Mill Creek, Mill and Indian Creeks Watershed (LW10)
Mill Creek, Mill and Indian Creeks Watershed (LW10)
Mill Creek (1215600)
14.28 Miles
15.44 - 29.72
Natural Community
Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results that use predicted flow and temperature based on landscape features and related assumptions. Ranges of flow and temperature associated with specific aquatic life communities (fish, macroinvertebrates) help biologists identify appropriate resource management goals. Wisconsin's Riverine Natural Communities.
Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem
Year Last Monitored
This date represents the most recent date of water quality monitoring stored in the SWIMS system. Additional field surveys for fish and habitat may be available subsequent to this date.
2015
Fair
 
Richland
Trout Water 
Trout Waters are represented by Class I, Class II or Class III waters. These classes have specific ecological characteristics and management actions associated with them. For more information regarding Trout Classifications, see the Fisheries Trout Class Webpages.
Yes
Outstanding or Exceptional 
Wisconsin has designated many of the state's highest quality waters as Outstanding Resource Waters (ORWs) or Exceptional Resource Waters (ERWs). Waters designated as ORW or ERW are surface waters which provide outstanding recreational opportunities, support valuable fisheries and wildlife habitat, have good water quality, and are not significantly impacted by human activities. ORW and ERW status identifies waters that the State of Wisconsin has determined warrant additional protection from the effects of pollution. These designations are intended to meet federal Clean Water Act obligations requiring Wisconsin to adopt an 'antidegradation' policy that is designed to prevent any lowering of water quality - especially in those waters having significant ecological or cultural value.
Yes
Impaired Water 
A water is polluted or 'impaired' if it does not support full use by humans, wildlife, fish and other aquatic life and it is shown that one or more of the pollutant criteria are not met.
No

Fish and Aquatic Life

Current Use
The use the water currently supports. This is not a designation or classification; it is based on the current condition of the water. Information in this column is not designed for, and should not be used for, regulatory purposes.
Cold (Class II Trout)
Streams supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L through natural reproduction and selective propagation. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.
Attainable Use
The use that the investigator believes the water could achieve through managing "controllable" sources. Beaver dams, hydroelectric dams, low gradient streams, and naturally occurring low flows are generally not considered controllable. The attainable use may be the same as the current use or it may be higher.
Cold (Class II Trout)
Streams supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L through natural reproduction and selective propagation. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.
Designated Use
This is the water classification legally recognized by NR102 and NR104, Wis. Adm. Code. The classification determines water quality criteria and effluent limits. Waters obtain designated uses through classification procedures.
Cold
Streams capable of supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.

Overview

The lower 12.6 miles are classified as a warm water sport fishery. Above Highway 171, the
stream becomes a Class II trout stream. Mill Creek above Boaz is considered an exceptional
resource water (ERW). A rare aquatic species has been found in the creek. An outstanding
wetland complex exists along Mill Creek from near the community of Basswood to Balmoral
Pond. This wetland complex is very important for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife in
the area. Water quality and stream habitat in the vicinity of Boaz is considered good, and the
water in this area seems to be getting colder. Fish management staff have been catching
brook trout in these cooler tributaries above Boaz. The stream is ranked as a high priority for
nonpoint source pollution reduction. Some stream reaches were channelized which has affected strean habitat. Sediment in the stream is also a problem in some areas. Cattle trampling the banks and bank erosion have been noted in some reaches of the stream. In the early 1990's, there seemed to be an increase in feeder cattle and feedlots and barnyards
adjacent the stream which could have had an adverse impact on habitat and fisheries in Mill
Creek. Manure handling and storage has also been a problem along some reaches of Mill
Creek. In addition, the dam creating Balmoral Pond is an impediment to fish migration from
the Wisconsin River. The state manages several easements along Mill Creek. Many of these
easements can be found in the headwaters of the creek, although there are also some
easements where Mill Creek joins the Wisconsin River.

From: Ripp, Coreen, Koperski, Cindy and Folstad, Jason. 2002. The State of the Lower Wisconsin River Basin. PUBL WT-559-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  2002

Author  Cynthia Koperski

Historical Description

The lower 16 miles are classified as a warm water sport fishery (Schlesser, 1985).
Above the village of Boaz the stream becomes a Class II trout stream (WDNR 1980,
Sclesser, 1985). Mill Creek above Boaz has been nominated for ERW status. Water
quality and stream habitat in the vicinity of Boaz is considered good (Eagan, Schlesser,
1985). Some stream reaches were channelized, affecting stream habitat. Sediment
in the stream is a problem in some areas. Cattle trampling the banks and bank erosion
have been noted in some reaches of the stream(WDNR, 1991). There has been an
increase in feeder cattle and feedlots and barnyards adjacent the stream (Kerr,WDNR,
1991). This is believed to have an adverse impact on habitat and fisheries
stream (Kerr, 1991). Manure handling and storage has also been a problem along
some reaches of Mill Creek (WDNR, 1991). The dam creating Balmoral Pond is an
impediment to fish migration from the Wisconsin River (WDNR, 1991). Some of the
small, unnamed spring-fed tributaries to Mill Creek have problems with cattle access to
the stream and feedlots and barnyards on the stream (WDNR, Vollrath, 1991).

