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Department of Environmental Quality.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) seeks public comment by Nov. 9 on proposed plans to address elevated Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria in several tributaries of the South Fork Clearwater River.

These include Cottonwood Creek, Stockney Creek, Shebang Creek, Threemile Creek, and Sally Ann Creek and its tributaries.

Recent analyses reveal that E. coli levels exceed state water quality standards in these streams, which can pose health risks to people recreating in water.

Under the Clean Water Act, states are required to develop total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) when state water quality standards are not achieved. To comply with these requirements, DEQ prepared the draft South Fork Clearwater River Subbasin Escherichia coli Total Maximum Daily Loads and Review, which defines maxi-mum E. coli inputs from all sources that can occur while still meeting state water quality standards.

DEQ held several public meetings to consult with local stakeholders in the South Fork Clearwater Watershed Advisory Group when developing the draft TMDL.

The draft document recommends actions necessary to achieve state water quality standards in the impaired streams. A companion report documents recent E. coli monitoring data collected throughout the watershed.

These documents can be accessed on DEQ’s website and hard copies can be mailed upon request. Contact the Lewiston Regional Office to request or review copies.

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