Fish and Aquatic Life
Halls Creek, also known as Stockwell Creek, begins northwest of Alma Center, flows through Merrillan, where it's impounded twice, and eventually reaches the Black River below Lake Arbutus 22 miles later. The uppermost five miles is classified as a Class I trout fishery, the next 6.8 miles are Class II (Talley, 1983). A fisheries survey of Halls Creek below Trow Lake (approximately 10 miles in length) reported walleye, smallmouth bass, a few brown trout, rough fish and forage fish. Heelsplitter mussels were abundant at one site (Talley, 1994). Three or four different species of mussels were observed at the mouth of Halls Creek in 1994 (Hazuga). Only the extreme lower end of Halls Creek is in public ownership, as well as a small portion in the Jackson County lands near Merrillan. Extension of the Black River State Forest boundary continuing up Halls Creek approximately three river miles would protect a very scenic landscape. This lower portion of Halls Creek contains mature trees, sandstone outcrops and 75 foot high canyon walls. The Halls Creek State Fishery Area consists of many small tracts of land adjacent to Halls Creek above Merrillan. State ownership of streambank acres effectively protects in-stream habitat of this Class I section of trout water. As land within the designated purchase area becomes available, the Department should pursue acquisition.
Temperature monitoring, macroinvertebrate samples, and habitat ratings were collected in 1992 on Halls Creek and its two main tributaries, the East and South Forks. Continuous stream temperature monitoring data indicate the impoundments at Merrillan increase downstream in-stream temperatures. Maximum stream temperatures were 1.5-1.8 degrees C higher downstream of the impoundments, when compared to upstream sites. The maximum temperatures exceeded the upper limiting temperature for brook trout and generally exceeded the optimal temperature range for growth and survival of brook and brown trout (Schreiber).
The in-stream habitat of Halls Creek above Merrillan was rated highest in the watershed. Macroinvertebrate sampling indicated excellent water quality conditions above, and good water quality conditions below Merrillan (Schreiber).
From: Koperksi, Cindy. 1999. Black River Water Quality Management Plan (draft). Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Cynthia Koperski
Halls Creek, from its mouth to South Fork Halls Creek (miles 0 to 13.19), was put on the impaired waters list in 2014 for elevated phosphorus levels. This segment was evaluated in the 2016 and 2018 and the phosphorus listing was confirmed; evaluation of fish, macroinvertebrates, and temperature found no additional impairments.
Halls Creek, from South Fork to the headwaters (miles 13.2 to 25.87), was evaluated in 2014 and every two years between 2018 and 2022; fish and bug data indicated a healthy system. This stream segment is on the Healthy Waters List.
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.
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|1710600||Halls Creek||10016841||Halls Creek - 50 Ft. Above Bridge On Garage Rd.- 3 Miles South Of Merrillan||5/14/1992||5/14/1992||Map||Data|
|1710600||Halls Creek||273015||Halls Creek - Below Dam Upstream Sth 12||2/22/1979||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1710600||Halls Creek||10015061||Oakwood Lake Ibi||Map||Data|
|1710600||Halls Creek||10015099||Oakwood Lake Mini Fyke Nets||Map||Data|
|1710600||Halls Creek||10030281||Halls Creek near Camp Bradfield Rd (west of N9167 Flood Rd)||5/17/2009||10/19/2021||Map||Data|
|1710600||Halls Creek||10021407||Halls Creek at The Black River||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1710600||Halls Creek||10015101||Trow Lake Mini Fyke Nets||Map||Data|
|1710600||Halls Creek||10013433||Halls Creek-Cty. Hwy. E Downstream||10/14/2010||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1710600||Halls Creek||10021408||Halls Creek - T23n R4w S36nw/Sw||1/1/2015||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
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.