Pine Creek, South Branch Manitowoc River Watershed (MA05)
Pine Creek, South Branch Manitowoc River Watershed (MA05)
Pine Creek (79900)
3.58 Miles
5.54 - 9.12
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.
Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Warm Headwater
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.
This river is impaired
High Phosphorus Levels, PCB Contaminated Sediments
Total Phosphorus, PCBs
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.
Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
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.
Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
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.
Streams capable of supporting small populations of forage fish or tolerant macro-invertebrates that are tolerant of organic pollution. Typically limited due to naturally poor water quality or habitat deficiencies. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that remain above 3 mg/L.


This water's extent runs from Danes Road to the headwaters (LFF).

Date  2010

Author   Aquatic Biologist


Pine Creek is a well-buffered healthy stream in Calumet County that receives no noticeable nonpoint
source pollution and has no point source discharges along its length. Due to its cool temperature and
adequate year 'round flow, Fisheries staff believe it could support trout. Biotic index work indicates “very
good” water quality.
Jordan Creek is a tributary of Pine Creek. Information collected during the May 1990 triennial standards
review for Pine and Jordan Creek indicates a higher quality resource in Pine Creek and a higher potential
in Jordan Creek than existing classifications suggest.
The Water Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with local, State and Federal
agencies, obtains a large amount of data pertaining to the water resources of Wisconsin each year
(Holmstrom 1995). Two surface water quality stations are located on Pine Creek; Meggers Road near
New Holstein (monitored April to September 1995) and at Quarry Road near Hayton (monitored February
1994 to September 1995). The water samples have been collected at the two stations and analyzed for
PCB's, chlorophyll A, chloride, particle size and suspended sediments. Please refer to the U.S. Geological
Survey Water Resource Data Wisconsin Water Year 1995 for specific data.

From: Willman, Guy and Mike Toneys. 2001. The State of the Lakeshore Basin. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  2001

Author  Michael Toneys


Hayton Millpond is located in Calmet County near the Village of New Holstein. In the early 1990s, the WDNR found PCBs in Hayton Millpond and more than six miles upstream between the Village of New Holstein and the Millpond. The Killsnake Wildlife Area is immediately downstream of the millpond. Presently the WDNR and Tecumseh Products Company, working on a voluntary basis, have developed a remediation plan for the "source area" just north of the village. The PCB concentrations in the source area range from less than one mg/kg to 2,500 mg/kg.

As a first phase of this plan scheduled for 2000, all sediment with PCB concentrations of more than 50 mg/kg will be removed. The sediments will be properly disposed at a cost of about $700,000, with partial funding from the U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office. Removal of additional PCB contaminated sediments in the source area is anticipated for 2001. Remediation plans for the downstream areas will likely be completed in 2001 or 2002. Issues that need to be resolved for the downstream areas include whether to remove sediment in major deposition areas along Pine Creek or construct a new channel to replace about four miles of natural stream channel. Another difficult issue is when and whether to remove the dam at Hayton.

Date  2000

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Pine Creek, South Branch Manitowoc River Watershed (MA05) Fish and Aquatic LifePine Creek, South Branch Manitowoc River Watershed (MA05) RecreationPine Creek, South Branch Manitowoc River Watershed (MA05) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Pine Creek was recently evaluated during the ten-year period of 2009 through 2018 for results that were reported to the USEPA for the 2020 Clean Water Act condition report. The waterbody is considered impaired, or in poor condition for designated uses which include the quality of fish and aquatic life, recreational use, and public health and welfare (fish consumption and related). Pollutants or problems encountered during sampling (impairments) are determined based on water quality standards outlined in Wisconsin 2020 Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (WisCALM). Assessment results show water conditions that are potentially harmful for Aquatic Life use due to values for total phosphorus that fall into the range expected for an aquatic community in poor health, therefore this water is listed as impaired.

Pine Creek (mile 0-5.54): Assessment results during the 2020 listing cycle show new impairment by overwhelmingly high total phosphorus levels inappropriate for a healthy waterbody. This segment was previously listed for PCBs in 1998. Based on the updated information, total phosphorus is a proposed addition during the 2020 listing cycle.

Pine Creek (mile 5.54-9.12): Assessment results during the 2020 listing cycle show continued impairment by total phosphorus. Phosphorus levels were overwhelmingly high for a healthy water body; however, chloride, biological indicators, and temperature levels were appropriate for a healthy waterbody. This segment has been listed as impaired for PCBs since 1998 and for total phosphorus since 2016 and no change is needed.

Date  2019

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

Pine Creek (this segment Danes Road to headwaters, WBIC 79900) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use and biological impairment was observed (i.e. at least one macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the poor condition category).

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson


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.


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

Pine Creek is located in the South Branch Manitowoc River watershed which is 189.10 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (60.30%), wetland (17.60%) and a mix of grassland (14.10%) and other uses (8.10%). This watershed has 228.03 stream miles, 86.31 lake acres and 21,287.68 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

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

Pine Creek is considered a Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Warm 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 (Warm-Transition) Headwaters are small, sometimes intermittent streams with cool to warm summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are uncommon to absent, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are common to uncommon. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.

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