Fish and Aquatic Life
Mink Creek, in the North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed, is a 14.49 mile river that falls in Sheboygan County. This river is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently not considered impaired.
Author Aquatic Biologist
The Mink Creek Drainage System includes two subwatersheds, Mink Creek and Beechwood Lake, located in the
northwest and west-central portion of the watershed. County Trunk "S" is the subwatershed divide of Mink Creek.
Water Resources. Mink Creek is considered a cold headwater tributary of the North Branch and is one of the longest
streams in the entire Milwaukee River drainage basin. Biological collections indicate good water quality conditions.
However, its small size and warm water temperatures have been cited as reasons for its marginal cold water sport
fishery. Barnyards in the area contribute nutrients and bacteria to the creek degrading water quality. Bacterial
sampling from three sites has shown continuous water quality standards violation from summer through fall durin
1985 inventories. Possible sources include pastures on CTH. "F' and wildlife associated with adjacent wetland areas.
Extensive shrub and brush bank cover, while excellent wildlife habitat, limits easy access to the creek for recreational
purposes. There are no lakes or impoundments in the Mink Creek Subwatershed.
The portion of Mink Creek that drains the Beechwood Lake Subwatershed exhibits the same water quality conditions
and impacts as the northern reaches. Here bacterial contamination occurs throughout the year and fecal
coliform/streptococcus ratios indicate livestock as the probable source. Livestock access to the stream has also caused
severe stream bank degradation.
Beechwood Lake itself is a highly fertile seepage lake which has ,experienced fish winterkills in the past. Depth
fluctuations account for flooding aver CTH "S" and inundation of structures on the south side of the lake. The entire
west shore of the lake is used as pastureland. Steep slopes and disturbed soil contribute significantly to observed lake
problems such as aquatic vegetation, severe algal blooms and turbidity.
Recreational classification for Mink Creek downstream of C'I'H "S" is full-My contact although bacterial contamination
exists. Tributaries and portions above CTH "S" support partial-body contact. Beechwood Lake is physically capable of
full-body types of recreation, but may also experience unhealthy levels of bacteria.
No toxic screening has been conducted on streams in this drainage system.
Fisheries. Mink Creek is managed primarily for forage fish and supports a variety of cold-water species including
mottled sculpin, blacknose dace, white sucker and several species of minnows and darters. Historically, the stream was
stocked with trout and may be able to support an improved cold-water fishery in the future if land use impacts can be
minimized. Northern pike, rock bass and several panfish species utilize the limited habitat found in larger, downstream
reaches. Siltation and elevated stream temperatures, related to intensive land use, are primary limiting factors.
Overall, its small size ultimately limits sport fishery potential. Portions of Mink Creek within the Beechwood Lake
Subwatershed are capable of supporting a game fish population as well as a diverse cold-water forage fish community.
With shading in upstream areas and the resulting cooler water temperatures, portions of Mink Creek in this
Subwatershed may support a trout fishery.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
The 2018 assessments of Mink Creek (WBIC 30600) showed continued impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Available biological data did not indicate impairment (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). New temperature sample data were clearly below the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.
Author Ashley Beranek
Mink Creek (30600) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus in 2014. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria 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). This water was also assessed for temperature and sample data did not exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.
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.
Citizen-Based Stream Monitoring
Collect chemical, physical, and/or biological water quality data to assess the current overall stream health. The data can inform management decisions and may be used to identify impaired waters for biennial lists.
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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||10053704||Mink Creek at Cranberry Road||6/30/2020||10/20/2020||Map||Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||10032505||Mink Creek at Hwy. F bridge||Map||Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||10008850||Mink Creek2||Map||Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||10008851||Mink Creek3||10/21/2010||10/29/2020||Map||Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||10029085||Mink Creek - Downstream of Boltonville Road||8/25/2008||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||10039347||Mink Creek at Boltonville Rd||Map||Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||10008825||Mink Creek Station #1 59 M Up From Cth A||11/12/1985||10/26/2000||Map||Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||603300||Mink Creek at Sth 28 (Bi Sur)||5/15/1979||11/12/1985||Map||Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||10039350||Mink Creek near CTH A||Map||Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||10008826||Mink Creek Station #2 Down From Cth D||11/12/1985||10/26/2000||Map||Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||10008852||Mink Creek1||5/15/1979||11/12/1985||Map||Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||10053703||Mink Creek 500 Yards Upstream North Branch Milwaukee River||7/12/2020||10/6/2020||Map||Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||10029058||Mink Creek at CTH S||5/18/2008||10/4/2020||Map||Data|
|30600||Mink Creek||10039348||Mink Creek at Hwy W||Map||Data|
Mink Creek is located in the North Branch Milwaukee River watershed which is 149.67 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (45.40%), grassland (20.30%) and a mix of wetland (15.50%) and other uses (18.80%). This watershed has 159.81 stream miles, 886.38 lake acres and 13,793.69 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.