Brewery Creek, Black Earth Creek Watershed (LW17)
Brewery Creek, Black Earth Creek Watershed (LW17)
Brewery Creek (1250200)
0.70 Miles
0 - 0.70
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.
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.
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.
FAL Coldwater
Fish and Aquatic Life Coldwater - waters that do not have a specific designated (codified use) but which are have documented scientific support to ascertain indicating that the water is a cold fishable, swimmable water.
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.


Brewery Creek is a 2.7-mile tributary to Black Earth Creek at Cross Plains. The creek
provides important habitat for forage fish and for small brown trout. This habitat, however, is
affected by modifications such as dredging and ditching. These activities also increase the
sediment loading. As a tributary to Black Earth Creek, nutrient and organic enrichment to
Brewery Creek eventually adds to Black Earth Creekýs nonpoint source pollution problems.
The creek is subject to flooding and low summer flows. These problems may be exacerbated
by increasing development in Cross Plains where additional stormwater runoff will contribute
a larger volume of water and pollutants to the creek and increased pumping may affect
baseflow conditions.
The stormwater situation is being addressed in the development study that is being conducted
by Dane County Land Conservation Department and the EPA, which focuses on the effects of
urbanization and stormwater on water quality. Brewery Creek is also
designated as a "priority stream" in the Dane County Open Space Plan that prioritizes it for
funding to acquire land and protect the stream bank.
In addition, monitoring has been conducted on the creek for many years as a result of the
significance of the Black Earth Creek system and the watershed's status as a Priority
Watershed Project. These results, when compared with results collected in 1999 through
2000 indicated improved water quality in Brewery Creek. It is suspected that this
improvement is the result of the installation of agricultural best management practices along
the creek as a result of the Black Earth Creek Priority Watershed project that took place from
1985 to 1996. It is important to try to minimize the potential impact that increased residential
development could have on the stream. Urban stormwater runoff could potentially reverse the
effect of the work completed as a result of the nonpoint priority watershed project.

Currently, there are two USGS gauging stations on the creek located upstream from Cross Plains and at Cross Plains. These stations provide "real time" USGS data on the Internet including flow, river stage, and water temperature. The creek should continue to be monitored. Other keys to the protection and maintenance of the creek rely on protecting recharge area, improving the riparian corridor, controlling stormwater runoff and enhancing streambank and in-stream habitat.

From: Ripp, Coreen, Koperski, Cindy and Folstad, Jason. 2002. The State of the Lower Wisconsin River Basin.
PUBL WT-559-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  2002

Author  Cynthia Koperski

Historical Description

Brewery Creek (Enchanted Valley Creek, Dry Run Creek) - T7N, R7E, Sec. 3, Surface acres = 1.7, Length = 4 miles, Stream order = I, Gradient = 11.5 ft/mile, Base discharge = 0.66 cfs.
This small tributary to Black Earth Creek has its mouth located on the east side of the Village of Cross Plains. Serious flooding problems exist and stretches of the stream have been dredged, ditched, and straightened in an attempt to alleviate this problem. Brewery Creek contributes a large sediment load to Black Earth Creek during storm events. Its substrate is mostly sand and silt with some hardpan and gravel. The fishery consists of only a few forage species near the mouth because of flooding and low summer flow. The stream is considered navigable but has little value for wildlife or recreation. Access Is available at several road crossings and from Black Earth Creek. Fish species: fathead minnow and white sucker.

From: Day Elizabeth A.; Grzebieniak, Gayle P.; Osterby, Kurt M.; and Brynildson, Clifford L., 1985. Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Dane County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1985

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Brewery Creek, Black Earth Creek Watershed (LW17) Fish and Aquatic LifeBrewery Creek, Black Earth Creek Watershed (LW17) RecreationBrewery Creek, Black Earth Creek Watershed (LW17) Fish Consumption


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.



Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
New Category 2 based on mIBI. 2018 TP Results: May Exceed. Station: 10015883. AU: 13485.
Monitor Targeted Area
Dane County will conduct stream-monitoring activities on Brewery Creek to document physical and biological changes to the Creek as a result of residential homes being constructed on the stream as a part of the Saint Francis Development.

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

Brewery Creek is located in the Black Earth Creek watershed which is 105.20 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (37.80%), agricultural (36.90%) and a mix of grassland (16.20%) and other uses (9.20%). This watershed has 196.86 stream miles, 204.29 lake acres and 1,541.75 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

Brewery Creek is considered a 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.

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