Puget Sound Stream Benthos

Pilot Study: Monitoring the Effectiveness of Pollution Control Activities on Agricultural Lands, Washington State Department of Ecology

As part of Washington State’s Shellfish Initiative, the state departments of Health and Ecology are funding local and Puget Sound health programs to implement pollution control activities in order to reduce nutrient and pathogens entering surface waters flowing into the sound. As part of this effort, the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) will conduct a pilot study that uses two stations monitored by Ecology’s Freshwater Monitoring Unit to assess the cumulative effects of pollution control measures on several water quality parameters. Specifically, Ecology will employ an upstream/downstream monitoring design in the Bertrand Creek watershed, an agriculturally dominated sub-watershed of the Nooksack River in Whatcom County, Washington. Implementation of pollution control measures and changes in land uses within the treatment area will be tracked over the study period and results will be compared to the upstream monitoring station’s results.
The primary goal of this study is to evaluate changes in several common water quality indicators in relation to implementation of pollution control measures and land use changes in the watershed. The resulting monitoring data will also be used to determine compliance with water quality standards and identify sources of nutrient and pathogen sources over the study period. Also, because implementation and effects of pollution control measures will occur beyond the project study period, a long-term watershed-scale effectiveness monitoring project plan will be developed for the study area.