Makah Water Quality Program


Nov 30, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)



Makah Water Quality Program


Ray Colby Specialist II and Water Quality Non
Point Source Technician III

Billy Noel

The Environmental Protection Agency Region 10, and 1972 Federal Clean Water Act has continued
funding the Makah Water Quality
program §106 & §319 Non
Point Source programs with the ongoing
recognition and Treatment as the Same Manner as a State (TAS)

Water Quality has sustained and continued several activities this past year which include a monitoring
and assessment plan which co
nsists of fresh water monitoring of 14 core stations and 8 rotating sites that
are monitored in five watersheds that include Ozette, Wa’atch, Village, Sail, and Tsoo Yess.

There are monthly and bimonthly plans we follow to sample these twenty
two sites a
long various water
systems to collect a range of chemical, biological, and physical data. This data includes parameter
measurements of, temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, conductivity, turbidity, and potential Hydrogen
(pH) and biological specimens s
uch as macro invertebrates. Biological monitoring is conducted during the
final weeks of summer within salmon spawning and rearing areas that are of concern or need of
ecological improvements benefiting salmon restoration. Macro invertebrate collection was

conducted on
the upper Tsoo
Yess watershed towards the end of September. Due to the very limited rain fall and stream
flows this late summer early fall two sampling locations on the Wa’atch and Village Creek needed to be
canceled, but will be ongoing in t
his next year providing adequate stream flow conditions are available.
For a more detailed display of the final analysis of bug scoring biometrics the table below shows what the
breakdown is for percentage of taxa collected as abundance and their scoring.







Total no. of taxa




No. of Ephemeroptera taxa



No. of Plecoptera taxa



10 Metric B

No. of Trichoptera taxa



No. of Long
lived taxa



10 to 16

Very Poor

No. of Intolerant taxa



18 to 26


% of individuals in tolerant



28 to 36


% of predator individuals



38 to 44


Clinger taxa



46 to 50


% dominance (3 taxa)



The water quality data collected is looked at for trends, which can show improved, non
changing, or
degraded water quality conditions based on the Makah Water Quality Standards criteria, which were
adopted and recognized by the federal government in Septem
ber 2006.


This year’s data (2012) will be submitted to the EPA Water Quality Exchange Network (WQX) through
the Tribal Database Partnership Network Agreement that tribes of the Northwest Indian Fisheries
Commission (NWIFC) can enter into. This database network will
only be accessible to tribes that have
signed and approved their partnership agreement with the Commission and are participating in Region 10
EPA CWA §106 funded water quality programs. Data entered into this network is important to the Pacific
Northwest r
egion in terms of establishing baseline water quality information for analysis and

interpretation that may show trends as to the health of watersheds that are used by spawning salmon and
in helping to develop recovery strategies and implement recovery plan


The Water Quality’s next 3
Year Plan has been submitted and awaits any further draft changes by EPA
regional program directors. Other than continuation of §106 WQ and §319 NPS monitoring designs and
data collection are some additional proje
cts to expand our programs capacity in near shore and coastal
monitoring. In addition to Neah Bay marine water monitoring for the State Department of Health we will
also include Makah Bay for purposes of changing Makah Bay's unclassified status to a future

of active status. The waters on our Pacific coast have never achieved active status with the state and not
having this change in status would hinder this tribe’s potential for any future commercial targeted

Compliance and Enforcem

Another component our department has is §401 water quality certification permitting process. This
certification exercises the Makah Water Quality Standards compliance and enforcement to the standards
by issuing the §401 water quality permit. This proce
ss outlined by the CWA and EPA regards facilities or
construction activities that possibly have discharges into waters of the state or into navigable waters
including storm water discharges, irrigation, infrastructure systems. Included into this programs f
commitment to monitoring and compliance are the control of pollutants or limitation of effluents and
discharges. Contracted activities or designers in predevelopment often approach this department for
opinion regarding water quality standards and co
mpliance for this certification and apply directly to the
water quality department as officiating authority and stewards to the Clean Water Act for the tribe. Onsite
our program facilitates this permit by observing and assuring the implementation of Best M
Practices (BMP) for project or facilities and to maintain and comply with such limitations, standards,
regulations, requirements, or criteria.


There is new monitoring and screening on Makah bay at three separate locations

Washington State DOH Marine Surface Water Screening protocol. Our Water Quality program expanded
to include a near shore monitoring plan in order to have the opportunity to change the State’s shellfish
classification for Makah bay.

Currently the Pacific

coast of Washington state only has three counties with a Department of Health
active commercial/ recreational shellfish harvesting classification. It is our decision to strategize and
update our monitoring plan to include Makah bay for fecal coliform scre
ening. During the next 29 months
marine surface water samples will be taken and sent to the WSDOH biotoxin lab and screened for f.
coliform in order to have this area re
classified as “Active” making our waters more valuable and
commercially zoned for a br
ighter future for the Makah tribe including a more promising future for aqua
culture endeavors. Once this initial monitoring and screening is completed the baseline period these
waters will have a never before Active classification and will continue ongoin
g screening with biotoxin
results published by the Washington State Department of Health.

