Crawfish River, Lower Crawfish River Watershed (UR02)
Crawfish River, Lower Crawfish River Watershed (UR02)
Crawfish River (829700)
9.90 Miles
11.04 - 20.94
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, Macroinvertebrate, No Classification, Warm Headwater, Warm Mainstem, 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.
2016
Excellent
 
Dodge, Jefferson
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

Watershed Management staff (WM) with the assistance of local conservation and fishing organizations, should improve habitat along the Crawfish River by installing habitat improvement structures (wing dams, tree drops, LUNKER structures, etc.) that increase depth and improve cover.

The Dodge County Land Conservation Department, with the assistance of WM staff and local conservation or fishing organizations, should reduce bank erosion along the Crawfish River by installing shoreline protection and by keeping cattle away from the stream.

WM staff should evaluate the feasibility of removing of the Danville dam on the Crawfish River should the dam partially or completely fail or be in need of major repairs.

WM staff should analyze northern pike, largemouth bass, and carp in the Crawfish River below Milford and from Mud Lake (Mud Lake is in UR03) for PCBs and mercury, and carp only for chlordane, dieldrin and DDT.

From: Johnson, Ruth C., 2002. The State of the Rock River Basin. Upper Rock River Watershed Management Plans.
PUBL # WT-668b-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Overview

The Crawfish River below Columbus is wide, shallow and sluggish. The river was once narrower and deeper and supported stands of wild rice (WDNR, 1994). Primarily agricultural land use over the past 150 years has altered the river to its present condition. The stream partially supports a viable warm water sport fishery. The river's shallowness, bank erosion and lack of cover is suspected of limiting habitat for adult game fish in reaches that have been surveyed. Channel catfish and smallmouth bass dominate the sport fishery.

The reach immediately below the Danville dam has a diverse fish community and is ranked "good," using a 1989 Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) (Kanehl and Lyons, 1989). However, a freshwater mussel study conducted in 1992 indicated that there was no viable mussel community in the Crawfish River below Danville. The loss of the mussels is due to the degraded system's poor water quality, which is also expressed by poor instream habitat, few minnows, and no reptiles, amphibians or waterfowl (WDNR, 1994). While a 1987 fish survey reported that the river's viable sport fishery could be improved by selective streambank and instream habitat restoration, the survey also suggested that removing the dam would improve instream habitat by narrowing and deepening the stream in its lower reaches (WDNR, 1994).

In 2000, comprehensive baseline monitoring was conducted by the DNR on the river. The results show that the evaluated section of the Crawfish River was in fair condition.

The City of Columbus is located about 25 miles northeast of Madison. Development pressures on the community, likely to increase over the next 10 years due to the city's proximity to Madison, contributes polluted runoff and reduces the quality and availability of habitat in the basin.

The Crawfish River and the Columbus Millpond are the primary water features. The Columbus wastewater treatment plant has experienced bypassing in 1998 due to unusually heavy rains.
The City of Lake Mills is on the east shore of Rock Lake in Jefferson County. The community and lake are under development pressure due to their proximity to Madison and Interstate 94. Construction site erosion problems have occurred. The Jefferson County LCD has been very active in working to improve construction site erosion control in the area. The community's wastewater treatment plant is in good operating condition.

Communities in the Crawfish River Watershed could further protect the Rock River by enacting and enforcing construction site erosion control and stormwater management ordinances, improving enforcement of existing construction site erosion control provisions, and acquiring parkland and natural areas adjacent the river and along drainageways leading to the river.

From: Johnson, Ruth C., 2002. The State of the Rock River Basin. Upper Rock River Watershed Management Plans.
PUBL # WT-668b-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Crawfish River T10N, R12E, Section 12, Surface Acres = 85.5, Miles = 28.2, Gradient = 4.58 feet per mile.
Headquarters of a major stream of the Rock River watershed, this stream
flows first northeast, then southeast to drain much of eastern Columbia County.
There are two major tributaries, Robbins Creek and North Branch, Crawfish River.
Effects of impoundment at Columbus are felt more than a mile upstream. Bullheads,
crappies, smallmouth bass, northern pike and walleyes are present; however, the
fishery is primarily for northern pike. Buffalo, carp and suckers support an extensive
spring dip-net fishery. Carp and pollution are major use problems. Access
is possible at several county, town and state highway crossings. About 1,461 acres
of wetland adjoin the stream.

From: Poff, Ronald J. and C.W. Threinen, 1965. Surface Water Resources of Columbia County:
Lake and Stream Classification Project. Wisconsin Department of Conservation, Madison, WI.

Date  1965

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Crawfish River, Lower Crawfish River Watershed (UR02) Fish and Aquatic LifeCrawfish River, Lower Crawfish River Watershed (UR02) RecreationCrawfish River, Lower Crawfish River Watershed (UR02) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Crawfish River (829700) from Hwy 151 to its headwaters was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus and sediment/total suspended solids in 2014. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus sample data exceeded 2016 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 existing impaired waters listing is needed.

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson

Impaired Waters

Crawfish River (Jefferson to Rock Creek) (WBIC 829700) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceed 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds 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).

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
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands
Sewer Service Area Planning
The City of Beaver Dam water quality plan is developed as part of the water quality management plans for Dodge County as well as the Rock River basin.

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

Crawfish River is located in the Lower Crawfish River watershed which is 177.65 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (66.50%), grassland (11.20%) and a mix of wetland (10.70%) and other uses (11.60%). This watershed has 331.66 stream miles, 1,780.53 lake acres and 12,199.86 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Low 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

Crawfish River is considered a Coldwater, Macroinvertebrate, No Classification, Warm Headwater, Warm Mainstem, 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.

Warm Mainstem waters are moderate-to-large but still wadeable perennial streams with relatively warm summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are absent, transitional fishes are common to uncommon, and warm water fishes are abundant to common. Headwater species are common to absent, mainstem species are abundant to common, and river species are common to absent.

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.

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.

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