Mineral Springs Creek originates in the Ulao Swamp, flowing approximately 3.7 miles northeast to its confluence with Sauk Creek, approximately 200 feet upstream of Sauk Creek’s confluence with the Port Washington harbor on Lake Michigan in the City of Port Washington. Mineral Springs Creek connects over 195 acres of high quality wetland habitat but has been heavily manipulated. Multiple fish passage impediments restricted habitat access, and it was unlikely to regularly support successful spawning runs of native or desirable introduced fish species. Multiple fish passage impediment removal or remediation projects have improved accessibility to existing, high-quality habitats and bolstered the overall ecological health of the Lake Michigan Basin, directly benefiting many species including native Lake Michigan fish such as northern pike, walleye, and suckers, desirable sport fish such as steelhead, Chinook salmon, and Coho salmon, along with imperiled species including longear sunfish, striped shiner, and greater redhorse. The presence of coldwater species such as mottled sculpin also indicate a strong likelihood of suitable spawning conditions for desirable introduced fish species, currently supported through artificial stocking. Ozaukee County, City of Port Washington, We Energies, Southeast Wisconsin Chapter Trout Unlimited, and private landowners have partnered on several projects to improve the aquatic connectivity and ecological function of Mineral Springs Creek.
The Mineral Springs Dam removal has been part of a much broader effort to improve aquatic connectivity on tributaries to the Lake Michigan that has been supported by additional funding entities including USFWS, NFWF, WDNR, FFLM, and Wisconsin Coastal Management Program (WCMP) both during the dam removal and restoration and culvert removal projects as well as the inventory of habitat and fish passage impediments on additional Lake Michigan tributary streams. The Department has completed additional aquatic connectivity work on Mineral Springs Creek in conjunction with GLFT funded activities including:
Salmon are blocked during their fall spawning run. The Mineral Springs Dam was a complete barrier for the salmon.
The Mineral Springs Dam was removed in June of 2016. Salmon are now able to continue upstream past the site of the former Mineral Springs Dam.
Ozaukee County and partners removed a failing dam on Mineral Springs Creek. Project activities on Mineral Springs Creek reconnected 1.02 stream miles and 25.3 acres of wetland habitat to Lake Michigan, directly benefiting seasonal spawning runs of northern pike, suckers and redhorse, and several salmonids. General project accomplishments and ongoing goals include:
(1) Remediation of two large-scale fish passage impediments on Mineral Springs Creek
(2) Restored aquatic life access to existing spawning and rearing habitat
(3) Improved recruitment from existing habitats
(4) Ongoing demonstration of successful utilization of the stream through active fisheries monitoring
(5) Improved genetic and biological diversity of remnant and/or desirable fish species
(6) Help supplant the need for artificial stocking of salmonid fish species