Studyexamines water quality

Published on Thu, Dec 7, 2006
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Study examines water quality

The Puget Sound Restoration Fund is partnering with Whatcom County Public Works and the Trillium Corporation to conduct a microbial source tracking study in California Creek and Drayton Harbor. This $34,000 pilot study has been in the planning stages for years. The goal of the study is to delineate humans, horses, and cattle as possible sources of bacterial pollution to surface waters of California Creek and Drayton Harbor. Findings from this study will be used to help direct source control efforts in the California Creek basin.

Depending on the sources found, appropriate follow-up efforts will be taken by Whatcom County Health Department, Whatcom County Planning and Development Services, and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Each of these agencies supports this pilot study as a tool to help them direct pollution control efforts in the field.
Water quality is improving in portions of Drayton Harbor but commercial oyster harvest by the Community Oyster Farm is still subject to rain closures and resulting storm water runoff. Rainfall events that exceed 0.75 inches in a 24-hour period prompt a six-day harvest closure in order to protect public health. The highly technical microbial source tracking component of the laboratory work will be conducted by the Institute for Environmental Health in Seattle and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Manchester Laboratory.

Other partners include the Russell Family Foundation, the Washington State Department of Health Shellfish Program, Hirsch Consulting Services, the Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm, and the Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District Citizens Advisory Committee.