Silver Creek Mouth, Big Green Lake Watershed (UF07)
Silver Creek Mouth, Big Green Lake Watershed (UF07)
Silver Creek Mouth (146800)
155.98 Acres
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.
Not Determined
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 lake is impaired
Recreational Restrictions - Pathogens
E. coli
Green Lake
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.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.

Historical Description

From headwaters to town rd in S35, T16N, R14E [Willow Road] (class 2)

Date  1980

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Silver Creek Mouth, Big Green Lake Watershed (UF07) Fish and Aquatic LifeSilver Creek Mouth, Big Green Lake Watershed (UF07) RecreationSilver Creek Mouth, Big Green Lake Watershed (UF07) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Silver Creek, from Willow Road southeast of Ripon to the headwaters (miles 12.41 to 14.36), was listed for sediment, degraded habitat, and high temperature in 1998. A 2018 evaluation of phosphorus and biology showed potential poor fish community, but further sampling is needed. In the 2020 evaluation temperature levels were low enough for removal of this impairment.

Date  2022

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

Silver Creek, from the mouth at the estuary to Willow Road southeast of Ripon (miles 0.97 to 12.41), was put on the Impaired Waters List in the 1998 cycle for sediment and degraded habitat, in the 2018 cycle for phosphorus, and is proposed for the 2022 list for bacteria. This water evaluated every two-year cycle from 2016 to 2022; chloride, fish and bug data showed no impairments. This water is covered by the Upper Fox & Wolf River Basins TMDL, approved by the US EPA on February 27, 2020.

Date  2022

Author  Ashley Beranek


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.



Lakes Protection Grant
The Green Lake Association is sponsoring a lake protection grant on Big Green Lake in Green Lake County.The main goal of this D&F Study is to study the metalimnetic oxygen minima issue, determine biological / chemical causative mechanisms and create models to assess degree of potential water quality improvements from management actions.
Habitat Restoration - Shoreland
Practices include: fish sticks, 350 feet2 native plantings, diversion practices, rock infiltration practices, and rain gardens on 6 lakeshore properties.
Best Management Practices, Implement
Green Lake Sanitary District will implement best practices described in Wisconsin's 2014-2017 Healthy Lakes Implementation Plan. Practices include: fish sticks, 350 feet2 native plantings, diversion practices, rock infiltration practices, and rain gardens on 6 lakeshore properties. The District will also monitor fish sticks dependent habitat. The best practices require a contract to remain in effect for 10 years and must include minimum operation and maintenance requirements and data as described in grant condition #16.
Lakes Protection Grant
Green Lake County Land Conservation Department is sponsoring a Lake Protection Grant to conduct a shoreline inventory of lakes in the county. The lakes to be inventoried are Big Green, Little Green, Puckaway, Big Twin, Little Twin, Spring (Kingston), Spring (Green Lake), Grand, Heart and Maria.
Lakes Protection Grant
Green Lake Sanitary District is sponsoring a lake protection grant on Big Green Lake in Green Lake County. The main goal of this protection grant is to reduce the nutrient loading to the lake through various activities: 1. Identification and implementation of strategic BMP's in the tributary sub-watersheds. 2. Identification of upland buffer problems/opportunities in the impaired tributary sub-watersheds 3. Evaluation and study of the potential to restore the County K Estuary to a plant dominated system. 4. Education and Informational Activities
Land Acquisition
The Green Lake Sanitary District proposes to purchase 6.7 acres of land known as the "ABA-East" property.
Land Acquisition
The Green Lake Sanitary District proposes to purchase 24.5 acres of land known as the "ABA-West" property.
Land Acquisition
The Green Lake Sanitary District proposes to purchase 52.899 acres of land on Green Lake for conservancy purposes.
Monitor Fish Community
AU 359092, poor fIBI, Station 10041510
Navigability Determination
T16N R14E ; Silver Creek;
Best Management Practices, Implement
Implement cover crops to reduce cropland erosion during the late fall and spring.
Management agencies and landowners in the watershed should work toward enhancing a combination of forest and native grass buffers, which may better reduce nutrients than strictly grassed buffers.
Dam Safety or Removal
Mitigate impacts on water temperature and fish migration in Silver Creek from the Gothic Mill Dam in Ripon.
Fish Management, Access
Replace perched culverts in the watershed to increase available fish and aquatic life habitat.

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

Silver Creek is located in the Big Green Lake watershed which is 107.31 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (54.10%), open (12%) and a mix of grassland (10.10%) and other uses (23.70%). This watershed has 141.08 stream miles, 655.29 lake acres and 5,102.67 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Available for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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 Lake for individual Lakes based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.

Natural Community

Silver Creek Mouth's natural community is not yet identified 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.