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 sincerestoration 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 archto 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.