Impaired Water - Becky Creek (Becky Creek)
Rusk County, Wisconsin
UC17
2369600
0.00 - 1.24
1.24
Water is impaired due to one or more pollutants and associated quality impacts.
Notes
A recreational use impairment was identified for Becky Creek in the 1998 303(d) list, but previous assessment notes entered in July 2006 indicate that this listing is not supported by available data. The degraded habitat impairment was identified in the 2006 impaired waters list due to total suspended solids levels; however, a TMDL for this pollutant/impairment combination was finalized in 2005. Thus, Becky Creek was moved from category 5a to category 4a with the removal of the recreation restrictions impairment listing.
This water was assessed during the 2014 listing cycle; biological data do not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category).


This water was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; based on 2018 WisCALM listing criteria 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).
Listing Details
Pollutant
Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
Listed For
Fish and Aquatic Life
Impairments
Degraded Habitat
Current Use
Coldwater - natural reproduction
Listing Status
TMDL Approved
Attainable Use
Coldwater - natural reproduction
Priority
Not Applicable
Designated Use
Coldwater - natural reproduction
303(d) ID
650
Listing Date
4/1/2004
Impaired Water Notes
A site near the mouth of Becky Creek was monitored in 1995 and 2000. Both assessments indicated excessive bank erosion and fair fish habitat. Becky Creek at this location has widened and become shallower due to the bank erosion and sediment deposition. The shallow waters coupled with turbid conditions are elevating water temperatures. Total phosphorus and suspended solids increased by 50 percent from a site only a mile downstream. The stream bank erosion is likely due to a combination of cattle access and flood flow scouring.
Date
10/13/2010

Impaired Water Notes
The lower segment of Becky Creek (1.6 miles) should be removed from the 303d list of impaired waters and placed on the “watch” list. It was placed on the impaired waters list based on the professional judgment of a former DNR fish manager, who felt this segment had the potential to be coldwater and support trout.

It appears the lack of coldwater in this segment is due primarily to hydrologic conditions rather than land use practices. In 2009, groundwater discharge to the creek was restricted to the headwaters area in the Blue Hills, upstream of Imalone Road. The creek was rapidly losing water to the ground downstream of there and was completely dry before reaching the STH 40 crossing. Substantial discharge of cold groundwater to a stream is needed to maintain coldwater conditions for trout.

Additional observations of groundwater discharge to the creek should be made in the future during years of more normal precipitation. This would help verify that inadequate groundwater discharge to maintain cold water is a chronic condition.

Fish surveys since 1967 have not found trout present in the lower segment of Becky Creek. This suggests that even in periods of normal precipitation, groundwater discharge is inadequate to produce coldwater conditions there. The current DNR fish manager for Rusk County made the following comments in his 2010 survey report for lower Becky Creek - “The absence of trout in repeated surveys, our observations of instream habitat characteristic of warmwater fish communities, and this station’s proximity to the Chippewa River suggest that the current class 1 trout water designation may not be appropriate or attainable in the segment downstream of hwy. 40. Recommend review of current class 1 trout designation and current listing on CWA 303d listing of impaired waters.”

The formerly pastured area in the creek segment currently listed as impaired is showing signs of natural recovery. Streambanks were quickly revegetated with grasses and herbs once cattle pasturing stopped. Young woody vegetation is appearing and will begin to provide significant shading in several years. Some channel narrowing and point bar expansion were observed between 2009 and 2010.

Some of the very wide pools and steeply banked areas in the formerly pastured area will probably take much longer to improve. This stream section’s potential to only support a warmwater forage fish community does not justify making expenditures to artificially improve the stream channel. Natural scouring and deposition processes should eventually produce channel improvements
Date
4/14/2011

Impaired Water Notes
Becky Creek sediment TMDL was approved September 27, 2005.
Date
5/8/2012

 
Pollutant
E. coli
Listed For
Impairments
Recreational Restrictions - Pathogens
Current Use
Listing Status
Pollutant Removed
Attainable Use
Priority
Delisted 2012
Designated Use
303(d) ID
650
Listing Date
4/1/1998
Impaired Water Notes
This water was assessed during the 2012 listing cycle. A recreation use impairment was identified for Becky Creek in the 2008 30(d) list, but documentation of the original listing is not available nor is the listing supported by available data.
Date
4/1/2012