East Fork Halls Creek, Halls Creek Watershed (BR06)
East Fork Halls Creek, Halls Creek Watershed (BR06)
East Fork Halls Creek (1711600)
2.32 Miles
0 - 2.32
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, Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Warm 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.
Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
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.
Streams capable of supporting a cold water sport fishery, or serving as a spawning area for salmonids and other cold water fish species. Representative aquatic life communities, associated with these waters, generally require cold temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 6 mg/L. Since these waters are capable of supporting natural reproduction, a minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 7 mg/L is required during times of active spawning and support of early life stages of newly-hatched fish.
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.


East Fork Halls Creek is a Class II trout stream above Emerson Lake, which is located in Humbird. Below Humbird, the stream supports a warmwater forage fishery. The East Fork flows nine miles before entering Halls Creek at Trow Lake. Macroinvertebrate sampling in 1992 indicated some organic pollution to the East Fork. The habitat rating was good at the sample location (Schreiber). A 1973 fishery survey attributed the change in fishery below Humbird to an increase of in-stream temperatures caused by Emerson Lake. Continuous temperature monitoring in 1992 determined 17.6 degrees C as the mean temperature, which is within the optimal temperature range (12-19 degrees C) for growth and survival of brown trout. However, 1992 temperature data was collected during a period when the mean summer air temperatures were 2.8-4.1 cooler than normal. The thermal impact of Emerson Lake would likely be more pronounced during an average or warmer than average summer (Schreiber). Much of the East Fork below Humbird drains wetland areas, which may always limit stream temperatures.

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

The East Fork of Halls Creek is a clear, very soft water stream that flows south into Jackson County where it joins Halls Creek. A dam forming Emerson Lake at Humbird impounds the stream. The watershed area is primarily cleared, agricultural land. Panfish make up the sport fishery. Carp have been reported and since this species is present in Emerson Lake and in a flowage further downstream in Jackson County, such reports appear reliable. There is no public land adjoining the stream, Access is possible from six road crossings.

East Fork of Halls Creek T24N, R4W, S33, Surface Acres 2 .O, Miles = 2.8, Gradient = 20 feet per mile.

From: Klick, Thomas A. and C.W. Threinen, 1965. Surface Water Resources of Clark County: Lake and Stream Classification Project. Wisconsin Conservation Department, Madison, WI.

Date  1965

Author   Aquatic Biologist

East Fork Halls Creek, Halls Creek Watershed (BR06) Fish and Aquatic LifeEast Fork Halls Creek, Halls Creek Watershed (BR06) RecreationEast Fork Halls Creek, Halls Creek Watershed (BR06) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

East Fork Falls 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 total phosphorus that fall into the range expected for an aquatic community in poor health, therefore this water is listed as impaired. With the exception of the last segment, the entire creek is in good condition for Fish Consumption.

East Fork Falls Creek (mile 8.49-10.64): Assessment results during the 2020 listing cycle show total phosphorus levels too high for healthy aquatic communities like plants, fish, and bugs, according to 2020 WisCALM standards. Based on the most updated information, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list in 2020.

East Fork Falls Creek [4 segments (mile 0-8.49, 11.21-15.07)]: These segments are either attaining their designated uses or there is not enough information to assess condition.

Date  2019

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.


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

East Fork Halls Creek is located in the Halls Creek watershed which is 115.13 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (59%), agricultural (27.80%) and a mix of grassland (6.60%) and other uses (6.60%). This watershed has 214.37 stream miles, 148.87 lake acres and 7,228.50 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.

Natural Community

East Fork Halls Creek is considered a Cool-Cold Mainstem, Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Warm Mainstem under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results and 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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