Water Quality Improvement Project
Little Klickitat River
Two separate TMDL efforts have taken place on the Little Klickitat River. The
first study for biological oxygen demand (BOD) and Chlorine pertains primarily to the Goldendale wastewater
treatment plant (WWTP). The second study of in-stream temperature applies to the
Little Klickitat watershed. (See
Water quality issues
Pollutant sources for BOD and chlorine were identified in the TMDL as the
city of Goldendale's WWTP at river mile 14.1 and nonpoint sources. Nutrients and
fecal coliform bacteria are the primary nonpoint pollutants- due to livestock
access to the river and runoff from pastures, agricultural areas and urban
stormwater. Nonpoint pollutant sources were not considered contributors to
potential instream oxygen depression nor chlorine toxicity and were not included
in the TMDL analysis for BOD and chlorine.
Temperature is a water quality concern because most aquatic organisms,
including salmonids, are “cold-blooded” and are strongly influenced by water
temperature (Schuett-Hames et al.,1999). Temperature is a major concern in the
lower Little Klickitat River and Bowman Creek because of the use of its waters
by steelhead, a species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act,
as a migration corridor and as spawning and rearing habitat. Elevated
temperature and altered channel morphology resulting from various land-use
activities, such as timber harvest and agriculture, limit available spawning and
rearing habitat for steelhead.
Why this matters
Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) is the amount of oxygen required by
aerobic microorganisms (organisms that need oxygen to survive) to break down
organic matter in water. It can be used to measure the amount of water pollution
in a water body.
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
Many existing regulations, agreements, and planning processes potentially
affect stream improvements in the Little Klickitat River Watershed. Actions
taken pursuant to the Water Quality Implementation Plan fall into three
categories: voluntary stewardship actions; actions taken in accordance with a
law, legal agreement, or existing planning process; and monitoring activities.
Education and stewardship activities will be completed as quickly as possible.
Actions that are taken in accordance with an existing planning process, law or
legal agreement, if applicable, will be completed within the time frame
prescribed by the planning document, law or legal agreement.
Voluntary stewardship activities include: planting native vegetation near
streams to restore the riparian zones, fencing livestock away from riparian
zones where possible, develop farm plans to address temperature, provide
off-channel water sources for livestock, change agricultural practices to
no-till methods to reduce soil erosion and protect the soils.
The implementation plan for the temperature TMDL was completed in 2005, and a
copy sent to EPA.
Unless otherwise specified, the following documents are Ecology publications.
BOD and Chlorine:
Little Klickitat River Biological Oxygen Demand Total Maximum Daily Load
Quality Assurance Project Plan: Little Klickitat River Temperature Total
Maximum Daily Load
Little Klickitat River Watershed Temperature Total Maximum Daily Load
Little Klickitat River Watershed Temperature Total Maximum Daily Load:
Little Klickitat River Watershed Temperature TMDL: Detailed
Quality Assurance Project Plan: Little Klickitat River and Swale
Creek Implementation Project
Focus on the Little Klickitat River (Ecology Publication)
The New Klickitat Wastewater Treatment Plant (Ecology water quality story)
WRIA 30: Klickitat Watershed Information (Water website)
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