Dodge Branch, Upper East Branch Pecatonica River Watershed (SP06)
Dodge Branch, Upper East Branch Pecatonica River Watershed (SP06)
Dodge Branch (910800)
9.44 Miles
0 - 9.44
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.
Cool-Cold Mainstem, Cool-Warm Mainstem
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.
This river is impaired
Degraded Habitat
Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
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.
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.
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.

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.
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.
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.
Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
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.


Dodge Branch is a tributary to the East Branch Pecatonica River. Although a Class II trout stream for 10 miles of its length (WDNR, 1980), it is not being actively managed for trout due to poor survival rate (Schlesser, 198834). The upper two miles of the stream are classified as limited forage fishery waters. Dodgeville discharges its treated wastewater effluent in the headwaters reach of the stream. Urban runoff has also caused water quality and quantity problems in the headwaters reach (Van Dyck, 1994). Water quality is assumed to be generally good. Sedimentation is a problem with exposed and eroding banks and some intense grazing of banks in some spots (WDNR, 1992-931). The slender madtom, an endangered species, has been found in this stream and wetland areas along this stream include one high quality southern sedge meadow complex.

Date  2004

Author   Aquatic Biologist


This 22-mile stream has the third largest watershed area of any stream system that lies wholly within the county. Originating as a spring fed tributary near the city of Dodgeville, it flows southeastward to the East Branch of the Pecatonica River. Along the way, the tributaries of Blotz, Conley-Lewis, Gribble, Lynch, Simmons, and Whitford Creeks feed into the Dodge Branch. The unnamed cold water streams that come together in the upper reaches of the Dodge Branch allow a certain portion of the creek to support trout. However, stormwater, hydraulic manipulation, streambank pasturing, and woodlot pasturing all take their toll on the stream.

The reach from the headwaters to CTH Y suffers from impacts due to urban non-point pollution as well as discharge from the municipal wastewater treatment plant. The communities of Dodgeville and Hollandale both dischage their wastewater to the stream. While the headwaters of the stream have a codified use as a limited forage fishery and warm water sport fishery, a 1998 stream classification survey showed that the impacts from the upstream sources limits its current, and potential use, to supporting warm water forage fish (Marshall memo). The results of a 2001 baseline survey seem to confirm this with mainly tolerant, warm water forage fish, and white sucker in particular, being the predominant species.

The last 10 miles of stream are managed as a warm water sport fishery. Turbidity is often a problem. Brown trout are stocked in the section of stream from CTH Y downstream to CTH W. A 1998 survey conducted to look at trout management potential concluded that expansion of the trout water designation was highly unlikely (Simms, pers. Com.).

In 2001 channel catfish were stocked in the area of CTH Z and northern pike, bluegill and crappie stocked in the CTH Y area of Section 12, T5N, R3E. Subsequent shocking runs were unable to turn up any of the stocked fish, but did indicate plenty of forage for the fish to feed on (Van Dyke memo).

Hydrologic modifications present problems for fish migration. The box culvert under Blotz Road as well as the culvert under the USH 151 bypass create barriers to upstream movement of fish (Van Dyke memo).

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Dodge Branch - Mouth location T'5N R5E Section 29 -16, Surface area = 31.2 acres, Length = 2.0 miles, Gradient = 15.4 feet per mile, Total alkalinity 290.9 mg/l, Volume of flow = 17.2 cfs.

Dodge Branch flows southeasterly as a spring fed tributary of the East Branch of the Pecatonica River. Its base flow amounts to slightly over 50 percent of that of the East Branch of the Pecatonica River as the latter is measured just above the Iowa-Lafayette County line. Its fairly low gradient does not alleviate flooding, which is one of its most serious problems, principally because over 85 percent of its watershed area is farmed. Beef cattle grazing is one of the chief agricultural uses of the land in this respect. It has the third largest watershed area of any stream system which lies wholly within the county. Principal tributaries include the Blotz, Conley-Lewis, Gribble, Lynch, Simmons, and Whitford Creeks. The combined volume of flow of these streams is equal to about 56 percent of the total base flow of Dodge Branch. The largest spring in the county (Ryans Spring -2.6 cfs) is located about one-quarter mile from the mainstem and has been enlarged to form a trout pond. Several possible sources of pollution occur in the watershed, including the Dodgeville Sewage Treatment Plant, runoff from old mine dumps, a dairy and a cheese factory. They are all closely monitored by the Division of Environmental Protection.

Waterfowl and marshland furbearers utilize the stream throughout its length but are most common in the lower sections of the stream. Muskrats and raccoons are particularly common near the mouth. The principal species comprising the sport fishery are smallmouth bass, bullheads and green sunfish, but brown trout are found in the middle one-third of its length where several spring fed tributaries enter. Brown trout are stocked i'n this section on an annual basis. Catfish have been stocked by local sportsmen but their success has not been proven. Seining surveys show that the forage fish population includes bluntnose and stoneroller minnows, redhorse, white and hognose suckers, hornyhead and creek chubs, johnny darters, creek chubs, common shiners, redbelly dace and stonecats. There are at least nine farm ponds and three private fish hatcheries in the watershed. Besides serving as erosion control structures they support trout and largemouth bass-panfish populations which further contribute to fishery resources of the basin. There are no public lands but the stream is accessible from 10 road crossings.

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.

Date  1968

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Dodge Branch, Upper East Branch Pecatonica River Watershed (SP06) Fish and Aquatic LifeDodge Branch, Upper East Branch Pecatonica River Watershed (SP06) RecreationDodge Branch, Upper East Branch Pecatonica River Watershed (SP06) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Dodge Branch (910800) from CTH Y to the headwaters was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use and biological impairment was observed (i.e. at least one macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the poor condition category).

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson


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 Water Quality or Sediment
Category 4A. 2018 TP Results: May Exceed. Station 253098. AU: 13747.

Standards Details

This segment from CTH Y downstream to CTH W at Jonesdale is a trout water.

Date  1980

Author   Aquatic Biologist

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 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

Dodge Br is located in the Upper East Branch Pecatonica River watershed which is 140.18 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily grassland (52.10%), agricultural (22.10%) and a mix of forest (20.70%) and other uses (5.10%). This watershed has 395.65 stream miles, 61.72 lake acres and 834.33 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

Dodge Branch is considered a Cool-Cold Mainstem, Cool-Warm Mainstem under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results and 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) Mainstem streams are moderate-to-large but still wadeable perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are common to absent, mainstem species are abundant to common, and river species are common to absent.

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