Lower Wisconsin Basin Monitoring Programs

Baraboo Area Monitors

There are a few different groups that monitor in and around Baraboo. They enter their data to the online database. Search by Sauk County for a complete listing.

Dell Creek Water Action Volunteers

The Dell Creek Water Action Volunteers began stream monitoring in 1996 as a pilot project for WAV's citizen stream monitoring program. The program was connected with the Dell Creek Priority Watershed Project through the Sauk County Land Conservation Department and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. One goal of the priority watershed project was for citizens and visitors of the Dell Creek Watershed to better appreciate the area's water resources and therefore be willing to protect and improve these resources. Another goal of the project was for those involved with the project to understand the impacts, causes, and solutions of nonpoint source pollution and to communicate this knowledge to others.

Approximately five sites a year were monitored seasonally for dissolved oxygen, temperature, habitat, transparency, and macroinvertebrates initially. No sites were monitored between 2000 and 2006, but in 2007 some of the Dell Creek sites were monitored once again. Streams that were monitored as part of the project include Hulbert Creek, Camels Creek, Dell Creek, and Harrison Creek. The Dell Creek Watershed is located in Sauk and Juneau Counties of Wisconsin.

To learn more about thewater quality at these sites, go to the citizen stream monitoring database and search for results by creek name or by Juneau or Sauk County.

If you live in or near the Dell Creek Watershed and would like to help monitor a past or new site, contact Kris Stepenuck to sign up.

Jefferson Elementary School

Jefferson Elementary School is a pre-school through fifth grade building in the Richland School district (Richland Center). The fifth graders (~23 students) and some of their parents, monitor Brush Creek once a month (as weather permits in winter). Students in other grades participate at different times of the year, increasing participation to over 100 staff and students annually. The monitoring provides elementary school students a hands-on, real world, cross-curricular learning opportunity. The staff and students follow WAV protocols for dissolved oxygen, transparency, temperature, macroinvertebrates, stream flow and habitat. They also monitor pH, conductivity, and nitrates.

Jefferson Elementary School students began monitoring in 2003, but their monitoring was the built on three years of solid data collection (one year of Brush Creek monitoring with Rockbridge Elementary School fifth and sixth grade students and two with Doudna Elementary School sixth graders).

Jefferson Elementary School’s monitoring began as a class project for teacher Jim Korb when he was at Rockbridge Elementary, with help from the WDNR's Mike Miller, the Harry and Laura Nohr Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and U.W. Extension's Peggy Compton. Northern Richland County rural streams were first monitored by students for water quality. Data were plotted on a map. Brush Creek eventually became the stream of choice for regular monthly monitoring (June 2000 - May 2001) by students and parent helpers. Data have been entered into the WAV database since that time (search by Brush Creek or by Richland County. Note that there are two Brush Creeks currently being monitored by citizens in WI, the other is in Monroe County).

The Brush Creek monitoring project moved with Jim Korb to Doudna Elementary School in June of 2001. It grew since there were many more students at Doudna, and two more sixth grade classroom teachers (Martha Shields and Diana Siefkes) that joined the effort. Also, with the help of Andy Morton from DNR, the teachers/classes were able to team up with Madison's Spring Harbor Environmental Magnet Middle School (Jim Kotoski - science teacher) and share aquatic learning. Andy also helped the school obtain additional equipment for the larger student numbers at Doudna. For two years, during October, the teachers at Doudna also offered mini conferences for student learning, or River Quests.

Jefferson Elementary inherited the Brush Creek monitoring project in 2003 to continue the tradition started at the other elementary schools. The combined monitoring efforts make Brush Creek one of the most monitored streams in the state in the WAV program. Today the effort is coordinated by the Richland School District, University of Wisconsin-Richland, UWEX, and WDNR.

The Jefferson Elementary School teachers worked together to make a schoolwide monitoring effort in 2006. For their ongoing efforts they were awarded a 2007 Wisconsin Volunteer Stream Monitoring Award. For more information about the program visit the school’s website at

Each year an annual Brush Creek monitoring report is published and sent to interested people. Jim Korb also posts the schools' Brush Creek data to the GLOBE program database. You can view this by following there directions: Go to; Enter the GLOBE site, then go to Data Access (along the left side of the page) and get to it by typing Doudna Elementary School or Jefferson Elementary School (check surface water).

