Clean Water Program
Samish Basin Water Quality Monitoring
Samish basin water quality monitoring grew out of the Skagit County Water Quality Monitoring Program (SCMP), which is a larger effort aimed at determining status and trends of water quality at 40 sites throughout the County.
Sampling from SCMP, along with Ecology and local volunteers, shows that the Samish Basin has a continual problem with high fecal coliform counts at many sampling stations. High fecal coliform counts have led to repeated closures of the commercial and recreational shellfish beds in Samish Bay. Previous work by Ecology and the County has shown that while fecal coliform pollution is widespread in the basin, the Samish River is the biggest source of bacteria to the bay.
As a response to this problem, Skagit County has embarked on a Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) program designed to determine pollution sources in the basin. One of the first steps in this process is to increase both sampling frequency and number of sample locations. The SCMP had 11 sampling sites in the Samish Basin; with the PIC program, the County has increased this number to 20 sites, with the option of adding more sites as needed. In addition to the regular biweekly sampling, the County will attempt to sample all rain events and sample selected locations on a weekly basis. By increasing the number of sites and the frequency of sampling, the County will be able to determine more precisely the pollution source locations that are adding large amounts of fecal coliform bacteria to the river. Skagit County can then target and correct polluted stretches of the river through education, outreach activities, and voluntary property inspections.
Skagit County applied, and was selected, for a grant from EPA to support the PIC program in the Samish. Skagit County is currently in the process of negotiating a final agreement for this funding. In the meantime, support for the Samish PIC program comes from the County's Clean Water Fund.
For more information contact Kevin Jackman, 360-416-1443, firstname.lastname@example.org
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