Fish and Aquatic Life
Otter Creek is a 27-mile-long stream that flows through farmland, two golf courses, and receives
stormwater runoff from the cities of Eau Claire and Altoona. The stream empties into the Eau
Claire River below the Lake Altoona dam. The suspended sediment load of Otter Creek was
observed to be noticeably higher than the Eau Claire River during storms (Bernhardt). Storm event
sampling was conducted-on otter Creek throughout its length in-1995. ~ e & s show a significant
increase in suspended sediments in the urban portion of the stream. Bacteria levels during storms
were several thousand times higher than the standard for full body contact in surface waters
(WDNR). Erosion of the sand banks is evident in the urban portion of the stream (Koperski). Ths
erosion may be aggravated by increased flows through the urban portion of the stream due to
numerous storm sewers. Otter Creek is classified as a Class III trout stream for about 14 miles of its
length. With control of polluted runoff, this stream could potentially support a Class I1 trout
fishery (Holzer) .
Author Cynthia Koperski
The Otter Creek 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). Chloride data clearly met thresholds. No change in the existing impaired water listed was needed.
Author Amanda Smith
Otter Creek (2125700) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2012. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceeded 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). Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.
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 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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||10008297||Otter Creek - Station 6 - Cth V||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||10031834||Otter Creek 16 m Upstream CTH 'D'||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||183084||Otter Creek at Sth 12||5/9/1995||10/15/2001||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||183085||Otter Creek at Cth Aa||5/9/1995||10/8/2015||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||183083||Otter Creek at Spooner Ave.||5/9/1995||9/26/2006||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||10016904||Otter Creek - Upstream Of Culvert On Lark Road||4/25/1996||4/25/1996||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||10008296||Otter Creek - Station 5-Ush 53||9/27/2016||9/27/2016||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||10008292||Otter Creek - Spooner Ave||4/25/1996||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||10008293||Otter Creek - Station 2-Gatehouse Dr||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||10031833||Otter Creek 10 m Upstream of Mallard Rd||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||183086||Otter Creek at Cth I||5/9/1995||4/25/1996||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||183087||Otter Creek at Cth D||5/9/1995||4/25/1996||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||10008294||Otter Creek - Station 3-Otter Creek Rd||10/15/2001||10/15/2001||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||10008295||Otter Creek - Station 4-Bernhardt Rd||Map||Data|
|2125700||Otter Creek||10008298||Otter Creek - Station 7 - Cth Kk||Map||Data|
Otter Creek is located in the Otter Creek watershed which is 70.52 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (57%), forest (21%) and a mix of suburban (13%) and other uses (8%). This watershed has 142.72 stream miles, 18.25 lake acres and 1,733.10 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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.