Water Quality Improvement Project
The Humptulips River is located in the southwestern portion of the Olympic
Peninsula in Washington State. Its drainage area includes the entire area of the
East Fork Humptulips and West Fork Humptulips watersheds.
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
manages approximately 65% of this land base, which is part of the Olympic
National Forest (ONF). The remaining 35% of the area outside of the ONF is under
county and private ownership. Commercial forestry is the dominant land use
throughout the upper Humptulips watershed. The USFS manages the ONF under the
Olympic National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan and the Northwest
Forest Plan. Commercial forestry outside of the ONF is subject to
rules under the Washington Forest Practice Act.
Salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout occur throughout much of the Upper
Humptulips watershed. Excessive summer water temperatures in some of these
streams reduce the quality of rearing habitat for chinook, chum, and coho salmon,
as well as for steelhead and cutthroat trout.
Water quality issues
The Humptulips river and several of its tributaries are considered impaired
due to high instream temperatures. Water temperatures influence the types of
organisms that can live in a waterbody. Cooler water can hold more dissolved
oxygen which fish and other aquatic life need to breathe. Warmer water holds
less dissolved oxygen. Salmon need cold, clean water for spawning and rearing.
found that the Humptulips River showed water temperatures warmer than the state
water quality standards. The Humptulips River was listed on the 1996 and 1998
Water Quality Assessments (303[d]) list for temperature. Excessive summer water
temperatures may reduce the quality of rearing habitat for coho salmon, as well
as for steelhead and cutthroat trout.
Primary watershed disturbance activities that contribute to surface water
include forest management within riparian areas, timber harvest in sensitive
areas outside the riparian zone, and road construction and maintenance. The watershed is still
recovering from historical logging practices (during late 19th and early 20th
centuries, splash dams for example) that destroyed a lot of instream and
TMDL implementation: getting to clean water
Ecology conducted total maximum daily load studies (TMDL) in
the lower and the upper watersheds. The TMDL boundary begins at the confluence
of Humptulips River with
Stevens Creek and extends upstream to the headwaters of the Humptulips River. EPA approved the
TMDL for temperature
detailed implementation plan was completed and submitted to EPA in 2003.
Implementation of the TMDL relies in large part on forest practice rules which
establish prescriptive standards and guidelines that should be protective of
natural resources, including water quality, when implemented correctly.
WA Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Ecology has foresters that
routinely inspect areas that are being actively logged or managed to ensure that
forest practice rules are followed. If logging companies are not following
the rules, they are subject to enforcement.
follow-up study was conducted during the summer of 2010 to continuously monitor water
temperature at five stations to determine if water quality
temperatures are meeting state water quality standards. Instream temperatures at
two stations were slightly cooler than the numeric criteria (7-day average of
the daily maximum [7DADMax] temperature of 16°C) while three stations were
warmer than the criteria. Further monitoring and assessment is needed to
determine if the listings can be delisted (meets
Ecology and DNR foresters visit this watershed on a routine basis to make
sure that forest practice rules are being followed.
TMDL reports are submitted to the U.S. EPA for approval. These documents are
also called WQ Improvement Reports (WQIRs). Sometimes the study on which these
reports are based is published separately as a TMDL study, or technical report,
that describes the results and analysis of the study. The precursor to a study
is a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP). The QAPP describes the study design,
data collection and data quality objectives. Important follow-up studies to a
TMDL are also included in the following table. Unless otherwise specified, the following documents are Ecology publications.
Upper Humptulips River Watershed Temperature Total Maximum Daily Load (Water
Cleanup Plan) Submittal Report
||Upper Humptulips River Temperature Total Maximum Daily Load: Detailed
||Upper Humptulips River Temperature Total Maximum Daily Load -- Technical
Quality Assurance Project Plan: Humptulips River Temperature Monitoring
|Humptulips River Temperature Monitoring 2010
WRIA 22: Lower Chehalis Watershed Information (Water web site)
Back to top of page