Northern Wisconsin: City Creek Fish Passage Project Completed

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Brook trout underwater.

In partnership with the Ashland County Land and Water Conservation Department the Ashland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office recently completed a high priority brook trout passage project on City Creek in Ashland County, Wisconsin.

City Creek is a small, spring-fed tributary to Devil’s Creek, which joins the Upper Bad River in the City of Mellen, Wisconsin. City Creek is classified as Class II trout stream and Devil’s Creek as a Class I trout stream. A snowmobile trail crossing managed by the Ashland County Snowmobile Alliance spans the stream at this location. In 2017 Ashland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office biologists surveyed this crossing and found it to be a full passage barrier to brook trout. This site was familiar to our office and area partners since fish passage fish passage
Fish passage is the ability of fish or other aquatic species to move freely throughout their life to find food, reproduce, and complete their natural migration cycles. Millions of barriers to fish passage across the country are fragmenting habitat and leading to species declines. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Fish Passage Program is working to reconnect watersheds to benefit both wildlife and people.

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restoration had taken place five years earlier but the devastating flood of 2016, an estimated 2,000 to 5,000 year event in this location, left the site severely damaged and impassable to fish.

The partners again came together to restore this important site for brook trout. Utilizing funding from the National Fish Passage Program the site was restored with a bottomless arch structure structure
Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

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to facilitate passage of brook trout and other aquatic life. On-the-ground results included 1.5 stream miles reconnected, erosion control and sediment reduction. This project contributes to the overall aquatic habitat enhancement of the Bad River watershed, because it builds on the success of recent barrier removal/culvert replacement projects at three other locations on City Creek.

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Fish migration
Fish passage