Mud Creek, Fox River - Appleton Watershed (LF04)
Mud Creek, Fox River - Appleton Watershed (LF04)
Mud Creek (129500)
3.16 Miles
3.71 - 6.87
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
Degraded Habitat
Sediment/Total Suspended Solids
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.
Supported 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.
Supported 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.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.


Mud Creek, a 8-mile stream, originates in an urban area and continues through the southwestern corner of Appleton before discharging into the Fox River. Stream habitat was rated poor to fair. Streambank erosion is infrequent, however, there are some raw areas with high erosion potential during high flows (Gansberg 1998). The stream substrate is mostly rubble, gravel or other stable habitat but covered with a layer of fine clay sediment. Construction activities near the creek mouth appear to be contributing a significant amount of sediment to the creek. In July, a plume could be seen in the receiving waterbody from a particular construction site. Macrophytes are abundant but generally not over abundant. Filamentous algae is common on the rocky bottom substrate where exposed to sunlight. Macroinvertebrate samples indicate poor to fair water quality with fairly significant to very significant organic pollution. A brief survey was conducted in August 1992 in a stretch of creek near Spencer Road. One tolerant sport fish (green sunfish), two intermediate tolerance fish (Johnny Darter) and abundant tolerant forage species (emerald shiners, white suckers and brook stickleback) were present. Mud Creek receives a considerable amount of suspended solids during runoff events sampled. Chlorides were slightly elevated but ammonia and BOD-5 were within the acceptable ranges (Gansberg 1995).

Bougie, Cheryl A. 1999. Lower Fox River Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Public Review Draft. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1999

Author  Cheryl Bougie

Historical Description

Mud Creek, T20N, R17E, Section 3 (2), Area = 3.2 acres, Length = 0.9 miles, Gradient = 1.0 foot/mile.
This very turbid, hard water stream lies almost entirely in Outagamie County with only the lower end lying in Winnebago County. This stream was, during the 1970 field survey, stagnant, having no measurable flow. The water
surface was covered by an oil film. Clay and hardpan are principal bottom materials. The stream contains a fishery similar to that of Little Lake Butte des Morts. Frogs and burrowing crayfish are common. In-stream cover is provided
by aquatic plants and a few undercut banks. A narrow strip of hardwood lines both banks except on the extreme lower end which is marsh. Public access is provided by one county highway and via navigable water from Little Lake
Butte des Morts.

From: 1975. Surface Water Resources of Winnebago County: Lake and Stream Classification Project.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1975

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Mud Creek, T21N, R17E, Sec. 32(15), Area = 7.9 acres, Length = 2.6 miles, M.P.A. = 157 ppm,
Gradient = 15.4 feet/mile.
Mud Creek is a very shallow and turbid hard water tributary to the Fox River. Bottom materials consist
of gravel, rubble, and silt. The upland area is mostly developed with homes, industries, and a golf course.
Aquatic vegetation and rocks are present in the stream. Crayfish and shrimp are the only observed aquatic
invertebrates. The stream is very sluggish and has little recreational potential. Two county roads provide public access.

From: Nelson, Linden M. and Ronald L. Fassbender. Surface Water Resources of Outagamie County:
Lake and Stream Classification Project. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.

Date  1972

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Mud Creek, Fox River - Appleton Watershed (LF04) Fish and Aquatic LifeMud Creek, Fox River - Appleton Watershed (LF04) RecreationMud Creek, Fox River - Appleton Watershed (LF04) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Mud Creek (WBIC 129500) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle and chloride sample data exceeded 2016 WisCALM chronic and acute listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use.

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson

Impaired Waters

Mud Creek has been on the impaired waters list since 1998 for Total Suspended Solids. This water is part of the Lower Fox River TP & TSS TMDL that was approved by the EPA in 2012.

Date  2013

Author  Nicole Clayton


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.



Navigability Determination
NW NE S30 T21N R17E; Mud Creek;
Navigability Determination
S10 T21N R17E; Mud Creek, trib;
Navigability Determination
S10 T21N R17E; Mud Creek, trib;
Monitor Targeted Area
Monitoring needed on upper segments of Mud Creek. All monitoring stations located in Segment 1, no stations/ monitoring data for Segments 2 or 3.

Standards Details

This water, from Outagamie County Airport STP to Casaloma Road.

Date  2010

Author   Aquatic Biologist

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

Mud Creek is located in the Fox River - Appleton watershed which is 39.37 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily suburban (37%), urban (30.70%) and a mix of agricultural (15.40%) and other uses (17.00%). This watershed has 70.84 stream miles, 55.67 lake acres and 183.96 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High 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.This water is ranked High Stream for individual Rivers based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.

Natural Community

Mud Creek is considered a Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Warm Headwater 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.

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.

More Interactive Maps