Little Hay Creek, Duncan Creek Watershed (LC18)
Little Hay Creek, Duncan Creek Watershed (LC18)
Little Hay Creek (2151400)
1.66 Miles
3.98 - 5.64
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.
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.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.


Little Hay Creek is a 1.8 mile long stream located in Chippewa County and within the Duncan Creek priority watershed project area. It is not on our current Measure W list, but could be added. WCR has proposed the de-listing of Little Hay Creek on our 303(d) list due to the improvement in the water quality of the stream. Whether or not any additional monitoring is needed needs to be determined. It does have continuous DO information that now shows adequate dissolved oxygen. At this point, we don’t know whether the implementation of the Duncan Creek Priority Watershed Project is the impetuous for improvement.

Date  2007

Author   Aquatic Biologist


Water resource problems associated with Little Hay Creek include streambank erosion, low
dissolved oxygen levels during the summer, organic loading from barnyards and scarcity of instream
cover. The water resource objective for this stream is to improve it to a Class I1 trout fishery
(Schreiber June, 1992). Little Hay Creek was a sampling site for a statewide study of pesticides in
surface waters. It was chosen due to its small watershed, extent of agriculture, and known quantities
of atrazine and breakdown products in groundwater. The 1991 storm runoff samples contaihed
atrazine levels between 0.14 parts per billion (ppb) to 0.47 ppb. These levels were low compared to
other sites around the state and not considered a threat to the aquatic insect or fish community
(Koperski) .

Date  1996

Author  Cynthia Koperski

Little Hay Creek, Duncan Creek Watershed (LC18) Fish and Aquatic LifeLittle Hay Creek, Duncan Creek Watershed (LC18) RecreationLittle Hay Creek, Duncan Creek Watershed (LC18) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Little Hay Creek was identified on the 303d list in 1998 as not supporting an existing use of warm water forage fish. Impairments to the stream were identified as degraded habitat, dissolved oxygen and temperature. Fish surveys completed at three stations in 2005 found multiple year classes of trout including young of the year. Habitat conditions and dissolved oxygen and temperature concentrations must be adequate for the stream to support a Coldwater A fishery with multiple year classes of reproducing brook trout. Little Hay Creek has never been formally classified as a trout stream; however, it should codified as a Coldwater A fishery in the future. Continuous dissolved oxygen monitoring completed in the early 1990s found concentrations below the water quality standard of 5 mg/L. Follow-up monitoring in 2004 and 2005 indicate concentrations remained above 5 mg/L. This water was removed from the impaired waters list in 2008.

Date  2008

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 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

Little Hay Creek is located in the Duncan Creek watershed which is 191.44 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (44.40%), forest (21%) and a mix of grassland (13.90%) and other uses (20.70%). This watershed has 270.37 stream miles, 185.45 lake acres and 6,971.50 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

Little Hay 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.