Date  1994

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

The lower 16 miles are classified as a warm water sport fishery (Schlesser, 1985).
Above the village of Boaz the stream becomes a Class II trout stream (WDNR 1980,
Sclesser, 1985). Mill Creek above Boaz has been nominated for ERW status. Water
quality and stream habitat in the vicinity of Boaz is considered good (Eagan, Schlesser,
1985). Some stream reaches were channelized, affecting stream habitat. Sediment
in the stream is a problem in some areas. Cattle trampling the banks and bank erosion
have been noted in some reaches of the stream (WDNR, 1991). There has been an
increase in feeder cattle and feedlots and barnyards adjacent the stream (Kerr,WDNR,
1991). This is believed to have an adverse impact on habitat and fisheries
stream (Kerr, 1991). Manure handling and storage has also been a problem along
some reaches of Mill Creek (WDNR, 1991). The dam creating Balmoral Pond is an
impediment to fish migration from the Wisconsin River (WDNR, 1991). Some of the
small, unnamed spring-fed tributaries to Mill Creek have problems with cattle access to
the stream and feedlots and barnyards on the stream (WDNR, Vollrath, 1991).

Date  1994

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Mill Creek, Mill and Indian Creeks Watershed (LW10) Fish and Aquatic LifeMill Creek, Mill and Indian Creeks Watershed (LW10) RecreationMill Creek, Mill and Indian Creeks Watershed (LW10) Fish Consumption

General Condition

The Mill Creek was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category) based on the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was meeting this designated use and not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Amanda Smith

General Condition

Mill Creek (WBIC 1215600) from Highway 171 in Boaz to the West Branch was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

The Mill Creek (Mouth to Highway 171 in Boaz) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category) based on the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was not meeting this designated use and was considered impaired. No listing change was needed to this already impaired water.

Date  2017

Author  Amanda Smith

Impaired Waters

Mill Creek (1215600) from its mouth to Highway 171 in Boaz was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2014. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, no biological data (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) were available to assess biological impairment. Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson

Condition

Wisconsin has over 84,000 miles of streams, 15,000 lakes and milllions of acres of wetlands. Assessing the condition of this vast amount of water is challenging. The state's water monitoring program uses a media-based, cross-program approach to analyze water condition. An updated monitoring strategy (2015-2020) is now available.

Compliance with Clean Water Act fishable, swimmable standards are located in the Executive Summary of Water Condition in 2016 . See also 'monitoring' and 'projects'.

Reports

Recommendations

Monitor or Propose 303(d) Listing
Monitor to follow up on phosphorus values from 2003 to 2012 (are they "may exceed" or "clearly exceeds"?), and monitor biology to see values have dropped from "good".

Management Goals

Wisconsin's Water Quality Standards provide qualitative and quantitative goals for waters that are protective of Fishable, Swimmable conditions [Learn more]. Waters that do not meet water quality standards are considered impaired and restoration actions are planned and carried out until the water is once again fishable and swimmable

Management goals can include creation and implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load Analysis, habitat restoration work, partnership education and outreach and more. If specific recommendations exist for this water, they will be displayed below.

Monitoring

Monitoring the condition of a river, stream, or lake includes gathering physical, chemical, biological, and habitat data. Comprehensive studies often gather all these parameters in great detail, while lighter assessment events will involve sampling physical, chemical and biological data such as macroinvertebrates. Aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish communities integrate watershed or catchment condition, providing great insight into overall ecosystem health. Chemical and habitat parameters tell researchers more about human induced problems including contaminated runoff, point source dischargers, or habitat issues that foster or limit the potential of aquatic communities to thrive in a given area. Wisconsin's Water Monitoring Strategy was recenty updated.

Grants and Management Projects

Monitoring Projects

Watershed Characteristics

Mill Creek is located in the Mill and Indian Creeks watershed which is 130.32 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (46%), agricultural (46%) and a mix of suburban (5%) and other uses (3%). This watershed has 313.19 stream miles, 179.45 lake acres and 1,834.87 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Low for runoff impacts on lakes and High for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of High. This value can be used in ranking the watershed or individual waterbodies for grant funding under state and county programs.However, all waters are affected by diffuse pollutant sources regardless of initial water quality. Applications for specific runoff projects under state or county grant programs may be pursued. For more information, go to surface water program grants.

Natural Community

Mill Creek is considered a Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results that use predicted flow and temperature based on landscape features and related assumptions. Ranges of flow and temperature associated with specific aquatic life communities (fish, macroinvertebrates) help biologists identify appropriate resource management goals. Wisconsin's Riverine Natural Communities.

Cool (Cold-Transition) Mainstem streams are moderate-to-large but still wadeable perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are common to absent, mainstem species are abundant to common, and river species are common to absent.

Cool (Cold-Transition) Headwaters are small, usually perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon (<10 per 100 m), transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.

More Interactive Maps