Fredonia Creek, Milwaukee River South Watershed (MI02)
Fredonia Creek, Milwaukee River South Watershed (MI02)
Fredonia Creek (26600)
4.11 Miles
0 - 4.11
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 Natural Communities.
Cool-Warm Headwater
Year Last Monitored
This is the most recent date of monitoring data stored in SWIMS. Additional surveys for fish and habitat may be available subsequent to this date.
This river is impaired
High Phosphorus Levels
Total Phosphorus
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.
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.
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.

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.
Supported Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
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.
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent forage fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
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.


Fredonia Creek, in the Milwaukee River South Watershed, is a 4.11 mile river that falls in Ozaukee County. This river is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently considered impaired.

Date  2022

Author  Ashley Beranek

Historical Description

The Fredonia subwatershed is comprised of one perennial and three intermittent streams in the
northeastern portion of the watershed.
Water Resources - The only perennial surface water in this subwatershed, referred to
here as Fredonia Creek, is approximately 4.2 miles long from its headwaters to its mouth at the
Milwaukee River in the village of Fredonia in Waubedonia Park. Most of the stream length
has been channelized to accommodate agricultural and urban drainage. All three intermittent
tributaries, which combined stretch approximately 3.0 miles, have been channelized for drainage
Observed in-stream habitat and water quality of Fredonia Creek is generally considered "fair" to
"poor", that of the three tributaries "poor". The existing status of the fishery source supports
this conclusion. The fish community is dominated by species tolerant to very tolerant of
degraded habitat and water quality. Sedimentation from upland and streambank erosion,
channelization, draining of wetlands, and urban runoff from the village of Fredonia negatively
alter water quality and habitat in Fredonia Creek and its tributaries. Reducing sedimentation
rates, prohibiting draining of wetlands and channelization of streams, and reducing runoff rates
from urban and rural land uses would enhance designated fish and wildlife habitat, and improve
water quality. The presence of a limited population of northern pike and juvenile smallmouth
bass suggest that these species may utilize Fredonia Creek as spawning and nursery habitat.
Wetlands and native-vegetated corridors along the tributaries of Fredonia Creek provide
valuable habitat for wildlife and fish communities.
Adjacent to the Peterson Company in the village of Fredonia is one of the three small
tributaries and a wetland area not located on a USGS topographic map (T12N R21E9Sec.35, SE
of NW quarter). This wetland parcel appears to have been filled with unknown fill material.
Industrial "dust" and slag-like material have been observed next to the tributary and a mixture of
cloudy gray and orange-stained leachate discharges were detected in the stream. No chemical
data for this stream reach are available at this time.
Because of its limited size and depth, Fredonia Creek and the three tributaries are classified as
supporting only "partial-body contact" forms of recreation.
Fisheries - This subwatershed consists of two intermittent tributaries to the mainstem of the
Milwaukee River. Both enter the river in the vicinity of Waubedonia Park, the larger flowing
south and east through the village of Fredonia. Neither of these streams is actively managed as
a sport fishery, but do provide nursery areas for juvenile smallmouth bass and northern pike.
Upper reaches of the larger tributary may also provide important spawning areas for northern
pike, but have been dredged to facilitate agricultural drainage. Other factors limiting the fishery
potential of these two small streams include dredging and vegetation removal to facilitate
residential development, siltation, unstable flows, impounding, and small size.
Wildlife - In general, wildlife habitat associated with stream corridors is good-- 50 percent is
forested and 21 percent is composed of shrub and emergent wetland cover types. However, in
the case of terrestrial wildlife, habitat is limited since 21 percent of the riparian area is cropped.
Scattered wetlands and swamp hardwoods occur throughout the watershed. State or federal
wildlife properties exist within the watershed. Farmed wetlands and highly erodible lands may
qualify for ently into the ansewation R e m e Program (CRP). Restorable wetlands exist,
though currently drained by ditches or tile. Approximately 13 acres of cropped riparian areas
are also eligible as GRP filter strips. Greater attention must be directed at protecting remaining

