Hydrology and water quality in the Nederlo Creek Basin, Wisconsin, before construction of two water-retention structures

Water-Resources Investigations Report 79-95

Prepared in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources



The Nederlo Creek basin, in the "Driftless Area" of southwest Wisconsin, is geographically and hydrologically similar to other small basins in the area. Topography is rugged, with approximately 400 feet of relief between the boundary ridge tops and the valley floor. The water-retention structures (a dry floodwater- retention structure and a 43-acre reservoir) are to provide recreation and flood protection for the basin.

Streamflow, springflow, precipitation, and groundwater levels were monitored at several sites to describe the hydrologic system. Streamflow is fairly constant at base flow, but rapid changes in discharge occur during periods of snowmelt or heavy rain; recession to base-flow discharge following these events is rapid. Surface runoff is a significant contributor to Streamflow only 10 percent of the time.

The mean annual hydrologic budget for water years 1968-72 shows that of the 32.5 inches of precipitation on the basin, 6.4 inches left as runoff and 25.9 inches as evapotranspiration; ground-water storage increased an average of 0.2 inches per year.

The water is a hard calcium magnesium bicarbonate type. Concentrations of major constituents in ground water and streams at base flow are similar, but concentrations in the stream generally decrease during periods when surface runoff contributes to Streamflow. Dissolved-oxygen concentrations in the stream are generally lowest during the summer; nighttime lows are generally between 7 and 8 milligrams per liter and daily maximums between 11 and 12.5 milligrams per liter. Diurnal water-temperature fluctuations of several degrees are common in streams during summer; daily maximum water temperatures as high as 26°C have been measured in some areas, but temperatures this high seldom persist for more than 2 hours. Estimates of mean annual total phosphorus and total nitrogen loads during 1967-74 fall within the ranges of 0.02 to 0.07 and 0.4 to 0.8 tons per square mile, respectively; 70 to 80 percent of the total phosphorus and 35 to 55 percent of the total nitrogen are transported during periods when surface runoff contributes to Streamflow.

Mean annual suspended-sediment loads during 1968-74 range from 13 to 60 tons per square mile, with 74 to 86 percent of the total transported during periods when surface water contributes to streamflow. These sediment loads are at the low end of the range previously reported for streams in the "Driftless Area".

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrology and water quality in the Nederlo Creek Basin, Wisconsin, before construction of two water-retention structures
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Wisconsin Water Science Center
v, 34 p.
United States
Other Geospatial:
Nederlo Creek
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