Water Quality Improvement Projects
Mill, Cranberry, and John Creeks:

Oakland Bay from Public Fishing Beach.  Photo courtesy of Anise Ahmed, WA Dept. of Ecology.


Cranberry and Johns Creeks are tributaries to Oakland Bay, and Mill Creek is a tributary to Hammersley Inlet. All are located in Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 14, also known as the Kennedy-Goldsborough watershed, located in Mason County, Washington.

Oakland Bay is a short, narrow bay angling abruptly northeast from its connection with Hammersley Inlet to the south. The Bay ranges in width from 1000 feet to near one mile and covers an area of approximately 5.4 square miles. In contrast, Hammersley Inlet is one of the shallowest and narrowest of all inlets in the South Puget Sound. The inlet is six miles long with an estimated surface area of 2.2 square miles.

Land use is primarily commercial forest, with a relatively smaller percentage dedicated to residential development and agriculture. Shorelines of both the marine area and the lakes in the watershed are heavily developed. Agricultural lands are dominated by small hobby farms.

Water quality issues

These three creeks are too warm to meet the state water quality standards for temperature. They are on the Washington state 2004 and 2008 303(d) lists of impaired waterbodies. We are developing a total maximum daily load (TMDL) project for these creeks to protect the beneficial uses of fish migration, rearing, spawning, and shellfish harvesting.

These creeks are characterized by lakes or large wetlands at their headwaters. The large surface area exposed to the warmth of sunlight may cause the relatively high water temperatures. Elevated water temperatures may also be the result of land use. We plan to re-activate the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) project and work with local partners in finding ways (implementation efforts) to reduce water temperatures and protect the beneficial uses such as fish migration, rearing, spawning, and shellfish harvesting.

What we have done

We began a cleanup process in the spring of 2003. The first step was a water quality study. Starting with an evaluation of existing water quality data, we and a technical advisory group designed a study plan to fill information gaps.

Status of the project

The temperature study will evaluate sources of heat and cooling, determine how much heat the creeks can handle naturally, and make recommendations for returning water temperature to healthy levels. We plan to re-activate the TMDL project and work with local partners to find ways to reduce water temperatures, protect aquatic life, and identify implementation actions needed to improve water quality in the study area.

Our partners in this project


Technical information

Quality Assurance Project Plan: TMDL Analysis for Temperature in Tributaries to Oakland Bay-Hammersley Inlet: Mill Creek, Cranberry Creek, and Johns Creek (Ecology Publication)

Related information

Dissolved Oxygen Measurements in Oakland Bay (Ecology Publication)

Partner websites

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Last updated April 2017
  Map of Kennedy-Goldsborough watershed, WRIA 14, Washington State.


WRIA: #14 (Kennedy-Goldsborough)
County: Mason

Water-body Names:
Mill Creek
Cranberry Creek
John Creek

Parameter: Temperature

# of TMDLs: ---

Water quality improvement plan under development.

Contact Info:
Betsy Dickes
Phone: 360-407-6296
Email: Betsy.Dickes@ecy.wa.gov

Southwest Region
Department of Ecology
Water Quality Program
P.O. Box 47775
Olympia, WA 98504-7775

Anise Ahmed
Phone: 360-407-6767
Email: Anise.Ahmed@ecy.wa.gov

Environmental Assessment Program
Department of Ecology
P.O. Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504 -7600