Mill Creek, Mill Creek Watershed (CW11)
Mill Creek, Mill Creek Watershed (CW11)
Mill Creek (1398600)
13.31 Miles
32.82 - 46.13
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.
2015
Good
 
Wood
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.
No

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

Mill Creek is a 47-mile tributary of the Wisconsin River. The stream originates in the City of Marshfield and has minimal streamflow in the upper reaches. The Marshfield WWTP discharges to the headwaters of Mill Creek and contributes more than 90% of the streamflow at the point of discharge. The upper 14 miles of the stream is listed in NR 104 as a Limited Aquatic Life variance stream and the lower 33 miles is classified as Fish and Aquatic life waters. Mill Creek is also listed as an impaired waterbody on EPA’s 303d list for low dissolved oxygen, which required the Department to develop a TMDL for the stream. The stream is impacted by stormwater run-off from Marshfield, sedimentation, barnyard and cropland run-off, flashy streamflow, channel ditching, streambank erosion, ammonia toxicity and nutrient enrichment. Large volumes of stormwater scours streambeds, erode streamsbanks, and carries sediment, nutrients, and other pollutants to surface waters. August 2000 HBI results suggest there is a significant organic loading to the stream. Water samples collected in the winter of 2000 (before the new treatment plant was built) found ammonia concentrations high enough to cause chronic toxicity to aquatic life based on EPA criteria. Since Mill Creek is currently classified as Limited Aquatic Life, the WWTP in Marshfield has no ammonia limit.

In-stream nitrate values have been as high as 3.0 ppm. Mill Creek is affected by animal waste run-off, particularly in the lower sections of the watershed; livestock density is high in this area (Victor, 1986). Multiple point source discharges to Mill Creek occur in the upper one half of the watershed

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Biotic index Sam ling shows water quality is poor to very oor don sections of Mill Creek. In stream nitrate values have been as high as 3.0 ppm. Mill Creek is affected by animal waste runoff, particularly in the lower sections of the watershed and livestock density is high in this area (Victor). Multiple point source discharges to Mill Creek occur in the upper one half o f the watershed.

Date  1991

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Mill Creek, Mill Creek Watershed (CW11) Fish and Aquatic LifeMill Creek, Mill Creek Watershed (CW11) RecreationMill Creek, Mill Creek Watershed (CW11) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Mill Creek (Mile 32.82 to 46.13) was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new chloride sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water was meeting this designated use and was not considered impaired.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

Mill Creek (1398600) from the mouth to just west of Hwy O (miles 0 - 16.01) has been on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus since 1998. This water was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceeded 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use, however, available biological data do not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.

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

Educate and engage residents
Golden Sands RC&D seeks to enhance public understanding and appreciation for Mill Creek in Wood and Portage counties by enhancing the organizational capacity of the Friends of Mill Creek. Major project elements to include: 1) river clean-up, 2) field day/tour, 3) streambank restoration project, 4) citizen based stream monitoring program, 5) physical inventory of Mill Creek.
Watershed Mapping or Assessment
The Mill Creek Watershed is located in Portage and Wood Counties. It covers approximately 32548 acres, starting in the city of Marshfield and flowing east/southeast toward Stevens Point for approximately 35 miles. The goals of the RC&D Council for this project include the following: 1.Establish Mill Creek Citizens group as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization 2. Develop education resources for Mill Creek- Write and distribute a regular newsletter. 3.Assist in Watershed Resource Inventory 4.Recruit and train a leadership committee 5. Conduct tributary water sampling 6. Develop GIS maps to assist committee.
TMDL Development
Mill Creek is a 47-mile tributary of the Wisconsin River.Mill Creek is also listed as an impaired waterbody on EPA?s 303d list for low dissolved oxygen, which required the Department to develop a TMDL for the stream.
TMDL Development
Mill Creek is a 47-mile tributary of the Wisconsin River. Mill Creek is also listed as an impaired waterbody on EPAs 303d list for low dissolved oxygen, which required the Department to develop a TMDL for the stream.

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

Mill Creek is located in the Mill Creek watershed which is 166.85 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (32.70%), forest (28.50%) and a mix of grassland (19%) and other uses (19.70%). This watershed has stream miles, lake acres and 22,403.58 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

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

Mill 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.