Washington State Department of Ecology - May 13, 2013

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Public input sought on plan to improve temperature in Palouse River

SPOKANE – A draft water quality improvement plan from Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) to decrease temperature on the main stem of the Palouse River is available for public review beginning May 16 through June 14, 2013. 
 
Fish and other aquatic animals need cool, clean water for reproduction and survival.

The plan outlines several ways to improve temperature on the river to meet temperature goals including:

Ecology computer models indicate that much of the Palouse River will be naturally warm in summer months due to climate, and the native vegetation and hydrology of the system. This makes achieving the assigned temperature goal difficult. When the river meets “natural condition” during critical summer months it will be considered in compliance with state water quality standards.

Achieving natural condition for the Palouse River relies on returning water temperatures to historical levels primarily by restoring streamside trees and shrubs. Some additional conditions that affect temperature are groundwater input, sediment, stream width and depth, and discharges to the river.

Plans to reduce historical pesticides, related toxic chemicals and fecal coliform bacteria on both the main stem and south fork of the Palouse River are already in place. A study and report to examine dissolved oxygen, pH and nutrients on the section of the river known as the north fork is currently in development. The South Fork Palouse River study on temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH and nutrients is also in development.

View the report online or request a copy by calling 509-329-3503. For more information on this or any of the Palouse River Watershed water quality improvement projects please visit Ecology's Palouse Watershed Area.

Comments should be sent by June 14 to Elaine Snouwaert, Department of Ecology, 4601 N. Monroe, St., Spokane, WA 99205, or by e-mail to: Elaine.snouwaert@ecy.wa.gov .

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Media Contacts

Brook Beeler, communication manager 509-329-3478; cell 509-290-0855; brook.beeler@ecy.wa.gov

Elaine Snouwaert, Water Quality Program 509-329-3503; elaine.snouwaert@ecy.wa.gov

For more information:

Palouse River water quality improvement project for temperature (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/tmdl/palouse/palouse_mainstem.html)

Water Quality Improvement Projects webpage (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/tmdl/)

Ecology’s social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)