The Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) has begun work to develop a water cleanup plan, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), for the Deschutes watershed.
What's the problem?
Portions of the Deschutes River, Percival Creek, Capitol Lake, Budd Inlet, and tributaries do not meet state water quality standards for one or more of the following parameters: fecal coliform bacteria, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and fine sediment. Fecal coliform bacteria pose a human health threat through ingestion or recreational contact. Warm temperatures, too little dissolved oxygen, pH values outside of healthy ranges, and too much fine sediment harm aquatic life in either freshwater or marine water. These bodies of water are on the state’s Clean Water Act Section 303(d) list of impaired waters and must be cleaned up.
The DOE has been working with an Advisory Group to develop a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) evaluation to identify what contributes to the water quality problems, and to quantify what contaminants need to be reduced in order to meet the water quality standards.
Advisory group partners include representatives from:
- Squaxin Island Tribe
- Cities of Tumwater and Olympia
- LOTT Clean Water Alliance
- Thurston County
- Thurston Conservation District
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Washington State University
- State Agencies
As well as independent citizens and representatives from environmental groups such as:
- Black Hills Audubon Society
- Capitol Lake Improvement and Protection Association
- Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team
To read more about the Water Quality Improvement Project in the Deschutes River Watershed Area, including the most current project update, please visit the Department of Ecology’s website.