Fish and Aquatic Life
This large spring fed stream originates in Dane County. Above the confluence with German Valley Branch, the stream is called Big Spring Creek (see above narrative). The lower four miles of the stream are classified as a warm water sport fishery. Smallmouth bass were reported to be in this portion of the stream (Water Resources of Iowa Co).
The next 11 miles of stream are classified as a cold water fishery and a Class II trout stream. The portion upstream from the Dane County Line and including Big Spring Creek has the additional distinction as an Exceptional Resource Water. Water quality is affected by non-point source pollution, intense grazing, exposed and eroding banks, and runoff from cultivated fields and barnyards.
Author James Amrhein
Blue Mounds Branch (Gordon Creek) - Mouth location T4N R5E. Section 13 -11. Surface area = 8.8 acres, Length = 10.7 miles, Gradient = 45.3 feet per mile, Total Alkalinity = 259.6 mg/l, Volume of flow = 29.5 cfs.
This large spring fed stream, of moderate gradient, originates in Dane County where it is called Big Spring Creek and flows southwesterly into Iowa County and then southerly into Lafayette County where it joins the Eash Branch of the Pecatonica River just to the east of the municipality of Blanchardville. Principal tributaries within the county are McPease Valley and Kittleson Valley (Lee) Creeks. Possible sources of pollution in the watershed include two cheese factories which are closely monitored by the Division of Environmental Protection. The upper half of the stream is classed as good brown trout water while the lower part contains smallmouth bass. Forage fish species include the creek chub, hornyhead chub, common shiner, redbelly dace, johny darter, white and hogsuckers and bluntnose and stoneroller minnows.
From: Piening, Ronald and Threinen, C.W., 1968. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Iowa County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Gordon Creek (also known as Big Spring Creek or Blue Mounds Creek)
(miles 1.93-9.35; 9.35-14.22) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.
Author Ashley Beranek
Gordon Creek (WBIC 907300, also known as Blue Mounds Branch and Big Spring Creek) arises in Section 8 of Blue Mounds Township and flows south for about six miles to the confluence with German Valley Creek. It is considered one of the premier trout streams in Dane and Iowa counties and has been the focus of extensive habitat restoration in recent years. In Dane County Gordon Creek is classified as Exceptional Resource Waters (ERW) and has been managed as a Class II trout stream for decades. The recent interest in the creek coincided with findings that it had significantly improved.
The fish community changed over the years, from eurythermal populations to stenothermal, environmentally intolerant fish populations more typical of healthy trout streams. Surveys completed from 2007 to 2009 demonstrated that good-to-excellent trout habitat in the stream continues. Gordon Creek previously supported State Special Concern redside dace but the current cold water temperatures and brown trout predation present survival obstacles for the rare fish. Data shows improved cold water IBI scores over time with the best scores beginning in 2001. In 1994, the IBI score reflected poor cold water habitat eight years after CRP signups began. The poor coldwater conditions may have indicated a lag time for ecosystem response to improved conditions and/or lower numbers of CRP participants at that time.
The CARPC report on this watershed (2011), displays daily maximum mean temperatures and sustained cold water habitat based on Onset Hobo data loggers. Hilsenhoff Biotic Index scores from samples collected in 1994 through 2002 indicated very good water quality (HBI range 2.39-4.96, mean = 3.62). The highest HBI score (lowest water quality) coincided with a manure spill that caused a major fish kill. The favorable HBI score during that pollution event likely reflected macroinvertebrate escape into the groundwater fed hyporhyeic zone. The macroinvertebrate community in Big Spring-Gordon Creek typically supports abundant stonefly populations, primarily Isoperla signata).
Author Carpc Capital Area Rpc
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.
Monitor Fish Community
Gordon Creek - Monitoring through regional watershed assessments and USEPA Watershed Pilot Study.
Fisheries Trout Stream Habitat Maintenance and Development
Southern Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited will conduct a restoration project on Gordon Creek, a Class II Trout stream and an Exceptional Water Resource in Iowa County. This stream habitat restoration project presents opportunities for a diverse and dynamic protection and management program. Specific objectives & deliverables include: 1) installation of integrated stream bank stabilization, shaping back steep banks to reduce erosion; 2) utilizing & installing habitat techniques for native fish, non-game species, reptiles, amphibians, and plant communities; 3) the re-creation of overhead cover in the stream with structures that scour holes and add sinuosity to the stream; 4) assessment of the impact of the stream and floodplain improvement actions on water quality and wildlife; 5) regular communication about project implementation/progress through various venues; and 6) explore possibly of filming a documentary.
Fisheries Trout Stream Habitat Maintenance and Development
Southern Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited will conduct a restoration project on Gordon Creek- a Class II Trout stream and an Exceptional Water Resource in Iowa County. This stream habitat restoration project presents opportunities for a diverse and dynamic protection and management program. Specific objectives + deliverables include: 1) installation of integrated stream bank stabilization- shaping back steep banks to reduce erosion; 2) utilizing + installing habitat techniques for native fish- non-game species- reptiles- amphibians- and plant communities; 3) the re-creation of overhead cover in the stream with structures that scour holes and add sinuosity to the stream; 4) assessment of the impact of the stream and floodplain improvement actions on water quality and wildlife; 5) regular communication about project implementation/progress through various venues; and 6) explore possibly of filming a documentary
The project will take place in the Military Ridge Prairie Heritage Area. The diverse partnership of conservation organizations are protecting and restoring a patchwork of prairie stream corridors along the Dane and Iowa County border. Work funded by the grant will focus on stream corridor management on Gordon Creek, including landowner contact, planning assistance, and procuring funding.
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|
|907300||Gordon Creek||10021401||Gordon Creek - Moscow Road||7/20/2010||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|907300||Gordon Creek||10029189||Gordon Creek at County Highway H||10/23/2008||10/17/2015||Map||Data|
Gordon Creek is located in the Gordon Creek watershed which is 76.90 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily grassland (46.50%), agricultural (25.80%) and a mix of forest (24.40%) and other uses (3.30%). This watershed has 205.79 stream miles, 7.11 lake acres and 487.25 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High 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.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.