Catfish Creek Description
This 16,188 acre watershed begins in Dubuque County and flows north east into the City of Dubuque. Primarily agricultural land consisting of row crops and pasture, this basin also includes large amounts of forestland, and small amounts of residential areas within Dubuque. Being primarily fed by cold water springs, this basin is unique in that it is home to naturally reproducing trout. Catfish Creek runs through the Swiss Valley Nature Preserve, Swiss Valley Campground, and the Mines of Spain State Park before emptying into the Mississippi River, making it a hot spot for recreational activities.
Catfish Creek Impairments:
Typical to most watersheds where agricultural land use is present, high levels of nitrates often inundate the stream during the spring time. These levels contribute to the algae bloom we so often see in our nation’s streams. Nitrates use up the dissolved oxygen in the water, which living organisms use to breath. This may contribute to fish kills and other loss of habitat.
After a water quality study was done in 2009, all five forks of the Catfish Creek are currently being placed on the 303d impaired water bodies list for E-Coli.