Water quality in Swan and Murphy’s creeks is tied to overall health and ecosystem functioning of wetlands along these tributaries and Waubesa Wetlands. This prompted monitoring water quality and quantity in Swan and Murphy’s creeks and building upon existing Rock River Coalition monitoring efforts. Three sampling points upstream of Waubesa Wetlands were sampled monthly between May and October 2018 and analyzed for contaminants including nitrogen, chloride, total suspended solids, and phosphorus. Additionally, there was a continuous monitoring station on Swan Creek at Lalor Road, which collected continuous flow data and water quality samples during precipitation events.

Sampling sites along Swan and Murphy's Creek in the Waubesa Wetlands watershed

Total phosphorus concentrations for Swan Creek and Murphy’s Creek routinely exceeded the 0.075 mg/L limit set by the WDNR. There were fluctuations in nutrient concentrations at different flow levels and from the upstream site to the downstream site along each creek. Based on these observations, future efforts should focus on continued monitoring of these sites to establish long-term trends, and a long-term USGS monitoring station should be established on Swan Creek. It is also recommended
that all of the data from this project, along with previous and future data, be compiled into a comprehensive dataset.

These baseline data will enable planners to better design for future land use change within the watershed. For water quality results, please see the Results page.

To volunteer with the Rock River Coalition's Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring Program, please contact the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Coordinator.

An automatic sampler was installed at Swan Creek and Lalor Road. The sampler pumped water into bottles during storms, and these samples were analyzed for phosphorus, nitrogen, chloride, and other parameters at the State Lab of Hygiene. Photo taken by Rachel Johnson.