Watershed - Oak Creek (SE05)
Oak Creek Watershed

Details

The Oak Creek Watershed is located entirely within Milwaukee County. Oak Creek originates in the City of Franklin, with the majority of flow contributed by urban runoff. As it makes its way east, Oak Creek receives flows from the North Branch and the Mitchell Field Drainage Ditch. In South Milwaukee, Oak Creek meanders through to Grant Park, and ultimately into Lake Michigan. The stream drains about 26 square miles. Principal land cover in the Oak Creek Watershed is a mix of urban and grassland (38% and 32% respectively). The remaining land uses include agriculture (11%), Forest (14%) and Wetland (3%). Oak Creek drains portions of the Cities of Greenfield, Franklin, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee, and Milwaukee. The one named lake found in this watershed is the Oak Creek Parkway Pond, an impoundment created by the Old Mill Dam, located in Grant Park in South Milwaukee. The Pond is 5 acres in size.

Date  2018

Ecological Landscapes for Oak Creek Watershed

Ecological Landscapes

The Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Ecological Landscape is located in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin along Lake Michigan. The landforms in this Ecological Landscape are characteristic of glacial lake influence, with ridge and swale topography, clay bluffs, and lake plain along Lake Michigan. Further inland, ground moraine is the dominant landform. Soils typically have a silt-loam surface overlying loamy and clayey tills. The historic vegetation in the northern part of this Ecological Landscape was dominated by sugar maple-basswood-beech forests with some oak while the southern part was dominated by oak forest, oak savanna and prairies. Wet, wet-mesic, and lake plain prairies were common in this area. Black ash and relict cedar and tamarack swamps were found in this Ecological Landscape. Today, most of the area is dominated by dairy and cash grain agriculture and intense urban development. Only about 8% of the Ecological Landscape is forested. Maple-beech forests are about half of the remaining forest types with the remainder split equally between oak-hickory and lowland hardwood forest types. There are some areas of wet-mesic and wet prairie but only small preserves remain since the landscape is heavily disturbed and fragmented. Because of this isolation, fragmentation, and high level of disturbance, non-native plants are abundant.

Date  2010

Fisheries

Fish species found in the Oak Creek Watershed include the white sucker, black bullhead, brook stickleback, and largemouth bass. In addition, rainbow (steelhead), brown, Chinook salmon, coho salmon and brook trout are present to the mill dam in Grant Park due to Lake Michigan stocking efforts. Tolerant fish species found in the Watershed include the creek chub, fathead minnow, central mudminnow, golden shiner, and green sunfish.

Date  2002

Oak Creek Watershed At-a-Glance

Impaired Water in Oak Creek Watershed
River and Stream QualityAll Waters in Watershed

The historic impacts of channelization, toxics, and hydrological modification have combined with urban runoff and stream bank erosion to degrade the water and habitat quality of Oak Creek. Of the total combined length of 21.2 miles, 13 miles, or 61% are listed on the State’s impaired waterbody 303(d) list. The factor influencing inclusion on the list is the toxic levels of contaminants found in contaminated sediments.

Date  2002

Watershed Trout Streams
Watershed Outstanding & Exceptional Resources

Lakes and Impoundments

Impaired Waters

List of Impaired Waters
Watershed Documents
Watershed Grants
Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2002
Waters Involved
Oak Creek
Status
Complete

City Of South Milwaukee - Engineering: Catch Basin Replacement Project: To provide 50% cost-sharing for replacement of 40 sumps w/catch basins


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Oak Creek
Status
Cancelled

City Of Oak Creek - Engineering: Industrial Park - Hydrodynamic Separator: to costshare at 50% installation of four in-ground storm water treatment units in industrial park


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Oak Creek
Status
Complete

City Of Oak Creek - Engineering: City Hall Parking Lot - Separator: to costshare at 50% underground separator at Southbranch Industrial Park (per Am#1)


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2004
Waters Involved
Oak Creek
Status
Complete

City Of Oak Creek - Engineering: Shepard Hills Vegative Buffer: to costshare at 50% installation of buffer at Shepard Hills


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2005
Waters Involved
Oak Creek
Status
Complete

City Of Oak Creek - Engineering: Arthur Avenue Wq Conveyance: installation of device to convey storm water for water quality purposes from the East Arthur Drive-South Shepard Avenue drainage area to the existing wet pond.


Grant Details
Urban Nonpoint - Stormwater Construction
Date
1/1/2003
Waters Involved
Unnamed
Status
Complete

City Of Oak Creek - Engineering: Recycling Pad Stormceptor: to provide 50% cost-sharing for design & construction of a stormceptor project at the City's recycling yard.


Oak Creek Watershed

Goals

1/15/2018
Work with partners and grant programs to reduce overall nutrient loads to the watershed to protect existing conditions and reduce impacts to impaired or nearly impaired waters.
1/15/2018
Improve fish and aquatic life habitat.
1/15/2018
Expand aquatic life passage.
1/15/2018
Expand and improve existing wetlands.

