The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is currently accepting public comments on proposed total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) as part of its efforts to improve water quality in the Upper Salmon River subbasin.
The recently released “Upper Salmon River Subbasin Assessment and TMDL: 2016 Addendum and Five-Year Review,” which is available for public comment through Aug.19, would establish TMDLs aimed at the reduction of sediment and E. coli bacteria in the subbasin’s waters, as well as work to lower water temperature.
These are issues that have been identified in water bodies in the area: E. coli in Herd Creek and high sediment and levels and warm temperatures in streams throughout the subbasin. Excess sediment can change the waters’ flows and impair aquatic habitats, while increased temperatures can impact fish and coldwater organisms. Increased levels of bacteria can prevent water bodies from being used recreationally, causing gastrointestinal illness in humans who ingest it.
The DEQ’s proposed actions would work to improve water quality in the impacted waters, bringing them into compliance with state standards. It would maintain those waters for uses such as aquatic habitats, recreation, domestic water supply and salmon spawning.