Stony Creek, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05)
Stony Creek, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05)
Stony Creek (28700)
3.10 Miles
0 - 3.10
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 Mainstem
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.
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.
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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 cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.
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.

Historical Description

The Stony Creek Su atershed, located in the southeastern portion of the watershed, consists of Stony Creek, two
other unnamed perennial streams, two intermittent streams and Haack Lake.

Water Resources. Stony Creek originates in wetlands and also as an intermittent outlet from Haack
discharges to the North Branch of the Milwaukee River at T12N-R20-Sec3 SWSW. The stream is channelized
downstream of Forest Road and is impounded at Boltonville, approximately 4.1 miles downstream of the headwaters.
Stony Creek is joined by two perennial and two small intermittent tributaries. From the headlands to approximately
&st Moraine Drive, the stream is bordered by lowland, swamp hardwoods. In-stream habitat limitations such as
siltation in slackwater, pools and runs, suggest that sediment transport from nonpoint sources and stream bank erosion
is significant in wet weather. Bacteriological contamination appears to be a problem downstream of STH 144.
Analysis of the bacterial fecal co1iform:streptococcus ratios suggest mixed human/animal waste loading.
Haack Lake is the only natural lake in this subwatershed. It is predominantly a seepage lake with a surface area of 12
acres and a maximum depth of 22 feet. Depending on the precipitation in a given year, Haack Lake flows to an
intermittent outlet in the headwater wetlands of Stony Creek. Haack Lake is surrounded by wooded wetlands, similar
to the wetlands in the headwaters region of the creek.
The Boltonville millpond was created by a low-head dam on Stony Creek. It has a surface area of 11 acres and
maximum depth of approximately 10 feet. As to be expected of an impoundment, heavy siltation, turbidity and weed
infestation are major problems in this impoundment. Discharge from the impoundment also results in significant
warming of downstream water temperatures. Boltonville Millpond was dredged in 1985 and is currently maintained by
the Boltonville Sportsmans' Club.
Stony Creek has a full-body recreational classification but may be unhealthy during periods of wet weather due to
bacterial contamination. There is no public access to Boltonville Millpond.

Date  1990

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Stony Creek, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05) Fish and Aquatic LifeStony Creek, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05) RecreationStony Creek, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05) Fish Consumption


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.


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

Stony Creek is located in the North Branch Milwaukee River watershed which is 149.67 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (45.40%), grassland (20.30%) and a mix of wetland (15.50%) and other uses (18.80%). This watershed has 159.81 stream miles, 886.38 lake acres and 13,793.69 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

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

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model resultsand 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.

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