Blackhawk Creek, Blackhawk Creek Watershed (LR02)
Blackhawk Creek, Blackhawk Creek Watershed (LR02)
Blackhawk Creek (797000)
2 Miles
2 - 4
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-Cold Mainstem, Coldwater
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
Degraded Habitat, Turbidity
Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
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.
Streams capable of supporting macro-invertebrates or occasionally fish that are tolerant of organic pollution. Typically small streams with very low-flow and very limited habitat. Certain marshy ditches, concrete line-drainage channels, and other intermittent streams. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters are tolerant of many extreme conditions, but typically require concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain about 1 mg/L.
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.

Historical Description

From: Ball, Joseph R., and Ronald J. Poff, Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Rock County, Department of Natural Resources, 1970.

Surface Acres = 6.44, Miles -2.7, Gradient = 51.8 feet per mile.

An intermittent stream included in this section because it is named The stream drains a large portion of east central Rock County and is tributary to Spring Brook near Janesville. A few forage species may enter the stream when water is present.

Date  1970

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Blackhawk Creek, Blackhawk Creek Watershed (LR02) Fish and Aquatic LifeBlackhawk Creek, Blackhawk Creek Watershed (LR02) RecreationBlackhawk Creek, Blackhawk Creek Watershed (LR02) 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.



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.
Monitor Aquatic Biology
Conduct biological (mIBI or fIBI) monitoring on Blackhawk Creek, WBIC: 797000, AU:5720253
TMDL (USEPA) Approved
Blackhawk Creek TMDL Approved
Restore Wetlands
This water is experiencing agricultural growth pressures and development pressures. There are a substantial number of "lost" wetlands along the streambank of Blackhawk creek that are considered "potentially restorable".

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

Monitoring Studies

Blackhawk Creek is monitored through the Citizen Based Stream Monitoring Program, from 2008 through the present day, Blackhawk Creek at STH 14. Notes indicate that a CAFO dairy farm was constructed near the creek and monitoring to evaluate constrution run-off to this stream and permitted activity are inspected by Rock Co. Land Conservation Department. 2009-2011 Dissolved Oxygen readings ranged from 8 mg/L to 11 mg/ and an HBI value of 4.786 at that site in 2008 indicated generally good water quality conditions. Near this station, a few large acreage farmers signed up for nutrient management for new Farmland Preservation per acre tax credit. The planned CAFO rents about 5000 acres for manure. A macroinvertebrate Index of Biological Integrity value of 3.72881 for this site in 2008 indicates "fair" conditions.

Date  2011

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Watershed Characteristics

Blackhawk Creek is located in the Blackhawk Creek watershed which is 108.11 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (67.70%), suburban (11.60%) and a mix of urban (7.60%) and other uses (13.10%). This watershed has 94.55 stream miles, 96.88 lake acres and 415.15 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Low 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

Blackhawk Creek is considered a Cool-Cold Mainstem, Coldwater 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.

Cool (Cold-Transition) Mainstem streams are moderate-to-large but still wadeable perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are common to absent, mainstem species are abundant to common, and river species are common to absent.

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