Fish and Aquatic Life
Black Otter Creek is a tributary to the Wolf River in eastern Outagamie County. It flows northward through the village of Hortonville, where it is dammed to form Black Otter Lake. The Winnebago Comprehensive Management Plan ranked the Black Otter Creek Watershed as a medium priority due to nutrient and sediment runoff from croplands and a few high priority barnyard/feedlot operations causing accelerated eutrophication of Black Otter Lake. Hilsenhoff Biotic Index ratings show water quality ranging from fair to very poor. Monitoring in 1991 and 1992 evaluated existing water quality conditions and effects from polluted runoff. Based on the data, biologists confirmed the medium ranking.
From: Bougie, Cheryl A., Kosmond, Lisa D, and Watermolen, Dreux J. 1996. Wolf River Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Cheryl Bougie
Black Otter Creek, T22N, R15E, Sec. 23(11), Area = 13.1 acres, Length = 6.4 miles, M.P.A. = 181 ppm.
This is a turbid, hard water stream flowing through agricultural land. One impoundment (see Black
Otter Lake) is present in the Village of Hortonville. The stream bottom is covered with silt. Bottom
vegetation is common, impeding the velocity of the water. Below Hortonville the stream flows through firm
end meadow pasture to the Wolf River. Cattle have access to the stream, but bank damage is light. The
fishery of this stream is not recorded, but fish from the Wolf River undoubtedly enter the stream. One
federal, four county, and one town road crossings provide access.
From: Nelson, Linden M. and Ronald L. Fassbender, 1972. Surface Water Resources of Outagamie County:
Lake and Stream Classification Project. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
The 2018 assessments of Black Otter Creek (Black Otter Lake to headwaters) showed impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Biological data (i.e. no macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores) were not available to assess biological impairment. Based on the most updated information, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list.
Author Ashley Beranek
The 2018 assessments of Black Otter Creek (Wolf River to Black Earth Lake) showed 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). Based on the most updated information, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list.
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.
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
A 2nd AU may be needed to represent Black Otter Creek below Black Otter Lake. Keep as CWHW until an additional fish survey can provide any further justification for suggesting new NC.
AU: 9788; Station ID: 10017318
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
A 2nd AU may be needed to represent Black Otter Creek below Black Otter Lake. Keep as CWHW until an additional fish survey can provide any further justification for suggesting new NC. AU: 6902218; Station ID: (station needs to be selected/created if further monitoring needed in this AU)
SE SW S35 T22N R15E; Wolf River, trib;
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|
|315300||Black Otter Creek||10034826||Black Otter Creek at mouth before entering Black Otter Lake||4/20/2012||10/28/2015||Map||Data|
Black Otter Creek is located in the Wolf River - New London and Bear Creek watershed which is 142.49 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (43.70%), wetland (25%) and a mix of grassland (15.10%) and other uses (16.30%). This watershed has 247.64 stream miles, 423.05 lake acres and 21,530.26 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Medium for runoff impacts on streams, Medium 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.