Hackett Branch, Middle Grant River Watershed (GP05)
Hackett Branch, Middle Grant River Watershed (GP05)
Hackett Branch (961400)
6.73 Miles
0 - 6.73
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.
Cool-Cold 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.
Suspected Poor
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.
Supported 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.
Supported 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.


Hackett Branch and some of its smaller tributaries are spring and seepage fed streams which often indicate good water quality potential (Smith and Ball, 1971). The stream, however, has been designated an impaired water and is listed on the 303(d) of impaired waters. The Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores and stream water quality ratings, indicators environmental degradation, for Hackett Branch, ranged from fair to poor while in-stream habitat evaluations show the stream to have generally fair to good habitat quality (Wang et.al., 1996). These data, coupled with the local intense agricultural land use, indicates the stream is most likely affected by non-point sources of pollution.

Recent sampling done in 1994 through 1996 found good water quality. Macroinvertebrate samples from the same year found approximately 12% of mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies compared to just over 65% midges (Marshall, 1999). High numbers of midge typically suggest some sort of environmental degradation usually as a result of agricultural non-point source pollution (Gamman, 1983).

Date  2001

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

From: Smith, Tom D., and Ball, Joseph R., Lake and Stream Classification Project. Surface Water Resources of Grant County, Department of Natural Resources, 1972. Surface Area = 4.15 acres, Length = 5.7 miles, Gradient = 42 ft./mile, Flow = 2.3 c.f.s.

A southeasterly flowing, spring-fed stream beginning two miles south of Bloomington and emptying into the Grant River three miles northeast of Beetown. Due to the fact that much of this watershed is cultivated, flooding and bank erosion are major problems. The building of water controi structures on several of the small tributaries would greatly enhance the stream habitat. Forage fish dominate the fishery at the present time and crayfish are also common. Due to the good water quality and the numerous spring tributaries this stream may be considered for trout stocking in the future. Muskrats and a few puddle ducks frequent the stream. Access is possible from Highway 35 which parallels the stream, the Grant River, and two bridge crossings. Ten rural dwellings adjoin the stream.

Date  1972

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Hackett Branch, Middle Grant River Watershed (GP05) Fish and Aquatic LifeHackett Branch, Middle Grant River Watershed (GP05) RecreationHackett Branch, Middle Grant River Watershed (GP05) Fish Consumption


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
Conduct biological (mIBI or fIBI) monitoring on Hackett Br, WBIC: 961400, AU:18566

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

Hackett Br is located in the Middle Grant River watershed which is 79.86 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (48.80%), grassland (37.40%) and a mix of forest (9.70%) and other uses (3.90%). This watershed has 206.44 stream miles, 6.02 lake acres and 0.00 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Medium 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

Hackett Branch is considered a Cool-Cold Headwater 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.

Cool (Cold-Transition) Headwaters are small, usually perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon (<10 per 100 m), transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.

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