Tenmile Creek, Sevenmile and Tenmile Creeks Watershed (CW09)
Tenmile Creek, Sevenmile and Tenmile Creeks Watershed (CW09)
Tenmile Cr. [Ditch #10] (1382700)
7.53 Miles
12.60 - 20.13
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.
Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem, No Classification
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.
Portage, Wood
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.


Ten-mile Creek, 23 miles in length, is managed as Class II and III trout water. The upper portion, approximately 11miles, was ditched in the early 1900’s and is referred to as Ditch No. 10. The biological use of Ditch No. 10 was previously identified as a forage fishery; however, surveys completed in 1999 found brook trout in the lower and upper reaches. Young of the year brook trout were found in the upper reaches indicating reproduction is occurring in the ditch. The use classification should be changed to reflect the presence of trout and more detailed surveys should be completed to determine the extent of the classifications. Limiting factors to in-stream fish habitat in Ditch 10 include; over dredging, lack of in-stream cover and sedimentation.

Streambank erosion, pasturing, beaver activity, cranberry marsh discharges, and flashy streamflow limit ten-mile Creek. A shifting sand bottom reduces spawning success. The cranberry marsh discharges are may be increasing stream temperatures and may contain sediment and nutrients that would impact the stream. Stream flow fluctuations are also evident in the stream from the cranberry operations.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Tenmile Creek, Sevenmile and Tenmile Creeks Watershed (CW09) Fish and Aquatic LifeTenmile Creek, Sevenmile and Tenmile Creeks Watershed (CW09) RecreationTenmile Creek, Sevenmile and Tenmile Creeks Watershed (CW09) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Tenmile Creek was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new total phosphorus, biological (macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores), and temperature 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 2018. See also the 'monitoring and projects' tab.



Water Quality Planning
The Sevenmile and Tenmile Creek Watershed is located in the counties of Adams, Portage, Wood and Waushara. This watershed is a maze of ditches and laterals that were created to drain lowland areas for agricultural activities. There are large sections of land that have been purchased by the state that are being maintained for grassland ecosystems. Both grazing and pivot irrigation are two land uses that impact the water quality of Sevenmile and Tenmile Creeks Watershed. This watershed was ranked using the Nonpoint Source Priority Watershed Selection Criteria. Based on surface and ground water data, the overall ranking is high, establishing Sevenmile and Tenmile Creek Watershed as a high priority for future grant eligibility through the Nonpoint Source Pollution Abatement Program. The watershed includes the towns of Pine Grove, Grant, and Almond. The Portage County Soil Erosion Control Plan identifies these towns as having excessive soil loss rates due to wind and water erosion. There are several cranberry farms located in the watershed that utilize water for their operation. Water drawn from ditches reduces stream flow, decreases adult fish cover, reduces spawning areas for trout and likely exposes fish redds, and may result in an increase of water temperatures. Discharges from cranberry marshes can adversely affect water temperatures, deposit sediment, and release nutrients to the ditches. Periodic impounding of the ditches to flood marshes may prevent fish migration, increase water temperatures and de-water downstream reaches.

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

Tenmile Creek is located in the Sevenmile and Tenmile Creeks watershed which is 112.24 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (44.10%), agricultural (32.40%) and a mix of grassland (17.20%) and other uses (6.30%). This watershed has stream miles, lake acres and 10,480.58 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Low 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

Tenmile Cr. [Ditch #10] is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem, No Classification 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.

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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