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Fish and Aquatic Life
This small stream flows east into Red Cliff Bay. While this stream's base flow indicates that at times it becomes intermittent and that it probably supports only a warm water forage fishery, an occasional trout has been seen migrating in from Lake Superior. The mouth of Red Cliff Creek forms a coastal estuary with extensive wetlands. A marina and boat ramp have been constructed in the bay. The watershed falls within the boundaries of the Red Cliff Indian Reservation, with some private and state ownership on Red Cliff Bay. This portion of Lake Superior shoreline is part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The Lake Superior Binational Program identified Red Cliff Bay as important to the integrity of the Lake Superior ecosystem for coastal wetlands.
During survey work conducted as part of the coastal wetlands evaluation, no rare species of macroinvertebrates were found and overall taxa richness was moderate (5-24 species) (Epstein 1997). Streambank erosion and silt are significant contributors to impaired habitat quality at the survey site.
From: Turville-Heitz, Meg. 1999. Lake Superior Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Aquatic Biologist
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|
|2884200||Red Cliff Creek||10051017||Red Cliff Creek - at mouth RCCM01||Map||Data|
|2884200||Red Cliff Creek||10046395||Red Cliff Creek mouth to Bay||Map||Data|
|2884200||Red Cliff Creek||10051019||Red Cliff Creek - upstream Blueberry Rd RCC03||Map||Data|
|2884200||Red Cliff Creek||10046535||Phragmites Occurrence - Red Cliff Creek||Map||Data|
Red Cliff Creek is located in the Bayfield Peninsula Southeast watershed which is 301.48 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (86.80%), wetland (5.60%) and a mix of grassland (4.10%) and other uses (3.50%). This watershed has 453.79 stream miles, 291,749.17 lake acres and 6,560.31 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available for runoff impacts on lakes and Low for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Low. 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.
Red Cliff Creek is considered a Macroinvertebrate, Coldwater under the state's Natural Community Determinations.
Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results and 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.