Marine surface water samples have been taken for the last eight years on a two month schedule with the
DOH at twelve sample locations in Neah bay and six sample locat
ions on the Western straits from
Kydaka point to Pillar point screening for human impacts of fecal coliform pollution and provide notice
for any public safety issues.

Shellfish monitoring in Neah Bay, Makah bay, and Sekiu Bay

Our monitoring plan demonstra
tes collections of mussel, butter or varnish clams at each low tide and
screens those samples for biotoxin as well as assessment reports for biotoxin trends or harvest area
conditions of tribal or non
tribal shellfish harvesting locations.

The department h
arvests Mussels because
their filter feeding process quickly reveals the indicators for biotoxin contamination. Three primary

locations are selected one site off the reservation and two on the tribe’s beaches. Locations are in front of
the Makah Senior Cen
ter, at Hobuck beach and the strait side of Sekiu point. The shellfish are kept fresh
and on ice; packaged and shipped express to the Biotoxin laboratory.

All shellfish samples arrive at the Washington State Seattle Department of Health (DOH) Biotoxin
ratory each month and twice a month during double testing for Quality Control (QC) and Quality
Assurance (QA) to test for levels of Domoic Acid (DA), Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP), Okadaic
Acid, and Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) biotoxin.


reports on biotoxin are posted throughout the community and our water quality web site at
qualities web site

as well as throughout the community Seniors Center, Makah Clinic, Tribal
, Post Office, Mini Mart and Marina office.

Public Outreach Efforts

A website for Makah Water Quality and Non
Point Source pollution was developed and has been up

running into its fifth year. This web
site is focused on creating water quality awareness in the community.
The ultimate goal is to help foster our close relationship with the environment and to promote watershed
stewardship within our community. The
website can be viewed at

Information available includes our shellfish sampling for biotoxin results, water quality monitoring site
pictures, Best Management Practices (BMP) work, and links

to videos and various environmental web
sites. The ultimate goal is to help foster our close relationship with the environment and to promote
watershed stewardship within our community. Information available includes our shellfish sampling
results, water
quality monitoring site pictures, Best Management Practices (BMP) work, and links to
videos and various environmental web sites.

One other notable project for our program this summer was the Grimes stream bridge installation and
assistance with Makah Forestry Enterprise Manager, Jim Haney. Our
department’s crew completed the
fish the
retention from upstream to downstream of the new
Grimes bridge s
ite prior to the removal of the
antiquated culvert that was a fish barrier once limiting but now has open
ed fish passage and habitat to
approximately one mile of upstream. Grimes creek is a tributary on the T
soo Yess river watershed system
nd is located up river from the Makah National Fish Hatchery by approximately three miles.

MNFH Fish Distributio


In response to interest and concern within the Makah community, and with support from the Tribal
Council, Makah Fisheries
Management and Water Quality Program, and collaboration with the Makah
Senior Program, we have implemented a “demonstration” project to help address the need to provide
spawned salmon and steelhead distribution to the elderly, senior, disabled, and veteran

whereby maximizing the benefit of the food resource, and to reduce to the greatest extent possible, the
waste of this natural resource


This year the Makah Fisheries Program has been working with the Makah National Fish Hatchery and the
Senior Center to undertake a hatchery fish distribution “pilot project”. It is hoped that this project
will help address the need to distribute the Makah National Fish Hatchery and Hoko Hatchery spawned
salmon and steelhead to the community in a manner whi
ch maximizes the benefit of the food resource. It
is also hoped that this will reduce the waste of this resource by random egg harvesting and indiscriminate
dumping of salmon/steelhead remains in areas where nutrients are not made available or environmenta
recycling into our streams and Tsoo Yess or Hoko rivers. Flyers for this pilot program are given as
handouts during deliveries in the community and to cover the extent of our programs work.
Interdepartmental emails and updates are sent to staff to cove
r distribution schedules, total for totes of
excessed fish collected and the amounts of excessed fish into their intended watersheds and the
approximant summary of man hours volunteered.

Fisheries has historically been given the responsibility of picking
up hatchery fish and helping to
distribute it back into the community, however concern within the community over waste has caused us in
Fisheries to rethink the manner in which this has been done. The idea behind this project is that through
verbal agreem
ent, our crews will deliver hatchery fish to local, Makah owned smoke house/kippering
business/owners in exchange for processed non
perishable fish products, such as canned, vacuum packed,
or hard smoked fish that will then be provided to the Makah Seniors

Center for distribution to our elders,
seniors, veterans, and disabled community members.

January 2013, will be the final fish hatchery fish distribution for the 2012 season being conducted in the
community by our Fisheries staff in assisting the Makah Na
tional Fish Hatchery with the last of the
steelhead brood stock excess.