Fish and Aquatic Life
Tainter Creek begins in south central Vernon and flows into north central Crawford County.
This stream flows in a south easterly direction for 6.8 miles until it reaches the Kickapoo
River north of Gays Mills. Tainter Creek has a rather steep gradient of 50 feet per mile
through Vernon County, but a more gentle gradient of 15 feet per mile through Crawford
County. This stream drains forested hillsides and agricultural valleys as well as the
agricultural headwater plateau. Tainter Creek is a Class II trout stream upstream of CTH B
and an exceptional water resources for 4.8 miles and Class III downstream for the remaining
The most recent survey, conducted in 1985, documented a fairly substantial brown trout
population. A 1974 survey documented not only brown trout, but also a very diverse forage
fishery. The stream bottom consisted primarily of cobble and gravel in the upper reaches and
gradually more sand further downstream. In-stream cover included undercut banks, boulders,
and woody debris. Much of Tainter Creek contains a stream channel incised into the valley
floor resulting in vertical raw streambanks which consistently contribute sediment to the
stream. Repairing these vertical banks would benefit the in-stream habitat of Tainter Creek. A
fish and habitat survey should be conducted of Tainter Creek to determine its existing
condition. Tainter Creek would benefit from the purchase of streambank easements from
willing sellers and the restoration of in-stream habitat. WDNR records indicate that Tainter
Creek was stocked with brown trout from 1973 to 1997. From 1998 to present both wild
brook trout and wild brown trout have been stocked. Access to Tainter Creek is from six road
crossings, WDNR owned land and WDNR easements.
From: Ripp, Coreen, Koperski, Cindy and Folstad, Jason. 2002. The State of the Lower Wisconsin River Basin. PUBL WT-559-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Cynthia Koperski
The trout fishery in Tainter Creek has good potential for improvement if nonpoint source water pollution is controlled. Livestock pasturing the streambank has degraded in-stream habitat.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Tainter Creek, T11N, R4W, Section 18. Surface Acres = 6.1, Miles = 3.6, Gradient = 50.0 feet per mile.
A clear, hard water tributary of the Kickapoo River. It heads in Vernon County, flows in a
southerly direction, and joins the Kickapoo in Crawford County. The stream is Class II brown trout water. White sucker, Johnny darter and slimy sculpin are among the forage fish present. Scattered open water areas were observed in the lower two-thirds of the stream (in Vernon County) during the winter aerial groundwater survey. Rubble is slightly dominant over gravel, with silt, sand, hardpan, and boulder comprising the remainder of the bottom types. There is access from three road crossings. Beaver are present and muskrat are significant. There is some wood duck nesting along the stream.
From: Klick, Thomas A. and Threinen, C.W., 1973. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Vernon County, Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Tainter Creek was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new total phosphorus sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.
Author Ashley Beranek
Tainter Creek was recently evaluated during the ten-year period of 2009 through 2018 for results that were reported to the USEPA for the 2020 Clean Water Act condition report. The waterbody is considered impaired, or in poor condition for designated uses which include the quality of fish and aquatic life, recreational use, and public health and welfare (fish consumption and related). Pollutants or problems encountered during sampling (impairments) are determined based on water quality standards outlined in Wisconsin 2020 Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (WisCALM). Assessment results show water conditions that are potentially harmful for Aquatic Life use due to values for temperature and macroinvertebrates that fall into the range expected for an aquatic community in poor health, therefore this water is listed as impaired.
Tainter Creek (mile 0-2.45): This portion of the creek is in excellent condition for Aquatic Life use and good condition for Fish Consumption use.
Tainter Creek (mile 2.45-15.03): Assessment results during the 2020 listing cycle show elevated water temperature levels inappropriate for Aquatic Life use according to 2020 WisCALM standards. Available bug sample data (macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity) show poor condition. Available fish data and new total phosphorus data do not indicate impairment. Based on the most updated information, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list in 2020.
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.
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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10033406||Tainter Creek 1.3 mi south on CTH B from inscn with CTH C||4/20/2010||5/19/2021||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10047662||Tainter Cr at E7365 Hinkst Hollow Rd||1/1/2015||7/15/2020||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10013769||Tainter Creek Station 4-1974-Ne 1/4 Ne 1/4 Sec. 32||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10022344||Tainter Creek - 120m Downstream Of State Lands Fenceline||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10013766||Tainter Creek Station 5-1960-Nw 1/4 Se 1/4 Sec. 19-Starts At Cth B Bridge Crossing||1/1/2015||5/19/2021||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10022342||Tainter Creek - 154m Downstream Of Fenceline On Ristow Property||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10022343||Tainter Creek - 100m Downstream Of Parking Area State Lands||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10013765||Tainter Creek Station 2-1960-Sw 1/4 Sw 1/4 Sec. 33-Starts At Farm Road Crossing||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10013762||Tainter Creek Station 3-1955-Sw 1/4 Se 1/4 Sec. 29-Starts At Cth C Bridge Crossing||8/8/2012||8/8/2012||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10013763||Tainter Creek Station 4-1955-Sw 1/4 Nw 1/4 Sec. 29-Starts Appx. At Farm Road Crossing||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10013764||Tainter Creek Station 1-1960-Nw 1/4 Sw 1/4 Sec. 4-Starts At Cth B Bridge Crossing||5/14/1997||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10015559||Tainter Creek St. 1 - Tainter Hollow Rd. Crossing||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10022341||Tainter Creek - Lower Fenceline On Ristow Property||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10044415||Tainter Creek on Tainter Hollow Rd||7/13/2015||7/13/2015||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10054164||Tainter Creek - Monument Rock Rd Bridge||7/21/2017||10/23/2019||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10013761||Tainter Creek Station 2-1955-Sw 1/4 Sw 1/4 Sec. 33-Starts 1151' Downstream Of Farm Road Crossing||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10013767||Tainter Creek Station 6-1960-Nw 1/4 Ne 1/4 Sec.19-Just Above Hjelle Farm Buildings||10/7/2002||10/7/2002||Map||Data|
|1185500||Tainter Creek||10047084||Tainter Creek at CTH B Bridge Below Norwegian Hollow Road||7/24/2016||5/19/2021||Map||Data|
Tainter Creek is located in the Reads and Tainter Creeks watershed which is 135.69 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (47.20%), agricultural (24%) and a mix of grassland (23.30%) and other uses (5.50%). This watershed has 339.00 stream miles, 221.66 lake acres and 1,867.13 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High 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.