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Upper east branch Pecatonica River watershed (SP06)

The Upper East Branch Pecatonica River watershed lies in eastern Iowa County and a very small portion of western Dane County. The dominant land use is agricultural. Five municipal wastewater permittees discharge to surface water in the watershed: Barneveld, Dodgeville, Blue Mounds, Ridgeway and Hollandale.

The 1988 Sugar-Pecatonica basin plan noted that 14 of 16 streams in the watershed had excess sedimentation and habitat degradation due to polluted runoff. There is, however, little monitoring data to assess the extent and severity of the problem.

Wetlands along streams in this watershed should be protected because there are fewer acres of wetlands in this region. Public acquisition of higher quality wetlands and strict enforcement of shoreland-wetland zoning ordinances might protect these areas.

Dodge Branch

Dodge branch is a tributary to the east branch Pecatonica River. Although a class II trout stream for 10 miles of its length (Wisconsin DNR, 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 (Wisconsin DNR, 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.

East Branch Pecatonica River

The headwaters of the east branch are in this watershed. The river above the Barneveld wastewater treatment plant outfall is classified as class II trout waters (Wisconsin DNR, 1980). The stream at the discharge site has been described as having good habitat with deep pools and long riffles with some sedimentation. The site was also reported to have good water quality (Schlesser, 198829). We know little about water quality below the Barneveld outfall. Sedimentation is a problem at some spots in the stream and there are exposed eroding banks and cattle grazing on the banks at some locations (Wisconsin DNR, 1992-931).

Ley Creek

Approximately three miles of Ley Creek is classified as class II trout stream (Wisconsin DNR, 1980), but we know nothing about the stream's water quality. We suspect the reconstruction of State Trunk Highway 191 may have resulted in significant amounts of sediment reaching the stream.

Smith Conley Creek

Smith Conley is a class II trout stream for all but the uppermost reach, which is limited forage fishery. We assume the water quality to be good, but sediment carried in runoff may be degrading the stream (Wisconsin DNR, 1992-931). The Ridgeway wastewater treatment plant discharges its treated wastewater effluent to the headwaters reach of the creek (Schlesser, 198835).

Whitford Creek

Whitford Creek is a class II trout tributary to the Dodge branch. Flow and sedimentation may be water quality problems at the lower end of the stream (Wisconsin DNR, 1992-931). There is a nice, though small, wetlands complex adjacent to part of the stream.

Williams Barneveld Creek

This small spring-fed tributary to the east branch Pecatonica River is a class II trout stream (Wisconsin DNR, 1980). We assume water quality is good, but sediment is a problem in the stream. Cattle grazing occurs on the streambanks in some locations (Wisconsin DNR, 19921).