Let us know if you'd like to help us with our septic system outreach project. We want the Tenmile watershed to be the first watershed in the Nooksack basin to be 100% compliant with septic inspection rules.
Whatcom County Health Department is notifying property owners in the Portage MRA-Nooksack River Watershed to have their on-site sewage system (OSS) evaluated. This letter was sent to Tenmile watershed residents in April 2016 to notify them about OSS evaluation requirements.here. Project participants are keenly interested in this topic because a crayfish die off occurred in Tenmile Creek in June, 2015.
Nooksack River Watershed Water Quality Status - Fecal Colifom Bacteria - to view the most current information about fecal coliform bacteria levels in Whatcom County, click here.
The Tenmile Creek Clean Water Project represents an effort by citizen stakeholders to involve the community to reduce fecal coliform levels on a voluntary basis. All efforts that are undertaken will be guided by the Committee. A committee charter (here) outlines the mechanics of how the committee will operate by defining the mission, leadership, responsibilities, and basic rules under which the Committee will operate. The committee is open to everyone, meets once a month (second Wednesday of each month) at Bellewood Acres, at 6:3o pm.
A healthy Puget Sound is important for our region’s economic, cultural and ecological future. As population pressure in our region continues to grow, the Nooksack basin and Puget Sound is under threat from pollution, habitat loss, and other stresses and populations of fish and wildlife species have been receding. Fecal coliform levels are increasing in many feeder streams in the Nooksack basin. Compromised water quality can threaten human health and agricultural viability, as well as threaten the closure of downstream shellfish beds that are relied on for Tribal and commercial shellfish harvesting operations in Portage Bay. As part of the Nooksack basin, Tenmile Creek is under a TMDL, authored initially in 1995. Recent water quality trends show increasing levels of fecal coliform. This trend is not unique to Tenmile Creek.
NEW: Read the updated Committee Charter Document here.
Technical work and review: Identify septic tank inspection regimes, farm practices or techniques, stream and/or buffer projects, , and/or other applicable techniques issues that might be useful to reduce levels of fecal coliform. Experts may be brought in to assist the committee with this process.
Fecal coliform testing: Additional data or sampling locations may be added to assess problem areas and solutions.
Education and outreach: Educate the surrounding community about fecal coliform. Offer informational fairs. Conduct informal “kitchen table discussions” or neighbor-to-neighbor communications.
A presentation that includes agenda and most recent data (February 2016) can be viewed here.
A map showing the geometric mean for samples collected during the first year of the project is here.
A graph showing Portage Bay Shellfish Protection District fecal coliform geometric mean of sample collection sites is here. Note station "TI" is the mouth of Tenmile Creek at Barrett Road, Ferndale.
Historical data for Tenmile watershed is located here. Note - this is a large file, may not work on some computers.
"Reducing Fecal Bacteria Pollution in Whatcom County" by WA Dept of Ecology
"Reducing Bacterial Pollution from Livestock Operations " created by the Washington Department of Ecology
"Policies for Environmental Protection, Recovery, and Prosperity on the Agricultural Landscape" by Whatcom Conservation District
October 2013 meeting
June 2014 (draft)
May 2014 (draft)
March 2014 (draft)
February 2014 (draft)
Are you curious about what native fish live in Tenmile Creek? Click here to view Melissa Erkel's presentation.
Click here to view a presentation about fecal coliform survivability. The author of this presentation is Stephanie Harris, US EPA Scientist.
Click here to read a report called Fourmile Creek Buffer Planting Project Progress Report, June 2013
Click to see a map of the Tenmile Creek Watershed
Click here to view a map showing stormwater outfalls in the vicinity of Tenmile and Fourmile Creeks
Click here to view a map showing stormwater outfalls in the vicinity of Deer Creek
Click to see a map of sample locations within the Tenmile Creek Watershed: