Tiffany CreekA tiny spring-fed stream on the mend
Located in eastern St. Croix and Dunn County, Tiffany Creek is a small spring-fed stream that is recharged by several spring feeders that converge near the town of Boyceville, Wisconsin. The Tiffany runs course for a few miles to the town of Glenwood City near WI Hwy 128. The stream meanders through rural settings, a local high school campus and farmland. Most trout on this stream are average sized brook trout, with low fish densities.
In the winter of 2005 the Kiap-TU-Wish and Clearwater Chapters of Trout Unlimited began work on Tiffany Creek in St. Croix County. The creek has excellent water quality with a good thermal regime but the creek is severely impacted by sediment and overgrowth from box elders. The trout habit was very poor with very low trout populations and limited reproduction due to a lack of gravel for spawning. Previously, the stream was less than one foot deep and was primarily a mud/silt bottom that is unsuitable for trout reproduction. The creek also suffered from sediment from the exposed banks which is causing the heavy silt load.
The trout habit was very poor with very low trout populations and limited reproduction due to a lack of gravel for spawning. Over 1 mile of stream was restored with lunker structures, rip-rap banks and reseeding with native prairie grasses and forbs.
The plan is to remove the box elders that are shading the stream and allowing for severe bank erosion. The stream banks will then be graded back and rip-rap will be applied as a “hard armor” to protect the banks. The rip-rap will be placed on “lunker structures” that will be built by the chapters. The lunker structures will provide protection and habit for trout.
Previous experience on area trout streams (the Kinnickinnic and Cady) the stream has benefited in numerous ways:
1. Increase sunlight reaching the stream allows for increased aquatic weed growth which further narrows, quickens and deepens the stream. The aquatic weed growth also provides habitat for invertebrates and trout.
2. The stream narrows and deepens providing increased habitat for trout.
3. As the stream narrows and deepens the stream increases speed allowing for increased oxygen in the stream.
4. As habitat increases, so does the fish population. Areas streams have seen increases from less than 100 trout per mile to populations over 3,000 fish per mile.
Fourteen (14) volunteers put in over 40 man hours on the project. Work will continued over the winter months and early spring. Over 1 mile of stream was restored with lunker structures, rip-rap banks and reseeding with native prairie grasses and forbs.
What a Difference!!
It’s hard to believe it’s even the same creek! John Sours has done his magic again. The creek has been narrowed 75%, the depth increased from an average of a couple inches to a foot or more. The banks have been graded back and rip-rap and lunker structures have been installed.
A substantial increase in spawning habitat, cover for the fish (protecting them from Herons and Kingfishers) and habitat for insects for the fish to eat. This section of the river had a population of brook trout of less than 200 fish per mile, we will see the results in as little as 3 years…but here’s a hint. Cady creek…just 20 miles south went from 200 fish per mile to nearly 5000!
One of three (yes three!) dumpsters of trash collected by DNR workers and students from Glenwood City Schools from along the river. The trash included a few “treasures” like some large saw blades from the old mill. Apparently the workers threw the old blades into the mill pond as they wore out. The blades were uncovered as the banks were graded bank.