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Lower Fox RiverWatershed Monitoring Program

Ashwaubenon Creek Team

Ashwaubenon Creek is monitored by students and teachers from Green Bay East and West De Pere High Schools.

Location

Ashwauabenon Creek.

This watershed is uniquely poised along the Hwy 41 corridor and is influenced by a variety of land uses.  It's headwaters lie in predominantly agricultural areas (both crops and large dairy farms), but those areas are quickly being converted into subdivisions and rural homes.  The stream ends it's journey by narrowly skirting the west side of De Pere's urban infrastructure and dumping into the Fox at Ashwaubamay Park.

The Ashwaubenon Creek watershed is approximately 76 square km. The 50 square km area located upstream of the USGS monitoring station located at Creamery Road is primarily rural agriculture and urbanizing land uses. Downstream of the USGS site is approximately 26 square km of urban and urbanizing land use. The boundary for the area draining to the USGS site is shown by the solid black line on the land use map at the right.

Environmental Challenges 

  • Chronically high conductivity (salts and ions concentrations) beyond normal soil and groundwater influences (perhaps due to its proximity to  Highway 41 and winter salting practices)
  • "Flashy" flow (water levels get high very quickly) causes erosion and washes out habitat for macroinvertebrates
  • Clay soils and clay-muddy bottoms mean chronic turbidity (cloudiness) problems as well as lack of habitat for high quality macroinvertebrates
  • Lack of vegetation in the stream itself or along the banks means no input of oxygen and lack of habitat for organisms
  • Low oxygen levels during the day (and even lower ones at night) make life in the stream very difficult for all organisms
  • Land uses (both agricultural and urban) expose clay soils to the elements, which then washes it into the stream
  • Other run-off (from agriculture and suburban yards) carries fertilizers and other nutrients into the stream, ultimately increasing the nutrient load in the Fox  River and feeding its summer algae bloomsand

The West De Pere Crew

The Ecology Club initially took on the monitoring in 2006 as an extracurricular activity. In 2008 an Environmental Science class began at West De Pere High School and since then the spring and fall monitoring are completed during the school day by the juniors and seniors in that class (currently about 45 students).  As part of the course, we also do additional testing in winter if weather permits, and an extensive 10 site macroinvertebrate inventory in the spring.  The summer 2014 monitoring was completed with the help of Stefanie Stainton's Green Bay students.

Highlights

The teams work on salinity in Ashwaubenon Creek has led to decreased salt application to streets in the winter, saving the city money and conserving the waterway.

Links to Ashwaubenon Creek Data