Fish and Aquatic Life
Fall Creek is an approximately 6-mile tributary of the Eau Claire River located in the Lower Eau Claire River Priority Watershed. The watershed project ran from 1983 to 1994, utilizing a number of BMP’s (Best Management Practices) including fencing for livestock exclusion and stream crossings. A report summarizing changes in the stream due to this project was completed in 1995 (Schreiber).
Fall Creek Pond is a 17 acre impoundment of Fall Creek located in the Village of Fall Creek. The upstream 4-mile portion of Fall Creek is managed as a Class II brown trout fishery, and the portion below the pond is managed as a warm water forage fishery. The trout fishery is maintained by annual stocking of about 70 yearling brown trout (Schreiber, 1995). The priority watershed project objective was to increase trout reproduction and survival by reducing organic and sediment loading to the stream (WDNR, 1985). According to Schreiber (1995), this objective had not yet been achieved in 1995 because accumulated sediments needed to be scoured and the underlying gravel riffle areas needed to be exposed.
Little improvements have occurred on Fall Creek since the last evaluation in 1995. The brown trout fishery (above the pond) is limited due to the lack of a well-developed pool-riffle-run structure and high amounts of silt/sand sediment deposition. As was concluded in the 1995 study, shifting sediment deposition is the limiting factor in stream degradation because streambanks are generally stable and the stream has good water quality.
Streambank protection mechanisms need to be implemented for streambed stabilization and scouring of these sediments to occur. As concluded in the 1995 survey, in-stream devices such as channel deflectors and sediment traps could be used for this purpose. Once the stream bottom is stabilized, lunker structures and other in-stream cover devices could be implemented to increase fish habitat.
Report from the Beaver Creek Reserve.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The headwaters of Fall Creek have been channelized, but the four-mile stretch above the Fall Creek
Pond is classified as a Class I1 trout stream. A good portion of stocked fish in this stream survive
the winter. Streambank protection above Fall Creek Pond would improve in-stream trout cover
(Kurz). The Fall Creek wastewater treatment plant discharges to groundwater. Previously, it
discharged to Fall Creek.
A study conducted during 1994 evaluated the effectiveness of the watershed project on this stream.
The rebort states that minimal changes have occurred in this stream since initiation of the
watershed project. Condition of the-stream corridor has generally improved, with an overall
reduction of streambank erosion due to cattle access. Based on macroinvertebrate sampling results,
the stream does not appear to be limited by the amount of organic materials entering-andin the
stream. Fall Creek does, however, remain significantly degraded by sedimentation, lack of suitable
spawning substrate and the presence of beaver dams in some locations. Remaining extensive fine
sediment deposits in the stream may be the result of a variety of causes, including low stream
gadient and consequent lack of scouring, and continuing sources of new sediment from cropland
runoff (Schreiber 19%).
Author Aquatic Biologist
The Fall Creek (From Fall Cr. Pond to headwaters) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Temperature data did not exceed thresholds. This water is not meeting this designated use and was considered impaired. No listing change was needed to this already impaired water.
Author Amanda Smith
Fall Creek (2129900) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceed 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds 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).
Author Aaron Larson
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 or implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load analysis, a Nine Key Element Plan, or other restoration work, education and outreach and more. If specific recommendations exist for this water, they will be displayed below online.
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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|2129900||Fall Creek||10032360||Fall Creek at US Hwy 12 bridge||Map||Data|
|2129900||Fall Creek||10017040||Fall Ck. - Upstream From Hwy Kk(100 Feet Sampled)||11/5/1987||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2129900||Fall Creek||10011337||Fall Creek - Fall Creek 42 Meters Upstream From Cth J||11/5/1987||6/1/2015||Map||Data|
Fall Creek is located in the Lower Eau Claire River watershed which is 216.31 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (47%), forest (37%) and a mix of suburban (6%) and other uses (10%). This watershed has 414.24 stream miles, 937.46 lake acres and 10,770.45 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Available for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available 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.