East Fork Lewis River water cleanup plan

The East Fork Lewis River and its tributaries are listed on the state's polluted waters list for high water temperatures and fecal coliform bacteria problems. Keeping the watershed clean is important because high levels of bacteria increase risks to people swimming, wading, or fishing. Also, high temperatures create poor conditions for fish and other wildlife.

Why is clean water important? 

Improving water quality in the East Fork Lewis River will help ensure long-term use and recreational enjoyment of the watershed, while protecting public and environmental health.

To ensure swimmers and kayakers can safely enjoy the watershed, fecal coliform bacteria levels need to be lowered. Efforts to cool the water are also important to support critical habitat for migratory fish species. The East Fork Lewis River has historically supported Chinook, chum, coho, and steelhead.

Residents and visitors are able to enjoy the East Fork Lewis River at its many public access points. Local governments, businesses, and residents also rely on clean water in the East Fork Lewis to sustain stormwater, wastewater, drinking water, and other services.

Developing a water cleanup plan

Water cleanup plans are required for each waterbody on the state’s polluted waters list. An assessment of pollution concerns on the East Fork Lewis River was completed in May of 2018, to initiate the water cleanup planning process.

For the Source Assessment Report we analyzed water quality data, created a watershed inventory, identified issues of concern, provided general implementation recommendations to improve water quality, and identified critical areas to address temperature and bacteria issues.

Source Assessment documents

Next steps

The East Fork Lewis River Partnership was established in the summer of 2018 to work collaboratively with stakeholders (including local, state, tribal, and federal governments; non-profits; private industry; and landowners) to implement our recommendations in the Source Assessment and develop and implement a feasible and impactful water cleanup plan. This plan will support, include, and celebrate the priorities, ongoing efforts, and future plans of partners working in the East Fork Lewis River watershed, while addressing challenges associated with fecal coliform bacteria and temperature.

The East Fork Lewis River Partnership will meet regularly through the summer of 2019 to develop the water cleanup plan. If you are interested in joining the partnership, contact the Ecology staff person listed below.

What you can do to help

Moulton Falls, Lucia Falls, Lewisville, and Paradise Point State Park are all great places to visit with family and friends in the East Fork Lewis River watershed. There are many things you can do to protect water quality while you are enjoying the great outdoors.

Bag your trash, pet waste

Take all trash with you when you leave, or place it in a secure dumpster. Leftover food and trash not only looks and smells bad, it invites wildlife and pests, which adds to possible bacteria problems in the water you have come to enjoy. Also, if you brought your favorite four-legged friends — make sure you clean up their messes. Pick up, bag, and trash pet waste.

Maintain septic systems, runoff, and livestock

If you own property along the river make sure you maintain your septic system. This not only saves you money it protects both groundwater aquifers and the river.

The East Fork Lewis is a large watershed, fed by creeks, wetlands, swales, and roadside ditches in the neighboring landscape. If you have small acreage or a small farm, it's essential to follow best practices for field management and livestock to help keep the river fishable and swimmable.