Water Quality Improvement Project
Little Bear Creek
Little Bear Creek originates in Snohomish County and flows southward for
approximately 7.7 miles, where it empties into the Sammamish River.
Little Bear Creek and its tributaries support runs of Chinook, sockeye, kokanee,
and coho salmon, and coastal cutthroat trout (Kerwin 2001), as well as other
resident fish species such as coast range sculpins and western brook lampreys.
Land use varies throughout the watershed, with many rural residential properties
in the upper and middle parts of the watershed. The lower portion of the Little
Bear watershed runs through the commercial portion of downtown Woodinville. The
water that leaves Little Bear Creek and other tributaries to the Sammamish River
is also very important to the health of Lake Washington. (See
Water quality issues
Little Bear Creek has too much fecal coliform bacteria. Stream samples from
the creek show bacteria levels beyond what Washington State allows in our fresh
Little Bear Creek is not unique. Fecal coliform bacteria are a common
water quality problem in our state. They belong to a mostly harmless group of
bacteria commonly found in large numbers in the feces of people and other
warm-blooded animals such as pets and wildlife. However, they indicate that more
serious disease-causing organisms, called pathogens, may be present in the
water. Stormwater runoff and other discharges can carry these small organisms
into the creeks where they pollute the water and can infect humans through skin
contact or ingestion of water.
What is being done
In 2007, Ecology produced a Water Cleanup Report detailing the bacterial
pollution problem in Little Bear Creek. The report identified specifies how much
pollution needs to be reduced to achieve clean water. This report can be found
As a follow-up to the Water Cleanup Report, Ecology will work with the local
community to prepare a Water Quality Implementation Plan (WQIP). The Implementation
Plan will detail the specific actions needed to reduce fecal coliform bacteria
levels in Little Bear Creek.
Snohomish County, the Snohomish Conservation
District, the Adopt-A-Stream Foundation, and the city of Woodinville were active
partners in developing the Water Cleanup Report and are already working to
improve water quality in Little Bear Creek. Our efforts from this point will
build upon their accomplishments. Following are our TMDL updates, which show what
others are doing. Contact us to find out how you might get involved.
Status of the project
Water Quality Improvement Project (TMDL) Timeline:
||Ecology submits Little Bear Creek Fecal
Coliform Bacteria TMDL Report to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
||U.S. EPA approves the Little Bear Creek
Fecal Coliform Bacteria TMDL Report.
|July 2005 - Present:
||Ecology works with local partners to
support water cleanup activities prior to development of the water
Quality implementation plan.
Little Bear Creek Fecal Coliform Bacteria TMDL/Water Quality Improvement
Report (Ecology Publication)
Focus on Bacteria in Little Bear Creek (Ecology Publication)
Curiosity Killed the Bacteria (Ecology water quality story)
WRIA 8: Cedar-Sammamish-Lake Washington Watershed Information (Environmental Assessment
Back to top of page