Location: SE Wisconsin, just south of downtown Port Washington.
Character: Tiny, intimate, super-micro-creek; twisting, turning, brush dodging, rock slamming, and virtually guaranteed deadfall and strainer issues.
Shuttle Length/DriveTIme: 0.5 miles/2 minutes. (See details in "Directions" Tab.)
Put-in elevation is approximately 640'.
Take-out elevation is approximately 600'.
Thus total elevation change is approximately 40'.
Drainage area at put-in : 1.4 square miles
Drainage area at take-out: 2.8 square miles
** Recommended 'Companion Runs' **
------------- Approximate ----- Approximate
River ------- Distance ---------- DriveTimeSauk Creek -- < 1 mile --------- 2 minutesCedar Creek - < 11 miles ---- 17 minutes
Information (latitude, longitude, elevations, total drop, run length, shuttle length) all obtained from best extrapolation of data via the distance measuring tool from google.com/maps, USGS StreamStats, and other online resources.IMPORTANT NOTE: Other sources may show differing values. All values should be merely for general comparative purposes. Relatively minor differences (even discrepancies up to 10-20% and more!) generally mean very little in the grand scheme of all things whitewater! Far more important than gradient and class/rating should be other less-quantifiable 'character factors' such as continuous versus pool/drop, wide-open routes versus constricted technical rapids, wide-channel with multiple routes versus narrow channel with essentially one route, gradual river banks versus rocky shores or steep-walled gorges, et cetera.Never rely solely on class/rating to decide if you should run a river/rapids!General Overview
A tiny, intimate 'stupid boater tricks' run with likely snags, 'clothes-lining' deadfall, and tight maneuvering. With a drainage area of no more than 1-2 square miles, obviously this will require significant rain (and/or snow melt) and will have a very short 'window of opportunity'. However, high-water debris I have seen on numerous occasions suggests that it should happen with some (relative) frequency (a few times a year).
Scroll down to the "Rapids" for (slightly) more details why anyone might even look at this stream. In truth, it is recommended as little more than a 'fantasy run'. However, in the event anyone actually decides to run it, scout as much as possible before putting on! Walk the banks through Oakland Avenue Green (Park) from S.Ravine Street to Oakland Avenue, to be aware of what you are getting into!
A stream this narrow, with such vertical banks, will have virtually no eddies and plenty of strainers and sweepers to mess you up. At 'boatable' levels, even this little creek will have powerful forces of flow which could kill you if you are pinned against an obstacle and end up getting flipped under. So, while the actual rapids contain absolutely nothing which exceeds class II-II+, the boater skill-level to successfully negotiate this twisty intimate (and likely snag-filled) stream is much more in the class III-IV range!
Most emphatically, this is NOT something to try in a vinyl raft, air mattress, inner tube! You can almost certainly count on having it popped, or at the least being ejected from it as it wraps or pins on some obstruction. Just as emphatically, this is not a stream for a regular canoe or 'recreational' kayak (with no spray deck). You will not be able to maneuver such a relatively long craft in this narrow creek, your craft will filll with water and you will have a tough time retrieving it from the flow. Even worse, if you end up in the water, and are downstream of your craft, you could easily get pinned and crushed up against a tree or obstruction by your own boat! (This does not discount the possibility that someone might be able to successfully make it down in such a craft, but such success is far more likely a stroke of luck than evidence of actual boating skill.)
Note: DO NOT go beyond the listed take-out. The stream splits just before it gets to the power plant. The left (north) 'natural channel' encounters numerous hazards (significant plant growth, impassably low pipes spanning the stream, a low bridge and other obstructions). There is an 'overflow' channel (which can appear more as the main channel) proceeding along the south of the power plant building. Entrance into this channel is completely blocked by railings affixed atop a short cement diversion wall. This channel is lined with large quarry rock which will take substantial flow to cover sufficiently for passage by canoe/kayak. There are no likely features (other than what may exist as the flow hits the lake). All property around the power plant is posted against unauthorized access (trespass) other than a new lake access south of the power plant. As a result, we cannot recommend proceeding beyond the listed take-out at S.Division Street.
I suspect this little creek has a name (almost everything does!), but I have checked numerous maps to no avail. (I have not talked to any locals to see if they know of a name for it.)
