Beaver Creek, Beaver Dam River Watershed (UR03)
Beaver Creek, Beaver Dam River Watershed (UR03)
Beaver Creek (836500)
14.86 Miles
0 - 14.86
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.
Warm Headwater, 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 Biological Community
Total Phosphorus
Columbia, Dodge
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.
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
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.
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
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.


Beaver Creek is the main waterbody that flows through this watershed. It is a 14-mile long low gradient tributary that has its origin west of the Village of Randolph and flows 6 miles southwest before turning northeast in the Paradise Marsh Wildlife area and flowing another 8 miles until it joins Beaver Dam Lake.

Beaver Creek rises in the Paradise Marsh Wildlife Area and is a tributary to Beaver Dam Lake. Cultivation and poor land management practices are extensive in this subwatershed. An intensive nonpoint source management effort is needed to improve the condition of the stream so that it can support a warm water sport fishery (WDNR, 1991).

From: Johnson, Ruth C., 2002. The State of the Rock River Basin. Upper Rock River Watershed Management Plans. PUBL # WT-668b-2002. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI. and 2020 Beaver Dam TWA Report, Amrhein.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Beaver Creek is a small, low gradient stream tributary to Beaver Dam Lake in Dodge
County. The headwaters tributaries exhibit parallel drainage disciplined by
drumlins oriented in a northeast-southwest direction. Since wetland swale
drainage is the prime water source fluctuating water levels are an annual
problem. Under optimum conditions the stream supports forage species.
About five miles of stream have been straightened to speed drainage. Access
is possible at four highway crossings. A large 424-acre wetland extends for
several miles in the main stream valley. T12N, R12E, Section 24, Surface Acres = 8.13, Miles = 6.1, Gradient = 2.46 feet per mile.

From: Poff, Ronald J. and C.W. Threinen, 1965. Surface Water Resources of Columbia County: Lake and Stream Classification Project. Wisconsin Department of Conservation, Madison, WI.

Date  1965

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Beaver Creek, Beaver Dam River Watershed (UR03) Fish and Aquatic LifeBeaver Creek, Beaver Dam River Watershed (UR03) RecreationBeaver Creek, Beaver Dam River Watershed (UR03) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

The Beaver Creek was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; total phosphorus and the results clearly exceeded 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for Fish and Aquatic Life use. Biological data indicated impairment (i.e. at least one macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the "poor" condition category). This water was not meeting this designated use and is considered impaired. No listing change was required to this already impaired water.

Beaver Creek had already been assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use and biological impairment was observed (i.e. at least one macroinvertebrate or fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the poor condition category).

Date  2017

Author  Amanda Smith


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 Aquatic Biology
Beaver Creek (Beaver Dam Watershed) Targeted Watershed Assessment, 2020 Fish IBI Macroinvertebrates MIBI DNI Habitat and Flow

Management Plans

In 2017, the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association received a Lake Management Planning Grant to look at ways to protect/improve water quality and habitat of the lake. As part of this grant, students from the University of Wisconsin ? Madison Water Resource Management Program conducted a study to evaluate nutrient and sediment delivery from the watershed through Beaver Creek. In coordination with this project, the department initiated a targeted watershed assessment to obtain contemporary data on the fish, habitat, and macroinvertebrates of the streams in the watershed and potentially identify areas of management to help the gamefish and other non-game species to thrive in this agriculturally dominated watershed.

Date  2020

Author  James Amrhein


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

Beaver Creek is located in the Beaver Dam River watershed which is 290.25 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (62.90%), wetland (13.80%) and a mix of grassland (9.50%) and other uses (13.90%). This watershed has 421.30 stream miles, 3,607.03 lake acres and 29,349.96 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Available 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.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

Beaver Creek is considered a Warm Headwater, 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.

Warm Headwaters are small, usually intermittent streams with warm summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are absent, transitional fishes are common to uncommon, and warm water fishes are abundant to common. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.

Fish Stocking