Wingra Creek, Yahara River and Lake Monona Watershed (LR08)
Wingra Creek, Yahara River and Lake Monona Watershed (LR08)
Wingra Creek (804700)
0.76 Miles
1.20 - 1.96
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.
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.
2015
Good
 
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.
No

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.
FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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.
FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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.

Overview

Rock River Water Quality Management Plan, Lower Rock River Appendix. WT-668-2002. South Central Region, WDNR.

Murphy (Wingra) Creek is a two-mile channelized stream, with an 8.6 square mile watershed, and connects Lake Wingra with Lake Monona. Murphy Creek (commonly called Wingra Creek) is often choked with weeds and is periodically stagnant due to low base flow conditions and a flat gradient of 2 feet/mile. The stream's channelization started in 1905. Water quality is poor due to urban runoff, aquatic plant growth and sedimentation. Low dissolved oxygen levels and extreme diel fluctuations from the respiration of an excessive number of aquatic plants results in occasional fish kills. Chloride levels are high, principally due to street runoff of road salt. The water is very turbid. In the past, manure from livestock holding pens at the Dane County Fairgrounds washed into Murphy Creek via storm sewers. A major fishkill in 1977 was partly caused by runoff from the fairgrounds. Heavy metals, DDT metabolites, and PCBs have been detected in sediment samples taken from the creek. Despite these problems the creek seasonally supports good populations of bluegills and forage fish. Walleye and northern pike are also present during spawning. The creek is classified as a warm water sport fishery and is a popular fishing and canoeing water.

The city of Madison has designed and implemented during 1996 a streambank stabilization project on the creek between Fish Hatchery Road and Park Street. A bike path travels the length of Wingra Creek, which makes it highly accessible. The potential for recreational use of the creek is very high. WDNR and the city of Madison may work together to enhance the creek's habitat. A central issue for improving the creek's water quality and fisheries value is restoring the creek's water levels by minimizing human-induced fluctuations.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Murphy Creek (Wlngra Creek) -T7N, R9E, Sec. 25, Surface acres = 10, Length = 2.5 miles, Stream order = II, Gradient = 2.0 ft/mile, Base discharge = 0.1 cfs.
This channeled stream connects Lake Wingra to Lake Monona and the Yahara River system. The stream is often choked with weeds and is periodically stagnant. The stream is navigable by canoe but there are two low head dams. Water quality is poor due to the highly municipal and industrial aspect of the watershed. Dissolved oxygen levels are frequently low (Dane Cty. Reg. Plann. Comm. 1979a) and chloride levels are high. Manure from livestock shows at the Dane County Exposition Center washes into storm sewers which lead to Murphy Creek. A severe fishkill in 1977, in which 27,000 fish died, was partly attributable to this runoff. Murphy Creek also receives non contact cooling water from at least four industries. It supports good populations of bluegllls and forage species. Walleye and northern pike are present during the spawning season. Hybrid muskies enter the lower end at Lake Monona. Low flow and low dissolved oxygen levels limit the fishery of Murphy Creek at the present time. Access is available at several road crossings and nearly all stream frontage is in public ownership, either as parkway or the University of Wisconsin Arboretum. A good boat ramp on the lower end at 0lin Park provides access to Lake Monona. Fish specIes: common carp, northern pike, hybrid muskie, golden and emerald shiner, bluntnose and fathead minnow, white sucker, bigmouth buffalo, black bullhead, bluegill, largemouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch, and walleye.

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

Wingra Creek, Yahara River and Lake Monona Watershed (LR08) Fish and Aquatic LifeWingra Creek, Yahara River and Lake Monona Watershed (LR08) RecreationWingra Creek, Yahara River and Lake Monona Watershed (LR08) Fish Consumption

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

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.
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.
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.
Runoff Grant
TSS reduced 423lbs, 20%:SLAMM; bank protected 1610ft, bank erosion reduced 16tons
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Data is from 2007 and would recommend NOT listing. This would be a possible site for future Temp monitoring. AU: 5533632; ID: 10012488

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

Wingra Creek is located in the Yahara River and Lake Monona watershed which is 93.73 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily suburban (24.80%), urban (23.90%) and a mix of agricultural (14.50%) and other uses (36.90%). This watershed has 101.97 stream miles, 6,275.33 lake acres and 5,158.72 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Available for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available 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

Wingra Creek is considered a 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.

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.