Hefty Creek, Little Sugar River Watershed (SP14)
Hefty Creek, Little Sugar River Watershed (SP14)
Hefty Creek (881900)
10.22 Miles
0.52 - 10.74
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's Riverine Natural Communities.
Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater
Year Last Monitored
This is the most recent date of water monitoring stored in the SWIMS system. 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.
Class III Trout
Streams capable of supporting a seasonal coldwater sport fishery and which may be managed as coldwater streams.
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.
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
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.


Also known as the “North Branch”, this stream flows southeast and merges with South Branch Hefty Creek to form the Little Sugar River West Branch. The three branches of Hefty Creek run through rolling hills with small ridges. The ridges are mostly wooded with agriculture in the gently sloping valleys (Amrhein, pers. obs). The north branch is a Class III trout fishery with a potential to be a Class II. It is also classified as an ERW for most of its length and the redside dace has been found in these waters. The upper portions are mostly gravel, rubble, and hardpan while near the mouth the bottom is more muck and the stream more turbid (Surface Waters of Green Co., Amrhein pers. obs). The state recently purchased easements in the headwaters area of the stream. Fish and habitat evaluations were conducted in 2002.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Bush, D.M., R. Cornelius, D. Engle, and C.L. Brynildson. 1980. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Green County, 2nd EdThis small. trout stream flows southeast and merges with Hefty Creek South Branch forming the Little Sugar
River West Branch. In its headwaters, Hefty Creek is joined by two unnamed streams; and just above its mouth by Hefty Creek Center Branch. The watershed is composed of cropland and pasture and a few small stretches have been ditched. In the upper portions of the stream the water is clear and the bottom is composed of gra~e], rubble and hardpan, while near its mouth, the stream is generally turbid and has a muck bottom.
ition. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, Wisconsin.The entire stream is considered to be Class III trout water, although the upper reaches have little flow.
Pools are scarce and instream cover is minimal. Forage fish are abundant and the rare redside dace is present. Current management consists of annual stocking of brown trout although rainbow trout have been stocked in the past. A significant population of muskrats and a few migratory waterfowl make use of the area. Public access is available at eight public road crossings.
Fish Species: Rainbow trout, brown trout, stoneroller unspecified, redside dace, carp, common shiner, redbelly dace unspecified, bluntnose minnow, creek chub, white sucker, brook stickleback, fantail darter, Johnny darter, mottled sculpin.
Surface Acres = 7.1, Length = 8.5 Miles, Gradient = 25 ft./mi., Base Discharge = 15.5 cu. ft./sec

Date  1980

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Hefty Creek, Little Sugar River Watershed (SP14) Fish and Aquatic LifeHefty Creek, Little Sugar River Watershed (SP14) RecreationHefty Creek, Little Sugar River Watershed (SP14) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Hefty Creek (miles 0.52-10.74) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new biological (fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) 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.

Date  2017

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 2016 . See also 'monitoring' and 'projects'.



Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Category 3 water with a single 'Poor' fIBI. Further monitoring recommended. AU: 18528; Station ID: 10010915

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

Hefty Creek is located in the Little Sugar River watershed which is 133.02 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (46.80%), grassland (32.10%) and a mix of forest (13.90%) and other uses (7.00%). This watershed has 351.74 stream miles, 50.40 lake acres and 3,252.10 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Ranked 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

Hefty Creek is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater 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) Headwaters are small, usually perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon (<10 per 100 m), transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.

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