Fish and Aquatic Life
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.
Author Cynthia Koperski
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.
Author Aquatic Biologist
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.
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.
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|
|1711600||East Fork Halls Creek||10009694||East Fork Halls Creek 5||Map||Data|
|1711600||East Fork Halls Creek||10009697||East Fork Halls Creek at Humbird||5/8/2017||10/11/2017||Map||Data|
East Fork Halls Creek is located in the Halls Creek watershed which is 115.13 mi². 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.