French Creek, Beaver Creek and Lake Marinuka Watershed (BR02)
French Creek, Beaver Creek and Lake Marinuka Watershed (BR02)
French Creek (1679500)
2.47 Miles
0 - 2.47
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
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.
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.


French Creek flows in a southerly direction until it reaches Beaver Creek between Ettrick and Galesville. The main stem of French Creek is generally shallow and wide in the lower half, while the upper half is narrower with steep banks. The upper portion contains some deep pools and has greater in-stream cover, usually provided by downed trees. The stream suffers from lack of habitat for fish and aquatic insects. The reduction of streambank erosion may create a stream capable of supporting a Class II trout fishery. Flooding in this sub-watershed aggravates exposed banks that contribute new sediment to the streambed. Many tributary streams are shallow and warm, but many contain gravel substrate in their upper reaches (WDNR, 1986).

Habitat surveys conducted on French Creek in 1996 documented little improvement since the 1986 surveys. Fishery surveys conducted in 1996 documented higher densities of adult brook trout since 1985 surveys. However, the number of stocked fish prior to the surveys was 75% higher in 1996. The surveys also documented an increase in the number of young of the year brook trout, which may be due to improved habitat conditons since 1985 (Hazuga).

From: Koperksi, Cindy. 1999. Black River Water Quality Management Plan (draft). Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1999

Author  Cynthia Koperski

Historical Description

French Creek, (WBIC) 1679500, in the Beaver Creek (BR02) Watershed in Trempealeau has an impaired stream reach from the confluence with Beaver Creek, upstream to CTH T and ending south of Iduna. (4 miles). The stream's existing use is a Coldwater Class II Trout Water and the designated or codified use is Defaul Fish and Aquatic Life. Biologists believe the the potential use of the stream is a Coldwater Class I Troutwater. French Creek is identified as Cold II (5.4 miles) in the 2002 Trout Stream book. Causes of impairment include habitat, sedimentation, and temperature from streambank pasturing, barnyard runoff, cropland erosion, and construction site erosion.

Recent Monitoring includes macroinvertebrate sampling at four sites during 1996 and 1986 found excellent HBI ratings at all sites. Fish and stream surveys conducted in December 1996 and 1985. Only forage fish were found in the downstream stations, and low densities of brook trout were found in the upper stations. The stream was last evaluated in December 1996. The Beaver Creek Priority Watershed Project-Water Resource Evaluation Monitoring Report (Hazuga 1997) summarizes the findings. Stream habitat surveys in 1996 found fair conditions (124-189 range of habitat scores).

This water is described in the Black River Basin Plan (1992) and the Black-Buffalo-Trempealeau Basin Report (2002). The location of supporting data (electronic and hard copy files) can be found at the WDNR Black River Falls Service Center. The date of review was 2002, with an update on 12/18/03.

Date  2003

Author   Aquatic Biologist

French Creek, Beaver Creek and Lake Marinuka Watershed (BR02) Fish and Aquatic LifeFrench Creek, Beaver Creek and Lake Marinuka Watershed (BR02) RecreationFrench Creek, Beaver Creek and Lake Marinuka Watershed (BR02) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

French Creek, from its mouth to Wayside Lane (miles 0 to 2.47), was evaluated for temperature and biology in the 2016 and 2018 cycles respectively. Both were in good condition; this stream segment is on the Healthy Waters List.

French Creek, from Wayside Lane to the headwaters (miles 2.47 to 8.75), was evaluated every two-year cycle from 2014 to 2022; elevated phosphorus was identified in the 2020 cycle and confirmed in the 2022 cycle. This stream is on the Impaired Waters List.

Date  2022

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.
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.

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

French Creek is located in the Beaver Creek and Lake Marinuka watershed which is 160.31 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (54.90%), agricultural (23.20%) and a mix of grassland (14.30%) and other uses (7.60%). This watershed has 375.97 stream miles, 229.76 lake acres and 3,765.47 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Available for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available for runoff impacts on lakes and Medium for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Medium. 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

French Creek is considered a Cool-Cold 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.

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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