Water Quality Improvement Project
Newaukum Creek Area:
Bacteria

Newakum Creek pictures and signs, Washington State.  Photographer unknown.

Introduction

Newaukum Creek basin is located in western Washington State. It drains about 27 square miles of land area, including portions of King County and the city of Enumclaw. Newaukum Creek flows 14 miles from its headwaters in the western slopes of the Cascade foothills, northeast of Enumclaw, to the stream’s mouth at the confluence with the Green River.

The Green River and its major tributaries, including Newaukum Creek, serve as important migration corridors and spawning and rearing areas for several salmon species, including Puget Sound Chinook, bull trout, coho, chum, pink, sockeye, steelhead/rainbow, and cutthroat trout. These species all need cold, oxygenated waters, and waters free of contaminants that are sometimes associated with excess bacteria for optimum health during various stages of their lives.

 

Water quality issues

Portions of Newaukum Creek exhibit unhealthy stream bacteria levels that do not meet Washington State water quality standards.

 

Status of the project

Washington Department of Ecology held a public meeting to discuss the draft Newaukum Creek Bacteria Cleanup - total maximum daily load (TMDL)/Water Quality Improvement Plan. The meeting was held  in May 2016.

Ecology, King County, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, and others began a cooperative effort to develop a bacteria TMDL project for this basin in the summer of 2014. The effort included evaluation of King County and Ecology water quality monitoring data collected in Newaukum Creek and its tributaries. This effort resulted in a draft water quality improvement report and implementation plan (WQIR-IP).

This WQIR-IP contains the studies and implementation plan for improving stream bacteria levels in Newaukum Creek. It consists of theTMDL study and a plan to implement the TMDL. The TMDL study is an analysis of available stream quality data, identifies pollution problems in the watershed, and then specifies how much pollution needs to be reduced or eliminated to achieve clean water. Ecology, local governments, agencies, and the community developed a plan that describes actions to control bacteria pollution and promotes monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the water quality improvement actions.

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.

Technical information

 

Related information

Green River and Newaukum Creek - Multiparameter
www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/TMDL/GreenRvrTMDLsummary.html

WRIA 9: Duwamish-Green Watershed Information (Water web site)
www.ecy.wa.gov/water/wria/09.html

 

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Last updated May 2016
  Water resource inventory area (WRIA) 9 map, Washington State.

PROJECT INFO

Location:
WRIA(s): #09 (Duwamish-Green)
County: King

Water-body Name(s):
Newaukum Creek

Parameter(s):
Fecal Coliform

# of TMDLs: ---

Status:
TMDL in development

Contact Info:
Joan Nolan
Phone: 425-649-4425
Email: Joan.Nolan@ecy.wa.gov

Northwest Region
Department of Ecology
3190 160th Ave. SE
Bellevue, WA 98008-5452