Fall Creek, Lower Eau Claire River Watershed (LC14)
Fall Creek, Lower Eau Claire River Watershed (LC14)
Fall Creek (2129900)
7.33 Miles
3.36 - 10.69
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's Riverine Natural Communities.
Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater
Year Last Monitored
This is the most recent date of water monitoring stored in the SWIMS system. Additional surveys for fish and habitat may be available subsequent to this date.
This river is impaired
Water Quality Use Restrictions
Total Phosphorus
Eau Claire
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.
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.


Fall Creek is an approximately 6-mile tributary of the Eau Claire River located in the Lower Eau Claire River Priority Watershed. The watershed project ran from 1983 to 1994, utilizing a number of BMP’s (Best Management Practices) including fencing for livestock exclusion and stream crossings. A report summarizing changes in the stream due to this project was completed in 1995 (Schreiber).

Fall Creek Pond is a 17 acre impoundment of Fall Creek located in the Village of Fall Creek. The upstream 4-mile portion of Fall Creek is managed as a Class II brown trout fishery, and the portion below the pond is managed as a warm water forage fishery. The trout fishery is maintained by annual stocking of about 70 yearling brown trout (Schreiber, 1995). The priority watershed project objective was to increase trout reproduction and survival by reducing organic and sediment loading to the stream (WDNR, 1985). According to Schreiber (1995), this objective had not yet been achieved in 1995 because accumulated sediments needed to be scoured and the underlying gravel riffle areas needed to be exposed.

Little improvements have occurred on Fall Creek since the last evaluation in 1995. The brown trout fishery (above the pond) is limited due to the lack of a well-developed pool-riffle-run structure and high amounts of silt/sand sediment deposition. As was concluded in the 1995 study, shifting sediment deposition is the limiting factor in stream degradation because streambanks are generally stable and the stream has good water quality.

Streambank protection mechanisms need to be implemented for streambed stabilization and scouring of these sediments to occur. As concluded in the 1995 survey, in-stream devices such as channel deflectors and sediment traps could be used for this purpose. Once the stream bottom is stabilized, lunker structures and other in-stream cover devices could be implemented to increase fish habitat.

Report from the Beaver Creek Reserve.

Date  2005

Author   Aquatic Biologist


The headwaters of Fall Creek have been channelized, but the four-mile stretch above the Fall Creek
Pond is classified as a Class I1 trout stream. A good portion of stocked fish in this stream survive
the winter. Streambank protection above Fall Creek Pond would improve in-stream trout cover
(Kurz). The Fall Creek wastewater treatment plant discharges to groundwater. Previously, it
discharged to Fall Creek.
A study conducted during 1994 evaluated the effectiveness of the watershed project on this stream.
The rebort states that minimal changes have occurred in this stream since initiation of the
watershed project. Condition of the-stream corridor has generally improved, with an overall
reduction of streambank erosion due to cattle access. Based on macroinvertebrate sampling results,
the stream does not appear to be limited by the amount of organic materials entering-andin the
stream. Fall Creek does, however, remain significantly degraded by sedimentation, lack of suitable
spawning substrate and the presence of beaver dams in some locations. Remaining extensive fine
sediment deposits in the stream may be the result of a variety of causes, including low stream
gadient and consequent lack of scouring, and continuing sources of new sediment from cropland
runoff (Schreiber 19%).

Date  1996

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Fall Creek, Lower Eau Claire River Watershed (LC14) Fish and Aquatic LifeFall Creek, Lower Eau Claire River Watershed (LC14) RecreationFall Creek, Lower Eau Claire River Watershed (LC14) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Fall Creek (2129900) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceed 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, available biological data do not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category).

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson


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 2016 . See also 'monitoring' and 'projects'.


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

Fall Creek is located in the Lower Eau Claire River watershed which is 216.31 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (44.70%), agricultural (30%) and a mix of grassland (16.20%) and other uses (9.00%). This watershed has 414.24 stream miles, 937.46 lake acres and 10,770.45 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Available for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available 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

Fall Creek is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater 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) 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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