Department of Ecology seeking public comment on water quality changes
Department of Ecology is seeking public comment on updates to state water quality standards that would set requirements for the levels of oxygen and fine sediment in streams and rivers.
According to Ecology, the changes are meant to help support salmon recovery, specifically salmon eggs and young fish.
“Salmon need cool, clean water to survive,” and Ecology press release said. “That includes enough oxygen and healthy habitat.”
When fine sediment settles on salmon spawning gravel, it can block water flow through the gravel which deprives fish eggs and larvae of oxygen. Currently, the state’s standards do not directly address fine sediment, so Ecology is proposing to clarify what fine sediment protection means.
The draft rule says water bodies “shall not contain fine sediment from anthropogenic sources at levels that cause adverse effects on aquatic life, their reproduction, or habitat.”
Fine sediment is defined as sediment smaller than 2 millimeters.
Changes to oxygen requirements Ecology is proposing include increase the required amount of oxygen in the water from 9.5 mg/L to 10 mg/L for salmon habitat. The draft also includes adding a dissolved oxygen and a dissolved oxygen saturation requirement of 90%, which could be used in lieu of the milligrams per liter measurement.
Source : tdn.com