Water Quality Improvement
Mill, Cranberry, and John Creeks:
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
Quality Assurance Project Plan: TMDL Analysis for Temperature in Tributaries
to Oakland Bay-Hammersley Inlet: Mill Creek, Cranberry Creek, and Johns Creek
Dissolved Oxygen Measurements in Oakland Bay (Ecology Publication)
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WRIA: #14 (Kennedy-Goldsborough)
# of TMDLs: ---
Water quality improvement plan under development.
Department of Ecology
Water Quality Program
P.O. Box 47775
Olympia, WA 98504-7775
Environmental Assessment Program
Department of Ecology
P.O. Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504 -7600