Keeping An Eye On Water Quality In The Puyallup

PUYALLUP (January 17, 2007) – Every month researchers from the Puyallup Tribe of Indians spend a few days traveling throughout the Puyallup River watershed to collect samples to gauge water quality throughout the basin.

“The data we glean from these samples tell the ongoing story of water quality in the Puyallup River watershed,” said Char Naylor, water quality manager for the tribe.

For almost 10 years the tribe’s ambient water quality project has been providing baseline water quality information in the watershed. ”

Consistent collection of the data is critical to its usefulness in the monitoring program. “We study the same aspects of water quality each month so we can actually see over time how things are changing,” said Naylor. The tribe measures stream flow, temperature, dissolved oxygen levels and other data from 24 sites in 14 rivers and streams throughout the watershed.

Typically, changes in water quality are seasonal, with similar patterns occurring about the same time every year. For example, during the low water months of August and September, higher water temperatures become an issue in many creeks. In early fall, when the first significant rains come, the pollutants from streets and suburban yards that have been building up all summer are washed in creeks.

“We collect this data to assess the current condition of waters in the basin and track changes over time,” said Naylor.

The tribe’s research goes hand-in-hand with similar work conducted by the state Department of Ecology. “Both the tribe and the state collect water quality information in the Puyallup watershed to protect human health and aquatic life, ,” said Naylor. The tribe, as a sovereign government, has the same status as a state in terms of enforcing water quality standards on trust lands within its 18,000-acre reservation, which includes the lower Puyallup River.

“Collecting reliable baseline information is a key part in protecting water quality in the Puyallup River watershed,” said Naylor.


For more information, contact: Char Naylor, water quality manager, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, (253) 841-0382. Emmett O’Connell, information officer, NWIFC, (360) 438-4304, [email protected]