Water Quality Improvement
Liberty Bay Watershed:
Liberty Bay, and several creeks that drain to it, are on the state's 2012
water quality assessment (also known as the 303[d] list) because they exceed the
state fecal coliform standard. Fecal coliform bacteria are indicators of harmful
bacteria and viruses that cause illnesses among swimmers and others who recreate
on the water or consume shellfish. Creeks with too much bacteria include
Dogfish; Poulsbo; Johnson; Daniels; Big Scandia; Little Scandia; and Bjorgen,
Kitsap Conservation District and Kitsap Public Health provide technical assistance to
As part of Kitsap Health’s Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) project
for Liberty Bay, streams and marine waters are monitored monthly. Once sources
of fecal pollution are identified, Kitsap Health staff work with property owners
to develop a cleanup plan. Water quality problems that may relate to livestock
management are referred to Kitsap Conservation District, which works with
livestock owners to make sure manure is managed properly.
To make sure your livestock are not
impacting surface waters, contact Kitsap Conservation District at 360-337-7171.
If you have questions about your septic tank and inspections, please contact
Kitsap Public Health dept at 360-337-5235.
Using fencing to prevent livestock access is an excellent way to protect water quality.
Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) conducted a water
quality improvement project in Liberty Bay, near Poulsbo, Washington, in Kitsap
County. Required under the federal Clean Water Act the project, to develop a total maximum
daily load (TMDL), includes a scientific study of how much fecal coliform
bacteria is entering Liberty Bay from its major freshwater tributaries and storm
drainages. The project also includes a plan, developed in partnership with
Tribes, local agencies, and organizations, to clean up the sources of bacteria
so that the bay and its tributaries will meet state water quality standards.
Liberty Bay Fecal Coliform Bacteria TMDL was approved by the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) in October of 2013.
After addressing comments received during the public comment period, Ecology
submitted the finalized water quality improvement report to EPA in June, 2013.
EPA approved the report in October, 2013.
A public meeting was held March 21 2013, at Poulsbo Fire Dept Community Hall,
to receive comments on the draft Liberty Bay Bacteria TMDL. In attendance
were representatives from the city of Poulsbo, Suquamish Tribe, Kitsap Conservation
District, Kitsap Public Health District, Kitsap Surface and Stormwater
Management, and the general public. The public comment period was held
from March 15 to April 15, 2013.
Several Liberty Bay streams have shown progress in meeting state water
quality standards for bacteria. At this meeting at Poulsbo City
Hall, Ecology reported improvements in Dogfish, Poulsbo, Big Scandia and Little
Scandia creeks since TMDL monitoring was completed in 2009. Work by local
government stormwater programs, Kitsap Health District (getting septic systems
fixed) and Kitsap Conservation District (working with livestock owners) since
2009 has led to the improvements evident in Kitsap Health's Water Year 2012
water quality data.
Citizens, Tribes and local and state agencies were invited to participate.
- Liberty Bay Tributaries Fecal
Coliform TMDL Technical Overview Presentation: Ecology provided results of monitoring 33 stream
and stormwater discharges twice monthly during the year-long study to help
local government prioritize cleanup actions. One creek not previously
monitored by local programs carried the second highest load of bacteria to
the bay. Kitsap Health followed up by adding 7 freshwater sites to its
monitoring program and by working with landowners needing onsite system
- Implementation: Kitsap Conservation District reviewed its
technical assistance to landowners in the watershed with livestock to reduce
bacteria inputs to streams and stormwater discharges.
State and local organizations met May 19, 2011 in Poulsbo to learn about the
Liberty Bay study and cleanup plan. The city of Poulsbo; Kitsap County;
Suquamish Tribe; representatives of the U.S. Navy at Keyport; Puget Sound
Restoration Fund; and others met to hear about the Ecology study and begin
planning the actions needed to get to clean water. Presentations included:
Ecology completed a year’s-worth of regular water quality sampling in August
2009. Preliminary reports summarizing the bacteria data collected so far:
Unless otherwise specified, the following documents are Ecology publications.
Liberty Bay Watershed Fecal Coliform Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load: TMDL
and Water Quality Implementation Plan - Final
Liberty Bay Tributaries Fecal Coliform Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load: Water Quality Study Design (Quality Assurance Project Plan)
WRIA: #15 (Kitsap)
Big Scandia Creek
Little Scandia Creek
# of TMDLs: 7
TMDL approved by EPA
Has implementation plan
Department of Ecology
3190 160th Avenue SE
Bellevue, WA 98008-5452