Fish and Aquatic Life
Mill Creek, a Black River tributary, is classified as a warm water forage fishery but the upper half has the potential to become a trout stream. The Melrose Rod and Gun Club annually stocks the stream with trout. Cropland runoff and streambank grazing contribute to habitat problems in this stream (Talley).
From: Koperksi, Cindy. 1999. Black River Water Quality Management Plan (draft). Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Cynthia Koperski
Mill Creek was surveyed in 2008 and 2009 at Sandberg and West Indies Road. Macroinvertebrate IBI and HBI ratings were excellent at Sandberg Road but stream condition quality declined upstream near West Indies Road. The macroinvertebrate IBI at West Indies Road was rated as fair. The fish IBI was poor at both sites as a result of too few fish. One brook trout was found at Sandberg Road and tolerant fathead minnows were collected at West Indies. Continuous monitoring at both sites found water temperatures well within the cold water range. Qualitative habitat ratings were fair. The stream is incised and shallow with a shifting sand bottom at Sandberg Road and significant silt accumulations were found upstream at West Indies Road. Cropland runoff, past and present is the likely contributor of sediment to the stream. Barnyard runoff upstream of West Indies may be contributing to the decreased quality found in the insect and fish community.
Mill Creek is listed on the 303d list for degraded habitat caused by sedimentation. Data collected in 2008 and 2009 supports the listing.
Author Mark Hazuga
Mill Creekis a tributary of the Black River and is currently listed as impaired from Manser Road upstream for degraded habitat caused by sediment. In the 2014 study, no fish were found at the Sandburg Road site when sampled as part of this assessment and therefore an FIBI rating could not be calculated.
The qualitative habitat score and rating were 25 and fair, respectively. The stream channel was very wide, shallow, and incised. The bottom substrate consisted of shifting sand with fine sediment deposition. Streambanks were moderately eroded and fish cover was sparse. The HBI rating was very good and the MIBI rating indicated a good macroinvertebrate community present at this site.
Author Camille Bruhn
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.
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|
|1688500||Mill Creek||10015333||Mill Creek - Sandburg Rd Xing||10/22/2008||10/15/2019||Map||Data|
|1688500||Mill Creek||10016608||Mill Creek - Sandberg Rd 20 Feet Downstream Frombridge Crossing||11/14/2002||11/14/2002||Map||Data|
Mill Creek is located in the Big and Douglas Creeks watershed which is 210.33 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (58.40%), agricultural (24.20%) and a mix of grassland (8.90%) and other uses (8.50%). This watershed has 375.17 stream miles, 473.57 lake acres and 7,564.97 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High 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.