Small project creates big benefits for Wisconsin stream

Project Summary: A low-budget fish passage project will reap significant dividends for a Wisconsin trout stream. Though it cost less than $15,000, the project gave fish access to two miles of invaluable spawning habitat in Troutmere Creek, a tributary of the Marengo River.

 

Project name: Troutmere Creek Fish Passage/Road Crossing.

Location: Marengo, Wis., in the Chequamegon Bay area of northern Wisconsin.

This culvert in Troutmere Creek was above the average water level, which prevented fish passage. Photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

This culvert in Troutmere Creek was above the average water level, which prevented fish passage. Photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Description: Troutmere Creek is a tributary of the Marengo River, which is part of the Bad River Watershed of Lake Superior.  A perched culvert in the town of Marengo prevented trout from passing under the road and reaching two miles of the creek upstream of the road crossing. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked with local and state agencies  to open two miles of the creek to trout and other fish species. Two rock weir structures were installed below the culvert to raise the water level inside the existing structure in order to facilitate fish passage. The Marengo and its tributaries are high quality trout streams. Anglers from near and far visit the watershed to fish its productive waters.

Approximate cost of project: $14,700. The project was funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

A small rock weir on the downstream side of the culvert elevated water levels, which provided fish passage to two miles of the creek upstream of the road crossing. Photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A small rock weir on the downstream side of the culvert elevated water levels, which provided fish passage to two miles of the creek upstream of the road crossing. Photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Resource challenges addressed: Fish passage, sedimentation, and fish spawning habitat.

Key partners (public and private): The Ashland County Land and Water Conservation Department, Bad River Watershed Association, Town of Marengo, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ashland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office. A local landowner allowed the weirs to be built on his property.

Types of jobs created: Heavy equipment operators and biologists.

Results and accomplishments: The work gave trout access to two miles of prime habitat in Troutmere Creek.Assessments have not been completed, but the project is expected to improve fish populations by creating access to more habitat and reducing sedimentation, which buried some gravel beds where trout spawn.

Web site: http://1.usa.gov/xgQssF

Originally Published: March 15, 2012

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