Work to revitalize Sauk Creek and improve habitat for resident and migratory fish began in the summer of 1994. The project called for cleanup of the creek, creation of deeper and narrower channels, stabilization of stream banks and creation of fish habitat structures and fishermen access.
Work began in 1994 when divers from Divers Delight provided underwater video of the concrete lip (1) at the mouth of the creek. This aided in the planning stages for its removal. Northern Environment, a consulting firm, helped procure the permit to modify the concrete lip and Wisconsin Electric Power Company employees cut a notch in the concrete lip in February 1995. This notch will allow stocked salmon and trout to leave and enter the creek in years with low water.
The second step in the project was to secure agreements with landowners adjacent to the stream which would allow Wisconsin DNR to work in the creek. Agreements were reached with 9 land owners and the City of Port Washington. These agreements give anglers the right to walk on the streambank as long as they are within 10 feet of Sauk Creek.
The third step in the project was to start the stream habitat work. This was started with $10,000 from the Great Lakes Sport Fishermen-Ozaukee Chapter and Wisconsin DNR salmon stamp money. A total of 25 LUNKER structures (2) were put into
the creek by WDNR personnel and the City of Port Washington. These structures help stabilize the stream banks and provide overhead cover for fish species. In addition, the WDNR constructed a K-dam, restored 50 feet of badly eroded streambank, deepened and narrowed 2,200 feet of streambed and re-channelized the flow of 600 feet of degraded stream section near the Port Washington High School.
The final step in the project was to insure that maintenance money would be available in future years to protect and enhance the work that has already been done. The WDNR allocated $15,000 over two years starting in 1997 to maintain this important project. In addition, money from the Great Lakes Sport Fishermen-Ozaukee Chapter, that was not used in the initial project, was put into a gift account for future years.