Little Willow Creek, Willow Creek Watershed (LW12)
Little Willow Creek, Willow Creek Watershed (LW12)
Little Willow Creek (1221300)
7.73 Miles
0 - 7.73
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.
2017
Poor
 
This river is impaired
Elevated Water Temperature, Degraded Habitat, Impairment Unknown
Unknown Pollutant, Total Phosphorus, Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
 
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.
No
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.
Yes

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

This stream is a spring and seepage-fed Class II trout stream. A cursory habitat evaluation
was conducted on the creek in the summer of 2001. The evaluation found habitat in the Little
Willow Creek to be of good quality. The creek does experience some slight to moderate
erosion and also receives nonpoint sources of pollution, but overall, the creek has good
bottom substrate, and a variety of riffles and pools.
Despite the adequate in-stream habitat in the creek, the stream is considered to have impaired
water quality partially as a result of nonpoint problems. Specifically, there are some large
farms in the in the drainage area that may be contributing nutrients to the creek. In addition,
streambank grazing may be a problem. The stream has been hydrologically modified and
portions of the stream were channelized. This modification has had a negative effect on instream
habitat. Overall, the stream is considered a high priority for nonpoint source pollution
reduction.

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

This stream is a spring and seepage-fed Class II trout stream (WDNR, 1980). There are
some large farms in the drainage area and streambank grazing may be a problem (Kerr,
1991). The potential for soil erosion and water quality problems due to livestock are
considered to be high (Eagan, 1985). Portions of the stream were channelized, affecting
in-stream habitat.

Date  1994

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Little Willow Creek, Willow Creek Watershed (LW12) Fish and Aquatic LifeLittle Willow Creek, Willow Creek Watershed (LW12) RecreationLittle Willow Creek, Willow Creek Watershed (LW12) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of Little Willow Creek (miles 0-7.73) showed continued impairment by temperature; new temperature sample data exceeded 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

This water was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, available biological data do not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Temperature data exceeded 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use.

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

TMDL Implementation
Little Willow Creek (1221300) TMDL
Protect Riparian or Shorelands
The watershed should be considered as an EQIP project or some other nonpoint source pollution reduction project to control sources of nonpoint pollution. Specific targets for practices, such as through the Targeted Runoff Management program, (TRM), include Happy Hollow, Jacquish Hollow, Little Willow, Lost Hollow, School Section Hollow and Wheat Hollow Creeks.

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

Little Willow Creek is located in the Willow Creek watershed which is 153.08 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (46%), forest (44%) and a mix of suburban (5%) and other uses (4%). This watershed has 339.41 stream miles, 64.58 lake acres and 3,605.43 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

Little Willow 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.

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