Drainage area at Sunset Road/CTH.CC is 1.42 square miles (as calculated by USGS StreamStats 4.0 Beta software). At Ravine Street it has increased to a whopping 2.74 square miles.
A 5' dam used to exist at this location on this tiny creek. As of winter/early-spring 2017 it has been removed, the streambanks 'armored' with large boulders (to stabilize and reduce erosion of the banks which had been disturbed and somewhat denuded to facilitate removal), eliminating the likely main reason to have ever bothered with this tiny creek.
Downstream, as the creek narrows, be ready to encounter a myriad of snags and sweepers to contend with as best you can. Again, this section must be walked to scout thoroughly before even thinking about putting on in any watercraft!
As the creek approaches the W.Oakland Avenue road bridge, there had been rows of posts anchored into the streambed (undoubtedly remnants of the supports for a long defunct horse-and-carriage bridge). They may have been cut off more recently. However, this area is still very much subject to strainers and snags. So, while any rapids here may technically may rate nothing more than a class I-II rating, the high potential for danger and difficult maneuvering suggest a much higher skill-level may be required than should ever be used to describe the rapids and their class/rating.
Scout this spot from the Oakland Avenue bridge before running the creek!
NOTE: This is AFTER the recommended take-out, for reasons which should be obvious once you have read this description.
The creek encounters the main 'compound' for the WE Energies Port Washington Powerplant. They have made accommodations for the creek to split here (at times of higher flows).
What I'm guessing is the (more-or-less) historic channel heads to the left, and is quite narrow and filled with cattails and shrubbery, making passage difficult-to-impossible. In addition, there are very low-slung horizontal pipes spanning the creek at a height which would confound and completely preclude safe passage.
This channel dumps into Sauk Creek just upstream of it's mouth. As written up on the run for that stream, we strongly advise against running that stream into the lake. A short weir/dam at the mouth can cause a nasty hydraulic, depending upon river level (flow) and Lake Michigan level. With the lake at near-record highs in 2017/2018, there is virtually no evidence of this weir/dam, whereas just a couple years prior, with the lake near record lows, this was seriously wicked looking! Additionally, cooling waters from the powerplant are discharged immediately to the right of the mouth of Sauk Creek, which can make some very unsafe and non-obvious sub-surface currents here. An additional concern is the popularity of this spot for fishermen, whose lines will drape this area. And finally, there is not a real convenient place close-by to get out. You would have to paddle to a (trailered) boat ramp or make a climb up huge boulders lining the shores. All of which is to say, DO NOT TAKE THE LEFT CHANNEL!
The second alternative (from the split) would be to the right. WE Energies has created an overflow channel to better accommodate peaking flows. Their property is all posted against 'Unauthorized Personnel'. The cement wall which the overflow spills across has railings which completely block being able to just drop/boof into this channel. Rock rubble lines the whole channel, and having enough water to make boating this area possible, would be far too much water to make the bash-and-crash (down the narrow, strainer-and-sweeper filled main portion of the run) anything close to sane or do-able!
For this reason, exiting the creek before this point is virtually mandatory!
By the way, you should be able to do a 'virtual scout' of this area if you go to the 'Access' tab, click the take-out coordinates. A new brower page should open showing the Google Maps page for this location. Once the page has fully loaded, click the 'Satellite' box/icon at lower-left of your screen and use the 'slider' (or double-click) to 'zoom in' to inspect the area.
With a drainage area of no more than 1-2 square miles, obviously this will require significant rain and/or snowmelt, and will have a very short 'window of opportunity'. However, high-water debris I have seen on numerous occasions suggests that it does happen with some (relative) frequency (I.E., a few times a year).
Permits are not required for this reach.
As mentioned in the description, we most strongly recommend walking (scouting) this entire (short) reach before even thinking about running it. Since it is rather short, it is entirely likely that anyone who does decide to actually boat this absurdly small creek is likely to just walk their shuttle.
You may wish to use the text-entry box below to input your home or other starting address to get drive time, distance, and directions to this reach. (It will accept zipcode, as stated, or a full address: street city state, or lat/lng coordinates, ....)
Dam Removal Area
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