South Fork Eau Claire River, South Fork Eau Claire River Watershed (LC16)
South Fork Eau Claire River, South Fork Eau Claire River Watershed (LC16)
South Fork Eau Claire River (2137000)
16.83 Miles
21.87 - 38.70
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 Natural Communities.
Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem, Macroinvertebrate, No Classification, Cool-Warm Mainstem
Year Last Monitored
This is the most recent date of monitoring data stored in SWIMS. Additional surveys for fish and habitat may be available subsequent to this date.
2020
Poor
 
This river is impaired
High Phosphorus Levels
Total Phosphorus
 
Clark
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.
No
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.
No
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.
Yes

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.
FAL
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.
FAL
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.

Overview

The North Fork of the Eau Claire River originates in southwestern Taylor County. It flows for approximately 48 miles before joining up with the South Fork in Eau Claire County. The South Fork of the Eau Claire River originates in northwestern Clark County and is approximately 40 miles in length. The main stem of the Eau Claire River flows in a westerly direction for approximately 34 miles before emptying into the Chippewa River in the City of Eau Claire. The Eau Claire County Forest lies along the majority of the river’s main stem. The Clark County Forest lies along approximately the lower five miles of the South and North Forks.

Voss, Karen and Sarah Beaster. 2001. The State of the Lower Chippewa River Basin. PUBL-WT-554 2001. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  2001

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

South Fork of Eau Claire River T26N, R4W, S19, Surface Acres = 72.0, Miles = 37.0, Gradient = 12.3 feet per mile.
A soft water, light brown colored stream that flows southwest into
Eau Claire County where it joins the north fork to form the main river. Muskellunge,
walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and panfish comprise the fishery.
Carp are also present. About 60 percent of the watershed area is wooded or wild
land. Furbearers, including beaver, and waterfowl are present. Light boat traffic
is possible, but portaging around riffle areas is necessary. There are 23 miles of
public frontage through county forest cropland. Access is posslble from 16 road
crossings.

From: Klick, Thomas A. and C.W. Threinen, 1965. Surface Water Resources of Clark County:
Lake and Stream Classification Project. Wisconsin Conservation Department, Madison, WI.

Date  1965

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

South Fork Eau Claire River, South Fork Eau Claire River Watershed (LC16) Fish and Aquatic LifeSouth Fork Eau Claire River, South Fork Eau Claire River Watershed (LC16) RecreationSouth Fork Eau Claire River, South Fork Eau Claire River Watershed (LC16) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

The South Fork Eau Claire River (2137000) from headwaters to Mead Lake miles downstream was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Biological impairment was observed (i.e. at least one macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the poor condition category) for the segment that extends from just south of Cth 29 up to the headwaters.

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson

Condition

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.

Reports

Recommendations

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.

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

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

South Fork Eau Claire River is located in the South Fork Eau Claire River watershed which is 229.49 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (56%), agricultural (22.80%) and a mix of wetland (12%) and other uses (9.20%). This watershed has 421.59 stream miles, 307.67 lake acres and 23,719.61 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Low for runoff impacts on streams, High 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.

Natural Community

South Fork Eau Claire River is considered a Coldwater, Cool-Cold Headwater, Cool-Cold Mainstem, Macroinvertebrate, No Classification, Cool-Warm Mainstem 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) Mainstem streams are moderate-to-large but still wadeable perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are common to absent, mainstem species are abundant to common, and river species are common to absent.

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.

Fisheries & Habitat

Two fish kills occurred in this river, in 1982 and 1985, above Mead Lake. Smallmouth bass, yellow perch, muskellunge, pumpkinseed sunfish, and bullhead amounted to 3 percent of the casualties in 1982, while rock bass accounted for 97 percent. The 1985 fish kill turned up only rock bass and
redhorse. Except for beaver dam impoundments, the river is shallow above Mead Lake. Consequently, larger species of game fish inhabit only the portion of the river immediately upstream of Mead Lake. A diverse population of forage species was, however, noted in the large, shallow, rapid-flowing riffle areas upstream of Mead Lake (Babros).

Date  1996

Author   Aquatic Biologist

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