Why is this important?
High quality water in the region’s watersheds
is critical for ecosystem health, and for public
use and enjoyment of local water bodies. Low
quality water in streams and lakes result in
reduced fish and wildlife populations, increased
algal blooms and drinking water treatment costs,
as well as sediment related problems including
flooding and loss of carrying and storage capacity
in the local streams and lakes.
What is the measure?
Watershed water quality is measured by sampling
local creeks and lakes for levels of turbidity,
and chemical and biological contaminants such
as fecal coliform bacteria colonies.
The current United States Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) recommendations for fecal coliform
bacteria colonies are:
- body-contact recreation - fewer than 200
- fishing and boating - fewer than 1000
- domestic water supply for treatment -
fewer than 2000 colonies/100 ml
- drinking water standard - less than 1
colony/ 100 ml
How are we doing?
The water quality in the ditches, lakes and
streams located upstream of populated areas
of the county is generally contaminant-free
and of very high quality. However, as the water
flows downhill through the populated areas,
fecal coliform and turbidity levels of these
water sources increase significantly. Identified
sources of fecal coliform include failing septic
systems, urban storm water runoff, agricultural
livestock operations, and wildlife.
Based on available data and USEPA recommendations,
the following sampled creeks may be unsafe
- Body-Contact Recreation — Groveland
Creek (not shown in chart), Sullivan Creek,
Woods Creek, Curtis Creek, Turnback Creek,
- Fishing and Boating — Groveland
Creek, (not shown in chart), Sullivan Creek,
Woods Creek, Curtis Creek, Turnback Creek
- Domestic Water Supply (even after treatment) — Woods