Snohomish River Tributaries Study Area map, Washington State.  Courtesy of Ralph Svrjcek, Washington Department of Ecology.Allen/Quilceda Water Quality Report

Fall 2008 Update

Fecal coliform bacteria levels are too high in many of the streams between Monroe and Marysville (Figure 1). We call this area the Lower Snohomish River Tributaries (Snotribs) watershed. In 2001, Department of Ecology (Ecology) worked with local agencies and citizens to develop a Water Cleanup Plan or Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) to reduce bacteria levels in the Snotribs watersheds. In 2003, Ecology completed the Lower Snohomish River Tributaries Total Maximum Daily Load Detailed Implementation Plan. We call it the Action Plan to keep it short! The Action Plan is our guide on what to do to get local streams clean and safe for people and fish.

What has been done in Quilceda and Allen Creeks?

Ecology, local government agencies, and citizens are all working to clean up the Quilceda and Allen Watersheds. Some of the activities are required by Ecology permits. Other challenges are taken on because it is the right thing to do. The list of accomplishments goes beyond cleaning up bacteria levels and is impressive:

Local governments are working to clean up polluted stormwater.

In February 2007, the cities of Maryville and Arlington received Phase II municipal stormwater permits and Snohomish County received their new Phase I permit. These permits require each entity to accomplish activities to reduce pollution discharges:

Local surface water fees assessed by your city or Snohomish County support their efforts to control stormwater pollution through permit activities. Ecology provided Marysville and Arlington with $75,000 in 2007 to help them get their stormwater control programs in place.


State Funds have given local programs a boost.

Local governments and others have worked with the Department of Ecology to increase their work in Quilceda and Allen Creeks. The following major projects have taken place in recent years. The Adopt-a-Stream project is still at work in the West and Middle Fork Quilceda communities.

Grant Recipient Year Amount Purpose
City of Marysville 2003 $10,000 Monitoring, public education, and installation of pet waste stations.
Snohomish Conservation District 2003 $187,500 Outreach and BMP implementation in Quilceda/Allen watersheds.
Snohomish Conservation District 2003 $248,250 Education and outreach program to 4-H groups through Horses for Clean Water.
Adopt-A-Stream Foundation 2005 $180,000 Door-to-door outreach and BMP implementation in the west and middle forks of Quilceda Creek.








Is Water Quality Improving?

The short answer is yes! There are still areas that need further improvement but water is getting cleaner in many places. Water Quality has been measured in many locations—too many to document in this report. The following sections discuss the progress made in several locations.

Lower Quilceda Creek:

From 2003 to the present, bacteria levels have improved in lower Quilceda Creek. This graph shows a steady decline in the geometric mean bacteria levels (pink line). Our state standards require that bacteria levels in 9 out of 10 samples taken fall between the blue and green lines shown in the graph. Although the water is looking much cleaner at this location, there is still a little more work to do.

Click on graph to see a larger version


Lower Allen Creek:

Bacteria levels in the lower part of Allen Creek are also declining but we are still experiences a lot of bumps in the road. Bacteria values occasionally shoot up above 1,000 cfu/100mL. Most of the time we want to see numbers below 100 cfu/100mL with very few values much higher than 200 cfu/100mL.


Click on graph to see a larger version


Upper Watershed Areas:

The water quality picture looks different in the upper parts of Quilceda and Allen Creeks. Bacteria levels there are generally higher and more erratic. The Upper Allen Creek graph to the right is a good example. This means that more work is needed to reduce bacteria pollution sources in the upper watershed areas.


Click on graph to see a larger version

Next Steps….

What can you do now?



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Last updated May 2014