Kickapoo Citizen Water Monitors (KCWM)

Monitoring Stream TemperatureThe Volunteer Water Monitors of the Kickapoo Valley began monitoring the health of the Kickapoo River and its tributaries in 1998. This program is part of the Valley Stewardship Network, an organization formed to protect local interests, the environment and promote economic opportunities in the Kickapoo Valley of southwestern Wisconsin. Monitors include both students and local citizens. Their efforts help to raise awareness about the valuable resource of the Kickapoo River and its tributaries. They collect and record baseline data, document water quality changes over time, educate the local community on importance of environmental stewardship, train local citizens WAV protocols and importance of a watchful eye on any threats to the watershed. Anyone with an interest in the streams and aquatic life of the Kickapoo Watershed is welcome to be a monitor with the effort.

In 1998 they had 21 members who monitored 19 sites. In 2003, there were 24 members (17 who monitored), and in 2007, they have 30 citizen monitors. They monitor the Kickapoo River and many of its tributary streams at 20 sites including the Reads Creek, Bishop Branch, Halls Branch, Seis Branch, Kickapoo River (3 sites), West Fork Kickapoo River, Trout Creek, Bear Creek, Brush Creek, Hall Creek, Weister Creek, Crow Hollow, Tainter Creek (2 sites), West Branch Baraboo River, Billings Creek, Camp Creek, Otter Creek, Piehs Turfan 2 (un-named tributary), and Johnstown Creek (Nederlo Creek).

Photo of Kickapoo volunteer monitors assessing habitatThese volunteers monitor air and water temperature, stream flow, transparency, dissolved oxygen, habitat, and biotic index using WAV methods. They also monitor pH at all sites and nitrogen and E. coli at a subset of the sites. Most monitor monthly between April and October. They also participate in additional level 2 and level 3 monitoring efforts. Data are being entered to the WAV stream monitoring database. Search by Vernon County or by stream name to see results of these volunteers' efforts. The program's local coordinator Gary Thompson keeps records and analyzes data for the group.
The group provides training, assistance and support to its volunteers throughout the year. For more information, visit the group's website at

Sauk Prairie River PAL

This group began monitoring in 2007. They are determining which sites to monitor but will be working with schools in the Prairie du Sac area to implement their monitoring efforts. They are coordinated by Anna Bruhn. Visit their website to learn more about the group at:

Spring Harbor Middle School Black Earth Creek Water Action Volunteers

This group began monitoring in 2003. Their goal is to study watersheds and the impact of development, runoff and agriculture on water quality. The school works in conjunction with Black Earth Creek Watershed Association to carry out their monitoring. Initially they had 80 volunteers participating, in 2007 there are 90 students who participate. They monitor Black Earth Creek at Salmo Pond in Cross Plains. Once a year they assess water temperature, stream flow, transparency, dissolved oxygen, habitat, and biotic index using WAV methods and also assess pH, carbon dioxide, hardness, alkalinity, conductivity, chlorine, nitrates, and phosphates. They also monitor other water environments and sites including: Lake Mendota at Spring Harbor, Lake Mendota at Spring Harbor Beach, Pheasant Branch, and Kettle Pond. Teacher David Ropa coordinates their efforts. You can learn more about the group at

Three Rivers Monitors

This group began in 2004. Some of the monitors from this group work with the Kickapoo Citizen Water Monitors. They enter their data to the online database. Search by Crawford County for streams associated with these programs. Russ Hagen is the local contact for interested individuals in the Prairie du Chien area.

Wisconsin Federation of Fly Fishers

The Wisconsin Federation of Fly Fishers began monitoring in 2004. Their main goal is to assess the quality of local stream habitats. Six people began monitoring with the group. In 2007, four people continue to monitor with the group. Twice a year, or every other month, (depending on the individual monitors) they monitor temperature, dissolved oxygen, stream flow, habitat, transparency, and biotic index using WAV methods. They also monitor specific conductivity. They monitor in numerous Basin and counties across the state including: Central Wisconsin Basin, Adams County, Parsons Creek; Lower Wisconsin Basin, Dane County, Black Earth Creek at Olson Road; Fox Basin, Fond du Lac County, Campground Creek; and Headwaters Basin, Price County, Fould’s Creek. Their data are stored in the WAV online database. Search by stream name or county. Their coordinator is Phil Emmling.

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