 12.7 miles to Lake Kegonsa. Door Creek and its tributaries drain 29.5 square miles of rolling agricultural land in the drumlin-marsh area of eastern Dane County. It has a gradient of 2.4 feet/mile and surface area of 12.3 acres.
Door Creek is a relatively sluggish stream subject to high temperatures and low flow. Formerly, wastewater from the sewage lagoon in Cottage Grove entered through a small tributary. In 1982 the sewage was re-directed to MMSD. Compared to predevelopment conditions, groundwater discharge to Door Creek has been reduced an estimated 28% due to area wide pumping and wastewater diversion.
Door Creek enters on the north shore of Lake Kegonsa and has been channelized and ditched along its entire length. Soil loss in the watershed from cropland erosion is high and the stream bottom is covered with silt. This sedimentation decreases the amount of adequate aquatic habitat, increases the turbidity of the water and affects the creek s temperature. In addition, large portions of the adjacent wetlands have been drained. Much of Door Creek has been straightened and ditched to facilitate drainage and provide more agricultural land. Drainage projects date back to 1919 when the Door Creek Drainage District was organized. At that time about 5,000 acres of wetland were reportedly too wet for agricultural use. By the late 1950s, only 1,280 acres of wetland remained in the Door Creek watershed. Due to continued draining, only about 800 acres remain. A large, shallow marsh near the mouth of the stream, however, provides excellent northern pike spawning grounds. Waterfowl and upland game birds also use the area. Water quality in the stream is poor and some stretches have 4-6 feet of silt under 2 feet of water. Drainage of wetlands and poor soil conservation practices within the watershed contributes to high phosphorous and inorganic nitrogen loading from Door Creek to Lake Kegonsa.
Door Creek s physical characteristics and low flow limit the fishery to forage species. The most common fish species include common and spotfin shiner, mud minnow, bluntnose minnow, creek chub, white sucker, black bullhead, brook stickleback, bluegill, and johnny darter. Water quality improvements have been documented and the stream should be upgraded to a warm water forage fishery or warm water sport fishery.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Overview

The Door Creek Wetlands are a shallow marsh with stands of cattail, which sits on a major peat deposit of the Yahara River Valley. The north end of the peat deposit is drier than the southern area, with sedge meadow and shrubs. Peat disturbance caused primarily by changes to Door Creek s course for agricultural purposes has a major nutrient impact on the Yahara River. This high quality wetland complex at the mouth of Door Creek provides excellent habitat for northern pike spawning and sandhill crane nesting; the cranes are expanding their range into the area.

The largest threats to the wetland complex are the rapid growth of the Cottage Grove area, development and changes to areas along Door Creek, and the impacts of the drainage district upstream of the wetland complex. The upper reaches of Door Creek have been ditched and farmed extensively. Tile drains and channelization of the creek through the wetland has impaired the wetlands functional values. Door Creek s ditched water course is lined with dense and disturbance vegetation, reducing its filtering ability. Therefore, nutrient and sediment input into Lake Kegonsa is very high from this source.

In its channeled condition, Door Creek provides access to important spawning areas in the wetlands, especially in the extreme southern part where the ditch has collapsed. In other areas of the wetland the reproductive potential is significantly limited by the ditch, especially in the spring when the floodwaters subside and the small fry become trapped behind the berms lining the ditch. The natural reproduction of northern pike in Door Creek and Lake Kegonsa could be substantially improved by providing more access into the interior marsh areas through lateral connections with the ditch.
In 1992 the Friends of Lake Kegonsa (FOLKS) received a Lake Planning Grant from DNR. The resulting report examined the existing condition of the Door Creek wetlands at the mouth of the stream and looked at sediment loading rates, peak flow hydrographs, and channel morphology of the stream through the wetlands. The report concluded the wetland had several outstanding features:
h An extensive, relatively diverse vegetation base that supports a wide array of associated wildlife
h A streamside location with marsh edges and openings that provide important spawning habitat for game and forage fishes. A lakeside location that offers aesthetic and recreational resources for residents and visitors to enjoy

The report also recommended against using the wetland as a sediment trap due to the detrimental effect on the existing wetland ecosystem. The report identified a number of best management practices (BMPs) to control sediment in the Door Creek sub-watershed (Mead & Hunt).
A second Lake Planning Grant was awarded to FOLKS and the Dane County Regional Planning Commission (DCRPC) in 1998 to do a follow-up study looking at what could be done in the sub-watershed to improve the conditions of the marsh. The plan developed a comprehensive wetland resource protection plan tailored to the Door Creek wetland with special emphasis placed on restoring and enhancing the functional role of the wetlands as well as their associated benefits. The County Board approved the plan on April 18, 2000.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Door Creek -T6N, RIOE, Sec. 13, Surface acres = 12.3, Length = 12.7 miles, Stream order = II, Gradient = 2.4 ft/mile,
Base discharge = 9.4 cfs.
This tributary to the Yahara River system enters on the north shore of Lake Kegonsa and has been channelized along its entire length. Soil loss in the watershed is high and the stream bottom is silt covered. A large, shallow marsh near the mouth of the stream provides excellent northern pike spawning grounds. Waterfowl and upland game birds also use the area. There were 1,280 acres of wetlands in the watershed in the late 1950's (Poff and Threinen 1962), but due to continued draining, only about 800 acres remain. Water quality in the stream is poor. Drainage of wetlands and poor soil conservation practices within the watershed contribute to high phosphorous and inorganic nitrogen loading.
Wastewater from the sewage lagoon for the Village of Cottage Grove formerly entered through a small tributary. Sewage from Cottage Grove now goes through the metropolitan Madison system. Door Creek's physical characteristics and low flow limit the fishery to forage species. Improvements in water quality would, however, be beneficial to Lake Kegonsa. Access is available at eight road crossings and from the Yahara River system. Fish species: common and spotfin shiner, bluntnose minnow, creek chub, white sucker, black bullhead, brook stickleback, blueglll, and Johnny darter.

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

Door Creek, Yahara River and Lake Kegonsa Watershed (LR06) Fish and Aquatic LifeDoor Creek, Yahara River and Lake Kegonsa Watershed (LR06) RecreationDoor Creek, Yahara River and Lake Kegonsa Watershed (LR06) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of Door Creek showed continued 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 (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 the existing impaired waters listing was needed.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

Door Creek (802800) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2012. 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). This water was also assessed for temperature and sample data did not exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson

Condition

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.

Reports

Recommendations

Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands

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

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

Door Creek is located in the Yahara River and Lake Kegonsa watershed which is 126.33 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (54.90%), grassland (10.70%) and a mix of wetland (10.30%) and other uses (24.20%). This watershed has 145.73 stream miles, 3,600.04 lake acres and 6,832.19 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Medium for runoff impacts on streams, Low 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

Door Creek is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Warm Headwater, Cool-Warm 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 (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) Headwaters are small, usually perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon (<10 per 100 m), transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.

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