Fish and Aquatic Life
Little Falls Flowage is located within Willow River State Park. It is considered eutrophic and suffers from algae blooms during the summer months. The aquatic vegetation in Little Falls Flowage consists of 14 different species, of which 2 are non-native species -- Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) and curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus). The most common species are water stargrass, (Heteranthera dubia) coontail, (Ceratphyllum demersum), common waterweed (Elodea canndensis), and slender naiad (Najas flexilis).
In the lake’s watershed the primary land use is agriculture and suburban home sites, along with municipal and industrial developments in Clear Lake and New Richmond. Nonpoint agricultural runoff, in combination with municipal and industrial inputs, contributes sediments and nutrients to Little Falls Flowage, causing water quality deterioration.
Little Falls Flowage has a high-quality, self-sustaining, sport fishery. Abundant populations of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike and yellow perch are present, in addition to smaller populations of bluegill and black crappie. The average size distribution of game and panfish are above normal.
Author Aquatic Biologist
A hardwater, drainage impoundment situated on the Willow River. It has a navigable inlet from that stream and a 27 foot head public utility dam (Northern States Power Company) on its outlet (50 CFS). It is managed for largemouth bass and panfish. The panfish group includes perch, black crappies, bluegills, pumpkinseeds and yellow bullheads. Walleyes are present but not in abundance. Carp and white suckers are common here. Public access is had from a town road to the flowage on its south shore. One unoccupied dwelling is the extent of the private development here. There are no wetlands on the flowage. Mallards, blue-winged teal, wood ducks, hooded mergansers and Canada geese (a rarity in this area) may be found nesting near the inlet.
Source: 1961, Surface Water Resources of St.Croix Co. Little Falls Flowage - T. 29 N., R. 19 W., Sec. 4, 8, 9 Surface Acres = 158.5 S.D.F. i 2.27 Maximu,-n Depth = 16 feet
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
This lake is the largest and most downstream of three impoundments in Willow River State Park. The Willow Falls dam (middle impoundment) was removed in the spring of 1992. The removal of the Willow Falls dam and previous drawdowns of the impoundment have caused a significant amount of sediment to be eroded from Willow Falls lake bed and be deposited in the upper end of Little Falls Lake. A component of the Willow Falls dam removal project will be dredging a portion of the sediment which has accumulated in Little Falls Lake. Currently very limited water quality data exist for Little Falls Lake. Water quality data collection has been limited bacteriological sampling at the swimming beach in Willow River State Park. This data indicated that during the summer the lake does not experience any chronic bacterial contamination.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Willow River SP Little Fall Lake Beach was assessed for the 2018 listing cycle; E. coli data sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use. This beach was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.
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|
|2607400||Little Falls Lake||10018095||Willow River - Little Falls Flowage -- Access||7/10/2011||7/10/2011||Map||Data|
|2606900||Willow River||10032632||Willow River at Little Falls dam near Hudson||Map||Data|
|2607400||Little Falls Lake||563062||Little Falls Lake - On Willow River||Map||Data|
|2607400||Little Falls Lake||563079||Little Falls Lake - Middle Of Lake||2/23/1993||9/10/2003||Map||Data|
|2607400||Little Falls Lake||10005433||Little Falls Lake||12/31/1993||8/14/2015||Map||Data|
|2607400||Little Falls Lake||563130||Little Falls Lake - Willow River State Park Beach||4/23/1997||8/16/2022||Map||Data|
|2607400||Little Falls Lake||10032632||Willow River at Little Falls dam near Hudson||Map||Data|
|2607400||Little Falls Lake||10043284||Little Falls Lake - Sediment Core||3/10/2015||3/10/2015||Map||Data|
Little Falls Lake is located in the Lower Willow River watershed which is 164.38 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (32.10%), forest (25.40%) and a mix of grassland (23.70%) and other uses (18.80%). This watershed has 99.33 stream miles, 2,139.74 lake acres and 2,482.81 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.