Rountree Br , Little Platte River Watershed (GP03)
Rountree Br , Little Platte River Watershed (GP03)
Rountree Br (946000)
2.98 Miles
6.85 - 9.83
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 Headwater, Macroinvertebrate
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.
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.
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.
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.


Rountree Branch is a seepage and spring fed tributary to the Little Platte River just west of Platteville. The stream is considered a smallmouth bass nursery in its lower reaches. In the 1960's the stream was considered to have no fisheries value due pollution from various sources in and near Platteville (Smith and Ball, 1972). These sources included industrial and municipal point sources, abandoned mining waste piles, and urban and agricultural non-point sources of pollution. Water quality and instream habitat conditions have improved generally since then and the stream is capable of supporting at least a limited sport fishery (Fix, 1991). Recent evaluations by fisheries biologists have resulted in a recommendation to consider 6 miles of Rountree as a class II trout fishery (WDNR,2000).

While conditions have improved, there are still problems. The State Laboratory of Hygiene biomonitoring tests done in 1998 showed that water samples taken from Rountree were chronically toxic to Ceriodaphnia dubia, a small aquatic organism. Metals are the most likely source of the toxicity (Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, 1998). Elevated zinc levels in the water column have been detected in some monitoring done in 1996 at one location on the stream and recent monitoring has shown that the concentration of lead, zinc and copper increased dramatically during a large rainfall event (WDNR, 1998; Marshall 1999). In addition, urban non-point sources of pollution from Platteville and agricultural non-point sources are still a problem.

The City of Platteville’s wastewater treatment plant discharges to Rountree Branch. It is a generally well-run facility. GHC Evergreen Village, Inc. on the east edge of Platteville also has a permitted wastewater discharge to the stream. In 1999, a dairy processing operation requested water quality based limits be determined for a proposed discharge to Rountree.

A local group has been formed in Platteville to enhance Rountree Branch. The primary goals of this group are to establish a sport fishery in one reach of the stream and build a recreational trail along the stream. Overall, there are a variety of groups interested Rountree Branch. For a complete list of groups and their activities, see Volume 2.

Date  2001

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

A seepage- and spring-fed stream beginning near the Grant and Lafayette County line and flowing in an easterly direction through the City of Platteville to enter the central portions of the Little Platte River. This stream flows through a rather scenic valley in its lower reaches and Wisconsin State University-Plattevill is located on the north bank in the central portion. Rubble and a stratified limestone bedrock are the principal bottom types. This stream has no fishery value at the present time due to the fact that it has been heavily polluted. Very few forage fish are present and aquatic food organisms are scarce. Improperly treated effluent entering the stream from the Platteville Sewage Treatment Plant caused a large fish kill in 1970. Many crayfish were also killed. This pollution killed catfish and smallmouth bass in the Little Platte River. The stream has been heavily polluted for many years by many different sources. The sewage plant a dairy, the Platteville Water Department, and a trailer court in Lafayette County are considered potential sources of pollution at the present time. Efforts are being made by the Department of Natural Resources to stop this pollution in order to make this a productive stream once agaLn. Gam. assets are restricted to the upland varieties at the present time. Public access is available from five bridge crossings and 15 dwellings adjoin the stream.

From: Smith, Tom D., and Ball, Joseph R., Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Grant County, Department of Natural Resources, 1972. Surface Area = 17.46 acres, Length = 18.0 miles, Gradient 12 ft./mile, Flow = 5.4 c.f.s.

Date  1972

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Roundtree Branch, T3N, R1E, Sections 18-6, Surface acres = 0.5, Miles = 0.8, Gradient = 50.0 feet per mile, Total alkalinity = 298 mg/l, Volume of flow = 0.5 cfs.
Roundtree Branch is one of the two streams in Lafayette County which is tributary to the Little Platte River. Although the watershed area within the county is not too significant, there is a considerable volume of flow. The principal bottom types are rubble and gravel. Most of the watershed is either in agricultural cropland or firm pasture. Although the stream gradient is high, bank erosion is light to moderate throughout its length within the county. Presently, it is managed for forage fish in Lafayette County. In Grant County it is managed for smallmouth bass. Game assets in the watershed are limited to pheasants, quail, squirrels, rabbits and deer. There are no public lands in the watershed. Public access is restricted to one town road bridge.

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.

Date  1967

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin


Watershed Mapping or Assessment
The Platteville Community Arboretum, Inc. will sponsor a restoration project of the Rountree Branch Watershed within the Platteville city limits and its tributaries. Project deliverables include: 1) Identify the brownfields affecting the northern tributaries and assess the potential removal of the waste sites. After an assessment, the PCA will apply for grants from the EPA Brownfields Program, 2) Prepare a plan to restore in-stream and floodplain habitat to promote native flora and fauna in the Keystone property. 3) Collaborate with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville engineering and reclamation programs to complete hydrology reports and develop an action plan to aid in the restoration of the main tributary, 4) Assess the capacity of the Southeast Tributary to support a native brook trout population, 5) facilitate education about natural resources at various levels. A report containing the findings of each of these items will be prepared and submitted to the DNR with the final report.
Watershed Mapping or Assessment
Platteville Community Arboretum, Inc., will sponsor a project involving the Rountree Branch watershed, Grant County. Project deliverables include: 1) identify five different restoration/demonstration sites that unite the efforts, resources, and interests of stakeholders and the Platteville community in the Rountree Branch watershed; 2) being the process of implementing a comprehensive management plan for the watershed; 3) explore methods of effective restoration efforts; 4) facilitate education about natural resources and restoration at various levels.
Monitor Watershed (Status,Sources,Impairments)
The primary goals and objectives of this project are to: 1) establish a collaborative organization of stakeholders that will work together on the management, recreation, conservation, restoration and understanding of the Roundtree Branch watershed; 2) develop a comprehensive management plan for the watershed; and 3) facilitate educational opportunities.
Monitor Targeted Area
The Friends of the Rountree will monitor water quality, assess physical and biological habitat, determine the need for stream channel improvements, assess water quality using bioassay testing, identify pollution sources and effective abatement practices, and develop cooperative agreements between stakeholders to create and implement a management plan for the rountree branch of the Little Platte River.
Monitor Fish Community
The DNR should monitor Blockhouse Creek, Little Platte River, and Mounds, Rountree and Young Branches to track the status of state endangered and threatened species and species of concern. Result: Done.
Monitor Targeted Area
The DNR, with the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene should conduct additional monitoring and investigation on Rountree Branch to determine if metals constitute a water quality problem, the extent and source(s) of any heavy metal pollution. Result: Assessed fishery in 2009. Final report Complete.
Fish Management, Access
The DNR in partnership with the Friends of Rountree Branch, Trout Unlimited, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, the Grant County Land Conservation Service and the U.S. NRCS should continue work on improving the cold water fishery on a reach of Rountree Branch at Platteville.
Monitor or Propose 303(d) Listing
Rountree Branch should be monitored and considered for addition to Wisconsin’s list of impaired streams due to degradation from non-point sources of pollution and problems with failure of WET toxicity tests. Fishery assessed in 2009. Final report forthcoming .

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

Rountree Br is located in the Little Platte River watershed which is 154.94 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (46.20%), grassland (38%) and a mix of forest (10.40%) and other uses (5.50%). This watershed has 389.19 stream miles, 19.99 lake acres and 585.06 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High 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

Rountree Br is considered a Cool-Cold Headwater, Macroinvertebrate 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.