Water Quality Improvement Project
Colville National Forest Area:


Located in northeast Washington, the Colville National Forest covers approximately 2,123 square miles. The forest is situated within Pend Oreille, Stevens, and Ferry counties. Communities adjacent to the forest include Colville, Chewelah, Kettle Falls, Republic, Newport, Ione, and Metaline Falls. The forest is bordered by Canada to the north; Okanogan National Forest to the west; Idaho and the Idaho Panhandle National Forests to the east; and Colville Confederated Tribal lands along the southwestern portion of the forest. Four ranger districts manage the forest: Three-Rivers, Republic, Sullivan Lake, and Newport. (See Study Area map)

Water quality issues

Water monitoring data on the Colville National Forest showed several streams did not meet fecal coliform bacteria and temperature standards.

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.

Water temperature influences what types of organisms can live in a water body. Cooler water can hold more dissolved oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to breathe. Warmer water holds less dissolved oxygen. Many fish need cold, clean water to survive.

One way to cool water temperature is to shade the water body by adding or retaining streamside vegetation.

Status of the project

Ecology began working with the Forest Service on a water quality improvement project (also called a total maximum daily load or TMDL) for the Colville National Forest in 2002. The TMDL is only for waters in the national forest - not private lands within the boundary.

EPA approved the Water Quality Improvement Report on August 5, 2005. Ecology and the Forest Service finalized the Water Quality Implementation Plan in Oct. 2006.

Technical information

Unless otherwise specified, the following documents are Ecology publications.

Related information

Water website WRIA information pages:

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Last updated November 2016
  Colville National Forest Area Map, Washington State, water resource inventory areas (WRIAs) 52, 58, 60,61,62.  Map courtesy of Tony Whiley, WA Dept. of Ecology.


52 #52 (Sanpoil)
58 #58 (Middle Lake Roosevelt)
60 #60 (Kettle)
61 #61 (Upper Lake Roosevelt)
62 #62 (Pend Oreille)
Pend Oreille

Water-body Names:
Multiple waterbodies

Fecal Coliform Bacteria

# of TMDLs: 50

Approved by EPA
Has water quality implementation plan

Contact Info:
Jean Parodi
Phone: 509-329-3517
Email: Jean.Parodi@ecy.wa.gov

Eastern Region
Department of Ecology
4601 N. Monroe Street
Spokane, WA 99205-1295