Water Quality Improvement Project
Clarks Creek Area:
Fecal Coliform


Clarks Creek watershed is located in the lower Puyallup River watershed in the southern part of the region. Clarks Creek has a watershed area of about 13 square miles and an average flow of roughly 60 cubit feet per second (cfs). Clarks Creek flows year-round out of Maplewood Springs, with summer base flows of 30-40 cfs. Tributaries include the Rody, Diru, and Woodland Creeks, and Meeker Creek. Tributaries flow primarily in the wet season in response to rain. Clarks Creek is a salmon-bearing stream supporting chinook, coho, and chum salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout. (See Study Area map)

Water quality issues

Clarks Creek and Meeker Creek were identified as being impaired by fecal coliform on the 1996 303(d) list of impaired waters for Washington State. On the 1998 303(d) list they were again listed for fecal coliform. Meeker Creek was also listed for pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), and temperature. In 2004, Ecology moved to a category system. The 2004 Water Quality Assessment Report identified Clarks Creek and Meeker Creek as listed for fecal coliform and pH under category 5 (polluted waters that require a total maximum daily load, or TMDL). The 2004 Water Quality Assessment Report also identified Meeker Creek as a category 2 (water of concern) for DO and temperature. Clarks Creek was listed as a category 2 for DO.

Clarks Creek and its tributaries also do not meet water quality standards for dissolved oxygen and sediment.

Status of the project

Ecology, working with local governments, developed a draft water quality improvement report (WQIR, also known as a TMDL). The report consisted of a study outlining the nature of the fecal coliform impairment, with recommendations on how much fecal coliform input to Clarks Creek would need to be reduced so that the creek would meet state water standards. The WQIR also included an implementation strategy on how to reduce the amount of fecal coliform entering Clarks Creek so that the creek would move to clean water.

After holding a public comment period Ecology reviewed and responded to comments received, then submitted the final WQIR to EPA. EPA approved the WQIR on June 4, 2008.

Ecology, working with residents, local jurisdictions, and other interested parties, then developed a draft implementation plan (WQIP). This plan described how the implementation activities discussed in the WQIR will be carried out. Ecology held a public comment period to review the draft implementation plan. After addressing the comments, the finalized implementation plan was sent to EPA on December 23, 2009.

Adaptive Management

City of Puyallup Maintenance Requirements - Adaptive Management agreement

Why this matters

Fecal coliform is a type of “bacteria” common in human and animal waste. It indicates that sewage or manure is entering a water body. As the level of fecal coliform increases, the risk of people getting sick from playing or working in the water increases. Bacteria can get into our waters from untreated or partially treated discharges from wastewater treatment plants, from improperly functioning septic systems, and from livestock, pets and wildlife.

People can help keep bacteria out of the water. Properly collect, bag, and trash dog poop. Check your on-site sewage system to make sure it is maintained and working properly. Ensure livestock and manure are kept away from the water.

Technical information

Fecal coliform

Clarks Creek Watershed Fecal Coliform Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load: Water Quality Improvement Report (Ecology Publication)

Clarks Creek Watershed Fecal Coliform Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load: Water Quality Implementation Plan (Ecology Publication)

Related information


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Last updated June 2016
  Map for water resource inventory area (WRIA) 10, Washington State.


WRIA: #10 (Puyallup-White)
County: Pierce

Water-body Name:
Clarks Creek

Fecal Coliform Bacteria

# of TMDLs:
Fecal Coliform -

Approved by EPA;
has an implementation plan

Contact Info:
Donovan Gray
Phone: 360-407-6407
Email: Donovan.Gray@ecy.wa.gov

Southwest Regional Office
Department of Ecology
P.O. Box 47775
Lacey, WA 98504-7775