Date  1992

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Parks - There are no county, state, or privately-owned park and recreation sites located in this
subwatershed. There are, however, four community-owned sites in the village of Frdonia
encompassing a tdtal of 12 acres. In addition, there are small segments of environmental
corridor lands, identified by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission,
PC) located along the mainstem of the Milwaukee River in this subwatershed. All of
the recreational lands are located in the southern portion of the subwatershed.
- The primary timber types are Northern Har on the uplands and Swamp
s (silver maple, elm, ash) on the lowlands adjacent to many of the waterways. There
is a small percentage of planted conifer on scattered areas of farmland.
Two parcels of woods totaling 93 acres are enrolled in the Forest Tax laws. Logging is
prevalent in the upland timber types and is primarily selective. Harvesting of the lowland type
in many cases is heavier than harvesting of the upland
At present, there are no CRP enrollees (tree planting only) in this watershed. Timber stand
improvement within the watershed is minimal. However, some individual landowners cut
firewood and privately make improvement cuts on their own. Indiscriminate and generally heavy
harvesting of sawlogs by logging companies is common.
Many acres of erodible land need to be removed from permanent production and instead
seeded with either trees or grass.
- mis watenhd baa;: Wo b o w abandoned landfills-- Peterson
Industries, Inc. and the town of Fredonia. Potential problems associated with the Peterson
Company are discussed in the Water Resources narrative. The town of Fredonia's abandoned
landfill may pose a threat to future water quality but little information is available at this time.
Long-range solid waste planning will safeguard surface and groundwater resources within this
The village of Fredonia plans to implement a mandatory curbside recycling program.
- The village of Fredonia is served by a municipal water system. The Village
has adopted a private well abandonment ordinance to prevent unused or improperly constructed
wells from conveying contaminated surface or near-surface waters to the usable groundwater.
Currently this subwatershed has no community wells. The remainder of the area is served by
private wells.

Date  1992

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

- Regular program activities ur on a case-by-case basis and
are in response to actions or requesb from individuals. These activities include protection of
wetlands through oversight of county wetland/shoreland ordinances and incorporation of
watershed objectives into projects requiring water regulation permits. Additional program
responsibilities include review and response to the Federal Clean Water Act, Section 404
applications to fill small wetlands.
Wastewater - The village of Fredonia is served by a municipal wastewater treatment plant,
regulated by the Department Wastewater Program and described in detail with recommendations
in Section C, the Point Source Report. Information on industrial wastewater discharges is also '
found in Section C. Although physically located in the Fredonia subwatershed, this facility
directly discharges to the Milwaukee River in the Waubeka subwatershed. Refer to the
Waubeka subwatershed narrative for discussion of management recommendations for this facility.
The Ozaukee County Sanitarian is responsible for on-site private wastewater management in this
drainage way.
Nonwint Source - The lower reach of Fredonia Creek, within the village of Frdonia, receives
63 percent of its sediment load from rural upland erosion, 24 percent from rural streambank
erosion, and 12 percent from existing urban areas. It is anticipated that the urban area in the
subwatershed will double, primarily because of urbanization within the Fredonia Village limits.
The village of Fredonia has no construction erosion control ordinance or program to limit this
pollution potential. Although information concerning toxic impacts on the Creek has not been
collected, it is known that Fredonia Creek has an annual lead load of 135 pounds in addition to
other urban toxicants. Sources of animal waste pollution occur in the subwatershed, but are not

Date  1992

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Fredonia Creek, Milwaukee River South Watershed (MI02) Fish and Aquatic LifeFredonia Creek, Milwaukee River South Watershed (MI02) RecreationFredonia Creek, Milwaukee River South Watershed (MI02) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Fredonia Creek was evaluated for phosphorus every two-year cycle from 2014 to 2022 and levels were too high for healthy aquatic communities like plants, bugs, and fish. A phosphorus listing was added to the Impaired Waters List in 2014 and was confirmed in subsequent cycles.

Date  2022

Author  Ashley Beranek


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 2018. See also the 'monitoring and projects' tab.



Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
Restore Wetlands
Restore Wetlands

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 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

Monitoring Projects

Watershed Characteristics

Unnamed is located in the Milwaukee River South watershed which is 167.90 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily suburban (27.40%), urban (24.80%) and a mix of agricultural (18%) and other uses (29.80%). This watershed has 203.63 stream miles, 13,038.94 lake acres and 5,996.03 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, High 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

Fredonia Creek is considered a Cool-Warm Headwater under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results and DNR staff valiation processes that confirm or update predicted conditions based on flow and temperature modeling from historic and current landscape features and related variables. Predicated flow and temperatures for waters are associated predicated fish assemblages (communities). Biologists evaluate the model results against current survey data to determine if the modeled results are corect and whether biological indicators show water quaity degradation. This analysis is a core component of the state's resource management framework. Wisconsin's Riverine Natural Communities.

Cool (Warm-Transition) Headwaters are small, sometimes intermittent streams with cool to warm summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are uncommon to absent, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are common to uncommon. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.