The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission’s work on the Oak Creek Watershed plan is ramping up.
Their focus now is on the critical Chapter 4 of the plan: a deep dive into water quality, quantity, and other “inventory findings,” including a review of the status of the Mill Pond and dam.
That “state of the watershed” information will be reviewed at a meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, at Oak Creek’s Drexel Town Square, 8040 South 6th St., in the Multipurpose Room.
From SEWRPC …
The intent of this meeting is to briefly review and receive comments on Plan draft Chapter 4, “Inventory Findings”, which includes discussion on stream flows, the history and current conditions for the Mill Pond and dam, and water quality conditions in the watershed.
Beverages and a light supper will be available.
You can review the plan, and the partially complete Chapter 4, here.
It is sobering information, culled from volumes and volumes of available data from a variety of sources, and the results of years of physically walking the creek by SEWRPC staff.
From the report …
The entire mainstem of Oak Creek is currently listed as impaired with three impairments. The Creek is listed as impaired due to chronic aquatic toxicity related to an unknown pollutant. It is also listed as impaired due to the presence of a degraded biological community related to high concentrations of total phosphorus. Finally, the Creek is listed as impaired due to chronic and acute aquatic toxicity related to high concentrations of chloride. Each of these impairments apply to the entire length of the mainstem of Oak Creek. One tributary stream is proposed for listing as impaired on the 2018 list. The WDNR has proposed adding a 5.7-mile section of the North Branch of Oak Creek to the impaired waters list due to the presence of chronic and acute aquatic toxicity related to high concentrations of chloride.
There is a lot of information — A LOT. The incomplete draft version of Chapter 4 being reviewed in December is already nearly 200 pages long, and counting. However, I’m glad to see SEWRPC taking this deep of a dive. The watershed will be better off for it.
We need science to drive our decision making, as we look to breathe new life into the Oak Creek Watershed. This report — and all the data behind — will be the roadmap we need to do it.