Little Falls Lake, Lower Willow River Watershed (SC02)
Little Falls Lake, Lower Willow River Watershed (SC02)
Willow River SP Little Fall Lake Beach, Little Falls Lake (2607400)
0.06 Miles
0 - 0
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.
Impounded Flowing Water
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
Unknown
 
Saint Croix
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.
No
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.
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.
Impounded Flowing Water
This classification includes waterbodies created by dams (mill ponds, reservoirs, flowages, and other impoundments) with a residence time of 14 days or more (under summer (June – Sept) mean low flow conditions with a 1 in 10 year recurrence interval (US EPA 2000)). Many natural lakes also have dams or water level control structures. However, to be included in the Impounded Flowing Waters category, the dam or water level control structure, must account for more than half of a waterbody’s maximum depth. Impoundments with a residence time of less than 14 days should be covered under the rivers and stream assessment methodology process.
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.
FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.

Overview

Little Falls Flowage is located within Willow River State Park. It is considered eutrophic and suffers from algae blooms during the summer months. The aquatic vegetation in Little Falls Flowage consists of 14 different species, of which 2 are non-native species -- Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) and curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus). The most common species are water stargrass, (Heteranthera dubia) coontail, (Ceratphyllum demersum), common waterweed (Elodea canndensis), and slender naiad (Najas flexilis).

In the lake’s watershed the primary land use is agriculture and suburban home sites, along with municipal and industrial developments in Clear Lake and New Richmond. Nonpoint agricultural runoff, in combination with municipal and industrial inputs, contributes sediments and nutrients to Little Falls Flowage, causing water quality deterioration.

Little Falls Flowage has a high-quality, self-sustaining, sport fishery. Abundant populations of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike and yellow perch are present, in addition to smaller populations of bluegill and black crappie. The average size distribution of game and panfish are above normal.

Date  2010

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Overview

A hardwater, drainage impoundment situated on the Willow River. It has a navigable inlet from that stream and a 27 foot head public utility dam (Northern States Power Company) on its outlet (50 CFS). It is managed for largemouth bass and panfish. The panfish group includes perch, black crappies, bluegills, pumpkinseeds and yellow bullheads. Walleyes are present but not in abundance. Carp and white suckers are common here. Public access is had from a town road to the flowage on its south shore. One unoccupied dwelling is the extent of the private development here. There are no wetlands on the flowage. Mallards, blue-winged teal, wood ducks, hooded mergansers and Canada geese (a rarity in this area) may be found nesting near the inlet.

Source: 1961, Surface Water Resources of St.Croix Co. Little Falls Flowage - T. 29 N., R. 19 W., Sec. 4, 8, 9 Surface Acres = 158.5 S.D.F. i 2.27 Maximu,-n Depth = 16 feet

Date  1961

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

This lake is the largest and most downstream of three impoundments in Willow River State Park. The Willow Falls dam (middle impoundment) was removed in the spring of 1992. The removal of the Willow Falls dam and previous drawdowns of the impoundment have caused a significant amount of sediment to be eroded from Willow Falls lake bed and be deposited in the upper end of Little Falls Lake. A component of the Willow Falls dam removal project will be dredging a portion of the sediment which has accumulated in Little Falls Lake. Currently very limited water quality data exist for Little Falls Lake. Water quality data collection has been limited bacteriological sampling at the swimming beach in Willow River State Park. This data indicated that during the summer the lake does not experience any chronic bacterial contamination.

Date  1992

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Little Falls Lake, Lower Willow River Watershed (SC02) Fish and Aquatic LifeLittle Falls Lake, Lower Willow River Watershed (SC02) RecreationLittle Falls Lake, Lower Willow River Watershed (SC02) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Willow River SP Little Fall Lake Beach was assessed for the 2018 listing cycle; E. coli data sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use. This beach was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

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

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 Falls Lake is located in the Lower Willow River watershed which is 164.38 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (52%), forest (22%) and a mix of suburban (13%) and other uses (14%). This watershed has 99.33 stream miles, 2,139.74 lake acres and 2,482.81 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.

Natural Community

Willow River SP Little Fall Lake Beach, Little Falls Lake is considered a Impounded Flowing Water 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.

This classification includes waterbodies created by dams (mill ponds, reservoirs, flowages, and other impoundments) with a residence time of 14 days or more (under summer (June – Sept) mean low flow conditions with a 1 in 10 year recurrence interval (US EPA 2000)). Many natural lakes also have dams or water level control structures. However, to be included in the Impounded Flowing Waters category, the dam or water level control structure, must account for more than half of a waterbody’s maximum depth. Impoundments with a residence time of less than 14 days should be covered under the rivers and stream assessment methodology process.