Legler School Br, Little Sugar River Watershed (SP14)
Legler School Br, Little Sugar River Watershed (SP14)
Legler School Branch (882900)
5.49 Miles
0.01 - 5.50
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
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
Degraded Habitat
Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
 
Green
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.
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.
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.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.

Overview

Legler School Branch is a nine-mile spring fed stream in the Little Sugar River watershed that flows easterly into the
Little Sugar River near New Glarus, WI. The Legler School Branch sub-watershed is 4 square miles and is used
primarily for agriculture. The entire stream is listed on the 303(d) list due to degraded habitat, with sediment as the
primary nonpoint source pollutant. The 1985 Surface Waters of Green County reported that bank cover was generally
good and erosion was only a problem during periods of heavy runoff.

In 2001, it was noted that there were signs of
severe bank erosion downstream from Legler Valley Road and cows had access to the stream. A structured habitat
survey completed upstream from the 2nd Street bridge crossing in 2004 shows the stream’s bottom consists of greater
than 60 percent fine sediments (68 percent silt and clay) in pools, riffles, and runs. According to WDNR habitat rating
guidelines this is considered poor habitat. In addition, a WDNR aquatic biologist made visual observations of the
stream, noting that it was wide and shallow with highly eroded banks. Department staffs believe that sediment
deposition has caused the stream to widen and become shallower to the point that it is considered poor habitat.

Legler School Branch currently supports a limited forage fishery with the potential to support a warm water forage fishery or
perhaps a cold water fishery. The fishery has been shown to be severely limited with one 2001 survey finding only
one fathead minnow in an upstream location. Interestingly, a fish survey completed at a downstream location in 2004
found four brown trout ranging from 8.7-11.7 inches in length, one largemouth bass, and a large number of cold water
indicator species such as mottled sculpin and brook stickleback. The CWIBI score for this segment of the stream was
50, which indicates “fair” coldwater biotic integrity. The abundance of cool-water species and the consequently high
IBI score at this location could be due to the cool and wet nature of the summer when the survey was performed.
Further fish, habitat, and temperature monitoring would be required to accurately determine the thermal regime of this
stream.

Date  2005

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Overview

This stream is on the state’s list of impaired (303d) waters because of habitat degradation due to nonpoint source pollution. The 1985 Surface Waters of Green County reports the bank cover is generally good and erosion is only a problem during periods of heavy runoff. The stream’s bottom mainly consists of rubble or hardpan, with silt deposited in flatter areas. Despite this, there are signs of severe bank erosion downstream from Legler Valley Road and cows have access to the stream (Amrhein, 2001). The fishery is severely limited with one survey finding only one fathead minnow (Bush, 2001).

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

This stream is on the state’s list of impaired (303d) waters because of habitat degradation due to nonpoint source pollution. The 1985 Surface Waters of Green County reports the bank cover is generally good and erosion is only a problem during periods of heavy runoff. The stream’s bottom mainly consists of rubble or hardpan, with silt deposited in flatter areas. Despite this, there are signs of severe bank erosion downstream from Legler Valley Road and cows have access to the stream (Amrhein, pers. obs). The fishery is severely limited with one survey finding only one fathead minnow (reference).

Date  1985

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Originating from a spring in Section 18, this small warm water stream flows eastward through a long narrow valley and joins the Little Sugar River below New Glarus. The entire valley floor is devoted to agriculture with the stream meandering through open pasture in the upper half and cropland in the lower half.

Only the lowest one-half mile is ditched. Bank cover is generally good, with grass and sedges in the pastured areas and a narrow bank of trees and shrubs in the cropland. The steeper valley slopes are wooded. The stream's moderate gradient maintains a bottom of rubble or hardpan and silt is deposited in the flatter areas. Erosion is a problem only during periods of heavy runoff. The fishery is severely restricted with a survey finding only one fathead minnow. Wildlife values are also poor, limited to a few muskrats. Access is available from three public road crossings. Fish Species: Fathead minnow.

Surface Acres = 3.6. Length = 5.0 Miles, Gradient = 40 ft./mi.. Base Discharge = 4.2 cu. ft./sec. Bush, D.M., R. Cornelius, D. Engle, and C.L. Brynildson. 1980. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Green County, 2nd Edition. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, Wisconsin.

Date  1980

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Recommendations

Monitor or Propose 303(d) Listing
Legler School and Pioneer Valley Creeks
Monitor Targeted Watershed Area (TWA)
This project will evaluate the effectiveness of practices on both of these streams which are on the 303(d) list because of habitat degradation caused by sedimentation. HUC12 070900040402.

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

Legler School Br is located in the Little Sugar River watershed which is 133.02 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (46.80%), grassland (32.10%) and a mix of forest (13.90%) and other uses (7.00%). This watershed has 351.74 stream miles, 50.40 lake acres and 3,252.10 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Ranked 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.This water is ranked High Stream for individual Rivers based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.

Natural Community

Legler School Branch is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold 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 (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.