Fish and Aquatic Life
Austin Branch is a small tributary to the Platte River in central Grant County. It is classified as a class II trout stream (WDNR, 1980). Water quality and instream habitat are impaired by nonpoint sources of pollution (Fix, 1991). Best management practices, particularly stream buffer corridors and managed grazing, would help protect and improve the stream.
Author Aquatic Biologist
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 = 2.25 acres, Length = 3.1 miles, Gradient = 65 ft./mile, Flow = 2.9 c.f.s.
A moderate gradient spring-fed stream beginning one mile east of Lancaster and emptying into the Platte River three miles north of Ellenboro. Two and one-half miles of this stream are considered trout water but water temperatures approach the maximum tolerance for trout on hot summer days. Brown trout fingerlings and yearlings are stocked by the Lancaster Sportsmans Club and the Department of Natural Resources. Fishing pressure is heavy during the early season. Forage fish are cqmmon throughout the stream and only a few small mouth bass are found even though the water quality and instream cover are excellent for this species. Flooding and heavy bank erosion are severe use problems. Muskrats are found throughout the stream. Upland game species including deer, raccoon, squirrels, ruffed grouse, and quail are found nearby. Walk-in access is possible with permission from private landowners. Access is also possible from the Platte River.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
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.
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|
|952500||Austin Br||10055546||Austin Br - 1.75 miles US of Platte River confluence||Map||Data|
|952500||Austin Br||10032476||Austin Br at mouth||Map||Data|
Austin Br is located in the Platte River watershed which is 197.74 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily grassland (43.30%), agricultural (30.70%) and a mix of forest (19%) and other uses (7.00%). This watershed has 455.07 stream miles, 21.45 lake acres and 1,303.48 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Medium 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.