Arkansaw Creek, Eau Galle River Watershed (LC03)
Arkansaw Creek, Eau Galle River Watershed (LC03)
Arkansaw Creek (2055300)
9.01 Miles
0 - 9.01
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.
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.
This river is impaired
Impairment Unknown
Total Phosphorus
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.
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.


The Eau Galle River watershed was sampled during the 2002 field season as part of the
WDNR wadeable streams baseline monitoring program. The Arkansaw Creek
subwatershed was sampled as part of this monitoring effort. Three sites on the mainstem
of Arkansaw Creek were sampled. Coldwater IBI and salmonid relative CPUE were
calculated at all sites sampled. Habitat data was not collected due to budget reductions
and also due to the fact that it was collected in 1998 during the Eau Galle River
Comprehensive Watershed Survey. Arkansaw Creek is currently listed as a Class II trout
stream for 7.0 miles WDNR (2002). Historically, Arkansaw Creek was considered a
marginal coldwater fishery and was stocked with domestic fingerling brown trout. The
most recent survey of Arkansaw Creek occurred in 1998 Swim et al, (2000). This
comprehensive watershed survey documented that Arkansaw Creek harbored low
densities of brown trout (CPUE ranging from 6 to 60 fish per mile). The 1998 survey
also documented that one small un-named tributary stream in the headwaters of
Arkansaw Creek contained a healthy brook trout fishery with natural reproduction.
Recommendations from the 1998 report included eliminating brown trout stocking and
converting all trout stocking practices to feral brook trout fingerlings due to excellent
thermal regimes in the headwaters of Arkansaw Creek. Feral brook trout stocking began
on Arkansaw Creek in 2001. A complete list of stocking practices over the past 5 years is
provided in (Table 1).

Coldwater IBI ratings (WST) scored 50, 70 and 80 and (WOST) scored 30, 40 and 50 at
stations #2, #4 and #5 respectively. Overall, coldwater IBI ratings have increased at all
sites when compared to the 1998 survey. In 1998, sites #2, #4 and #5 were rated as poor
and scored 10, 20 and 10 respectively. The increase in the coldwater IBI ratings is
directly related to one primary factor. Coldwater intolerant species such as mottled
sculpin, have increased at all sites when compared to the 1998 survey. In addition, very
few tolerant fish species were collected at these sites when compared to the 1998 data
and the fish assemblage is more reflective of a healthy coldwater fish community.
Wadeable Streams Baseline Monitoring -
Arkansaw Creek Subwatershed 2002
Pepin County, Wisconsin.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Arkansaw Creek, Eau Galle River Watershed (LC03) Fish and Aquatic LifeArkansaw Creek, Eau Galle River Watershed (LC03) RecreationArkansaw Creek, Eau Galle River Watershed (LC03) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

The 2018 assessments of Arkansaw Creek showed impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. However, available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Based on the most updated information, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list.

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.


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

Arkansaw Creek is located in the Eau Galle River watershed which is 267.88 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (40.60%), forest (31%) and a mix of grassland (22.40%) and other uses (6.10%). This watershed has 519.34 stream miles, 251.50 lake acres and 3,943.12 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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

Arkansaw Creek is considered a Coldwater 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.

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