Fish and Aquatic Life
Braezel’s Branch Creek is a seven-mile stream in Green County that flows westward into Lafayette County where it converges with the Lower East Branch Pecatonica River. The lower four miles of the stream are on the 303(d) list because of habitat degradation and sedimentation from non-point source pollution. This stream currently supports a warm water forage fishery, but has the potential to support a cold-water fish community. A fish shocking survey conducted in 1990 showed the presence of tolerant and very tolerant warm water forage species. An additional fish survey conducted in 2002 at Hwy 81 found 25 brown trout ranging between 4.6-16.7 inches in length, as well as several other tolerant species. The CWIBI score was 20, rating the stream integrity as poor. Macroinvertebrate sampling conducted in 1990 at Hwy 81 indicated “very good” water quality although the streambank substrate was predominantly sand with little gravel or rock, and streambank erosion had reduced habitat. At an upstream segment, a WDNR aquatic biologist observed moderate levels of fine sediment (60% sand, 40% silt) with a width: depth ratio of 10:1.
According to WDNR habitat ratings, both observations rate the habitat as fair. In the judgement of WDNR staff, the downstream segment should have a higher percentage of fine sediments covering the substrate, which should negatively impact the downstream habitat rating. Past resource objectives were to improve wildlife habitat, to protect and restore wetlands, and to reduce bank erosion.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Braezels Branch originates in Green County and flows westerly to the East Branch of the Pecatonica River. The major bottom type is sand. Although good volume of flow is maintained throughout the year, the principal fishery consists only of forage fishes. Waterfowl assets are very limited since marshland is lacking. Muskrats are common, especially near the mouth. Land in its watershed area within the county is classified as mostly agricultural. It is accessible within the county from a town road bridge.
Braezels Branch, T3N, R5E, Sections 36-12, Surface acres = 0.7, Miles = 1.0, Gradient = 0.0 feet per mile (within county): Total alkalinity = 282 mg/l, Volume of flow = 2.0 cfs.
From: Piening, Ronald; Poff, Ronald; Threinen, C.W., 1967. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Lafayette County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Former note for headwater section: This AU was formerly 4-7 mi
Author Ashley Beranek
Braezels Branch (Mile 4.06 to 5.87) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Total phosphorus sample data also clearly met thresholds. This water was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.
Author Amanda Smith
This stream originates in Green County and flows westward primarily through pastureland. It enters Lafayette County where it converges with the East Branch Pecatonica River. The warm water forage stream is on the state’s list of impaired waters, but has the potential to be a cool-cold water stream. A fish shocking survey conducted in 1990 showed the presence of tolerant and very tolerant warm water forage fish species. Macroinvertebrate sampling conducted that same year indicated very good water quality although the streambank substrate was predominantly sand and streambank erosion reduced habitat (Marshall, 1991). The objectives of the priority watershed project were to improve wildlife habitat, increase diversity of forage species, protect and restore wetlands and to reduce bank erosion.
Sampling in 2007 generally confirmed what was reported during the 1990's. Even though the stream is stocked routinely with brown, brook and rainbow trout, there does not appear to be much carry-over from year to year. Tolerant fish dominate the assemblage though no species is present in very high numbers. This is likely due to lack of habitat rather that water quality. The stream meanders through wet meadow and agricultural land. The HBI continues to indicate low organic loading and Gammarus pseudolimnaeus, an indicator of high groundwater flow, dominate the macroinvertebrate assemblage. The stream may be too cool to harbor a large variety of eurythermal species with a preference for warmer water, and devoid enough of habitat needed to accommodate cool/coldwater indicators and especially top level predators. Braezels Branch should remain on the list of impaired waters. If the department continues stocking the stream, regular surveys should be conducted to determine survivability of the trout.
Author James Amrhein
Braezels Branch, from its mouth to unnamed stream (WBIC 5040486) (miles 0 to 4), was put on the impaired waters list in 1998 for total suspended solids and degraded habitat. A TMDL for this waterbody was approved by EPA in 2005.
Author Ashley Beranek
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.
TMDL (USEPA) Approved
Braezels Br TMDL Approved
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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|900700||Braezels Br||10009484||Braezels Branch Upstream Of Hwy 81||4/24/1990||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|900700||Braezels Br||233218||Braezels Br - Braezels Br Private Dr. S 31||Map||Data|
Braezels Br is located in the Lower East Branch Pecatonica Rivers watershed which is 144.80 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily grassland (44.90%), agricultural (35.10%) and a mix of forest (16%) and other uses (3.90%). This watershed has 370.96 stream miles, 107.68 lake acres and 2,029.49 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.This water is ranked High Stream for individual Rivers based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.