Priorities

1/15/2018
Identify potential partners and stakeholders to participate in an overall awareness and behavioral change program in the watershed that could result in reduced erosion and phosphorus inputs.
1/15/2018
Identify the primary sources of phosphorus and chlorides in the watershed and pursue local runoff management and river/stream grants to reduce phosphorous and chloride inputs into local water resources.
1/15/2018
Identify areas throughout the watershed where stream habitat can be restored and connectivity improved. Seek funds and programs to support these efforts.
Watershed Recommendations
Best Management Practices, Implement
Management Recommendations for External Partners
Date
Status
The watershed communities should continue effective implementation of their stormwater programs. Continue information and education programs within the municipalities bordering Oak Creek and tributaries. Facilitate and provide incentives for increased management by private landowners, organizations, businesses, municipalities and agencies to monitor and control the invasion of non-native species in the watershed. Restore and manage wetlands, woodlands, and shorelands in the watershed. Continue to promote stream bank buffers along Oak Creek and tributaries, including lowering stream banks to increase hydraulic connectivity to wetlands. DNR and community partners should continue to work on and promote habitat improvement projects on Oak Creek and tributaries, including pursuing the removal of concrete channels where appropriate. Additionally, where land and partners are available, pursue re-meandering straightened sections of Oak Creek and tributaries.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Best Management Practices, Implement
Minimize Runoff
Date
Status
Minimize runoff from agricultural areas in the watershed. Goals should include reducing soil erosion, runoff, and meeting nutrient management requirements. Stream bank buffers should be encouraged, as well as relaxing the slope of existing entrenched stream banks.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Best Management Practices, Implement
Water Quality Improvements BMPs
Date
Status
Federal, state, local governments, and the agricultural community should continue working to improve water quality by decreasing sedimentation, nutrient loads, chloride addition, and stormwater runoff to Oak Creek and tributaries.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Citizen Stream Monitoring
Date
Status
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.
1/1/2012
In Progress
Projects
 
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Citizen Stream Monitoring
Date
Status
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.
1/1/2012
In Progress
Projects
 
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Citizen Stream Monitoring
Date
Status
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.
1/1/2012
In Progress
Projects
 
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Citizen Stream Monitoring
Date
Status
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.
1/1/2012
In Progress
Projects
 
Engage Volunteers in Monitoring/Restoration
Watershed based Citizen Science
Date
Status
Recruit Citizen-Based Stream Monitors to assist with on-going Watershed monitoring.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Engage Volunteers in Monitoring/Restoration
Oak Creek Continue Volunteer Efforts
Date
Status
Continue to support Citizen Based Monitoring volunteer efforts to track total phosphorus and chloride in Oak Creek and tributaries.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Fish Management, Access
Expand watershed fishing opportiunities
Date
Status
Continue to expand fishing opportunities within the Watershed and remove fish passage impediments including drop structures, channel blocking woody debris, and beaver dams where documented and appropriate.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Hire County Aquatic Invasives Coordinator
 
Date
Status
Hire Aquatic Invasives (AIS) County Coordinator - Milwaukee
1/1/2011
Not Proposed
Projects
 
Map Invasive Species
Watershed wide mapping
Date
Status
Map invasive species.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Oak Creek watershed Continue Montitoring
Date
Status
Water quality biologists should continue to monitor Oak Creek and tributaries in order to document existing conditions and capture the potential improvements from BMP installations.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Mitchell Field Drainage Monitoring
Date
Status
Monitor dissolved oxygen conditions on Mitchell Field Drainage Ditch.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Monitor and/or Protect Groundwater, Sourcewater
Continued stormwater management
Date
Status
Encourage all communities within the Watershed to continue construction site erosion and stormwater management ordinance enforcement to minimize polluted runoff in developed areas.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Natural Community Review or Change
Oak Crk at Ryan Rd Nat Comm. Change
Date
Status
Oak Creek at Ryan Road was modeled as a cool-cold transition headwater, and should be changed to a cool-warm transition headwater.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Runoff Grant - Urban Nonpoint Source & Stormwater Management - Construction
 
Date
Status
Based on the results of the phosphorus and chlorides investigation/surveys, investigate / pursue local runoff management and river/stream grants to help initiate management actions that reduce inputs of these pollutants into water resources.
7/1/2015
Proposed
Projects
 
TMDL Monitoring
Review Discharges for compliance
Date
Status
Review wastewater and stormwater discharges in the watershed for compliance.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Water Quality Planning
Support Watershed Restoration Planning Efforts
Date
Status
Provide input and support for the on-going development of the �Restoration Plan for the Oak Creek Watershed� which is currently being drafted by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission with support from the surrounding communities and the Fund For Lake Michigan.
1/15/2018
Proposed
 
Oak Creek WatershedWatershed History Note