Middle Fork Description:
Beginning in Dubuque County, the Middle Fork of the Catfish Creek is 6,667 acres and is the fastest developing portion of the watershed. Flowing east, the Middle Fork runs through the county and into the City of Dubuque, with a small portion of the watershed located in the City of Asbury. The stream empties into the Catfish Creek near the Rockdale Road Bridge in the southern portion of Dubuque.
The land use in this watershed is almost as diverse as the stream itself. Consisting of Forested and Agricultural areas in the headwaters, the stream then flows through an industrial area before entering a commercial section of Dubuque. The stream is then surrounded once again by forested areas tucked away from the City by large bluffs. The stream substrate begins with blue pan clay in the headwaters, before changing to slate bedrock near the industrial center. As the stream flows into the heart of the City, the substrate changes again into magnificent limestone bedrock that sets off the beauty of this stream and its surroundings.
Major attractions to this watershed include Bergfeld Pond Recreation Area, camp ground areas, The Dubuque Country Club and several small City parks.
Middle Fork 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.