Fish and Aquatic Life
This flashy stream drains the red clay areas typical of this basin. During spring runoff, a substantial portion of stream flow runs into Parker Creek near its mouth at Lake Superior. The lower two miles of the creek are considered Class I trout waters and exceptional resource waters. Lake Superior species spawn in the stream. The stream exhibits extreme flow variations.
The Lake Superior Binational Program identified Saxon Harbor at the mouth of Oronto Creek as important to the integrity of the Lake Superior ecosystem for fish and wildlife spawning and nursery grounds. The beach area of Saxon Harbor provides habitat for shorebirds, while the harbor itself supports spawning minnows, rainbow and brook trout and coho salmon. The Lake Superior shoreline around Saxon Harbor consists of sheltered flats. The harbor contains a small marina with boat ramps and an adjacent county park. The high bluffs along the Lake Superior shore experience intensive erosion.
During survey work conducted as part of the coastal wetlands evaluation no rare species of macroinvertebrate were found and overall taxa richness was moderate (4-25 species) (Epstein 1997). At the survey site, point sources and failing septic systems are a significant pollutant source, with filamentous algae present.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Oronto Creek was assessed during the 2018 assessment cycle; available biological sample data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) values scored in the "poor" category) based on the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria thresholds. This water was meeting its designated use and not considered impaired.
Author Amanda Smith
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'.
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 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
|Project Name (Click for Details)||Year Started|
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|2939400||Oronto Creek||10044503||Oronto Creek - ~1/4 mile south of W. Harbor Drive (T47N R01W S23 NW NW)||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2939400||Oronto Creek||10038031||Oronto Creek (161 yards off Harbor Drive) ||5/23/2012||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
Oronto Creek is located in the Montreal River watershed which is 226.26 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (64%), wetland (21%) and a mix of grassland (4%) and other uses (11%). This watershed has 382.88 stream miles, 1,369.22 lake acres and 30,742.44 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available for runoff impacts on lakes and Low for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Low. 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.