Fish and Aquatic Life
Murphy's Creek This three-mile-long spring-fed creek is a tributary to Lake Waubesa at its southwestern shore. This creek's sub-watershed has a large proportion of wetland to total surface area. The South Waubesa Wetlands is the largest wetland area Murphy's Creek flows through; much of the wetland is managed by the Nature Conservancy and WDNR. The smaller wetland units upstream of South Waubesa contain springs, but have been affected and are still threatened by subdivision development and agricultural runoff. Flow in the creek is generally low. Until 1983, water quality was affected by discharges from the Oakhill Correctional Institute. Since then, the institute has been hooked up to the Oregon wastewater treatment plant. Appraisal monitoring in 1990 indicated good water quality. Groundwater seepage and protection offered by the wetlands contribute to good water quality and habitat in the lower portions. Water quality and habitat are limited in the upper reaches by low flow, as is the creek's fishery, which is limited to forage species due to the low flows.
The potential for good northern pike habitat exists in this creek but fluctuating water levels on Lake Waubesa, as on other Madison Lakes, precludes successful spawning. Northern pike need flooded mats of grasses and sedges on which to lay eggs. Vegetation mats are necessary as the eggs do not cling to plants. Thus, lake level drawdowns and removal of vegetation (grass, sedges) inhibits this creek from meeting its full fishery potential.
Author Aquatic Biologist
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'.
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
|Project Name (Click for Details)||Year Started|
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|522100||Murphy Creek||383166||Murphey Creek At 6th And 37th Rd [Site 7 2006]||4/7/1993||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|522100||Murphy Creek||10032247||Murphy Creek - 18th Rd||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
Murphy Creek is located in the Little Peshtigo River watershed which is 158.43 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (34.20%), wetland (26.90%) and a mix of forest (22.80%) and other uses (16.00%). This watershed has 206.41 stream miles, 2,168.89 lake acres and 24,619.22 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Medium 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.