The Mole Creek habitat improvement and restoration project will be completed on WDNR easements in the Town of Saukville. Broad objectives are to improve and enhance in-stream and riparian habitat in historically-modified portions of the Mole Creek Watershed. Historic channel modifications, in particular channelization to accommodate agricultural practices, are the most important factor limiting the streams potential biological use. It flows south and southeast for 7 miles from its headwaters in the Town of Saukville before discharging to the Milwaukee River in the Village of Grafton. The fish community is dominated by cool-cold water species including Mottled Sculpin, a cold water species and indicator of trout water. Continuous hourly logged water temperatures by WDNR during year 2000 and 2000 confirmed that Mole Creek has the potential to support trout. Approximately 50% of the stream was channelized to accommodate drainage for agricultural uses resulting in “poor” fish and aquatic life habitat.
The goal of the project is to create in-stream and floodplain habitat conducive to supporting a cold to cool-cold water fish and aquatic life assemblage, including trout. Additional benefits include improving habitat for wildlife, enhancing water quality and hydraulic connectivity with the streams floodplain .
The project goal is to rehabilitate the function and values associated with a cold water stream ecosystem and floodplain wetlands by:
1. Excavating a stable meandering stream plan form (typical meander length of 7-10 times mean stream width);
2. Increasing stream length and sinuosity from 1.0 miles to 1.4 to 1.5 miles;
3. Decreasing mean stream width, and increasing effective water depths and stream velocities;
4. Increasing in-stream and bank habitat cover for fish and wildlife to >15%, emphasizing coarse woody debris in pools and boulder retards in pools and glides;
5. Rehabilitating 10-15 acres of wet-deciduous forest and wet meadow wetland currently in agricultural land use by excavating connected wetlands and wetland scrapes;
6. Increasing canopy shade by 75% on the sunward side (west bank) of stream by planting deciduous trees;
7. Increasing the amount of pool and deep glide to 60%, and construct coarse substrate riffles for lithophilic spawning fish and macroinvertebrates.
Mole Creek Habitat Restoration Project Update
Re-meandered stream channel has been completed north of Hillcrest road. Stream channel south of Hillcrest road is ongoing and will be completed in 2015