Water Quality Improvement Project
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.
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.
Unless otherwise specified, the following documents are Ecology publications.
Water website WRIA information pages:
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52 #52 (Sanpoil)
58 #58 (Middle Lake Roosevelt)
60 #60 (Kettle)
61 #61 (Upper Lake Roosevelt)
62 #62 (Pend Oreille)
Fecal Coliform Bacteria
# of TMDLs: 50
Approved by EPA
Has water quality
Department of Ecology
4601 N. Monroe Street
Spokane, WA 99205-1295