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Blackfoot Watershed TMDL Project

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 Blackfoot Watershed TMDL Project Home Page

Project Outreach     Completed TMDLs in the Blackfoot River Watershed


Page Contents:


 


 

Project Area, Included Streams, & TMDLs Written

 

Location

The Blackfoot Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Project Area encompasses the entire Blackfoot River watershed. The watershed lies in west central Montana, spanning portions of Lewis and Clark, Powell, and Missoula counties, and includes the communities of Lincoln, Helmville, Ovando, Clearwater, Greenough, and Potomac. The Blackfoot River forms northeast of Lincoln and flows westward until it joins the Clark Fork River near the towns of Milltown and Bonner, MT.

 

TMDLs Written

This project took place in 2013 and 2014 involving metals, nutrients, sediment, and temperature TMDL development, and resulted in 18 TMDLs. Table 1 below shows the TMDLs that were written, as well as their corresponding TMDL documents. Pre-2013 TMDL work was completed in the watershed, with 124 TMDLs written collectively in 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 (see the Completed TMDLs in the Blackfoot River Watershed page). For pre-2013 TMDL planning purposes, the watershed was divided into four TMDL Planning Areas: Blackfoot Headwaters, Middle Blackfoot, Lower Blackfoot, and Nevada Creek (see Map 1 below). Pre-2013 TMDL work was completed in each of these planning areas at varying stages, and documents were published accordingly. 

 

 

Map 1: Blackfoot Watershed TMDL Project Area

[Click on map to enlarge]

 

Map 1 shows the Blackfoot River watershed divided into the Blackfoot Headwaters (gray shaded area), Nevada Creek (tan shaded area), Middle Blackfoot (light green shaded area), and Lower Blackfoot (pink shaded area) TMDL planning areas. Together, they compose the Blackfoot Watershed TMDL Project Area.

 

 

Table 1: TMDLs Written as Part of the Blackfoot River Watershed Project

TMDL Planning Area

Stream & Location Description*

Metals TMDLs

Nutrient TMDLs

Sediment TMDLs

Temperature TMDLs

TMDL

Document

Blackfoot Headwaters

Sandbar Creek

Forks to mouth (Willow Creek)

 

 

Sediment

 

2014 Blackfoot Headwaters Planning Area Water Quality and Habitat Restoration Plan and TMDL for Sediment – Sandbar Creek

Nevada Creek

Douglas Creek

Headwaters to Murray Creek

Arsenic

 

 

 

2014 Middle Blackfoot – Nevada TMDL and Water Quality Improvement Plan Addendum

Douglas Creek

Murray Creek to mouth (Nevada – Cottonwood Creeks)

Arsenic

Iron

 

 

 

Nevada Creek

Headwaters to Nevada Lake

 

 

 

 

Nevada Lake

 

 

Sediment

 

Murray Creek

Headwaters to mouth (Douglas Creek), T12N R12W S6

Arsenic

 

 

 

Middle Blackfoot

Blackfoot River

Nevada Creek to Monture Creek

 

 

 

Temperature

Blackfoot River

Monture Creek to Belmont Creek

 

 

 

Temperature

Kleinschmidt Creek

Ward Creek to mouth (Rock Creek)

Arsenic

 

 

 

Lower Blackfoot

Camas Creek

1 mile above mouth to the mouth (Union Creek)

 

Total Nitrogen,

Total Phosphorus

 

 

2013 Lower Blackfoot Nutrients TMDLs and Water Quality Improvement Plan

Elk Creek

Headwaters to Stinkwater Creek

 

Nitrate,

Total Phosphorus

 

 

Union Creek

Headwaters to mouth (Blackfoot River)

 

Total Nitrogen,

Total Phosphorus

 

 

Washoe Creek

Headwaters to mouth (Union Creek)

 

Total Nitrogen,

Total Phosphorus

 

 

West Fork Ashby Creek

Headwaters to mouth (East Fork Ashby Creek)

 

Total Phosphorus

 

 

 

* For complete information on each stream’s probable impairments, causes, and sources, and to view full water quality assessment reports, see DEQ’s Clean Water Act Information Center and search by the applicable TMDL planning area name (Click on “Search,” choose the "By Location" tab, and then select the applicable planning area from the TMDL Planning Area (TPA) drop down list).


 

Project History & Monitoring Data

 

Specific information for each pollutant group is detailed in the sections below. All prior project status updates and information on stakeholder and public meetings ares still available on the Blackfoot Watershed TMDL Project Outreach page. 

 

Map 2: TMDLs Completed in the Blackfoot Headwaters, Middle Blackfoot, & Nevada Creek TMDL Planning Areas in 2014

(Click on map to enlarge)

 

Metals TMDLs for the Middle Blackfoot & Nevada Creek TMDL Planning Areas

 

Metals TMDLs completed for Douglas, Murray, and Kleinschmidt Creeks in 2014 (Table 1 above) were published as an addendum to the 2008 Middle Blackfoot – Nevada Creek TMDL document (see the Completed TMDLs in the Blackfoot River Watershed page). Note that previously completed TMDLs were not revised, only new TMDLs were completed. The addendum, "Middle Blackfoot - Nevada TMDL and Water Quality Improvement Plan Addendum," was approved by EPA in December of 2014  and is available on DEQ's Final TMDL Documents webpage.

 

Metals Water Quality Sampling Data & Impairment Determinations 

As part of this project, one high-flow (June) and one low-flow (July) water quality sampling event for metals took place in the Nevada Creek and Middle Blackfoot planning areas in 2013. All streams identified on the 2012 list of impaired waters as impaired for a metal were sampled (see Table 2 below). A table and map of sampling locations can be found in the 2013 metals sampling and analysis plan (1.76 MB) (note that this sampling plan also includes other TMDL project areas). All sampled streams were assessed for metals impairment following DEQ's Metals Assessment Method in 2013, and TMDLs were only written for streams determined to be impaired (Tables 1 and 2). Table 2 shows the metals impairments identified in the "2012 Water Quality Integrated Report" and the updated impairment determinations. Updated assessment results are reflected in the "2014 Water Quality Integrated Report."

 

Data collected in previous years indicated Elk and Union creeks in the Lower Blackfoot TMDL Planning Area were not impaired for metals, therefore additional sampling was not conducted on these streams, and metals TMDLs were not written for any streams in the Lower Blackfoot TMDL Planning Area.

 

Table 2: Metals Impairments & Updated Assessment Results

TMDL Planning Area

Stream & Location Description

Metals Impairments in the 2012 IR 1

Updated Impairment Status /

2014 IR Listings 2

Nevada Creek

Douglas Creek

Headwaters to Murray Creek

Arsenic

Arsenic

Douglas Creek

Murray Creek to the mouth (Nevada – Cottonwood Creeks)

Arsenic

Arsenic

Iron

Nevada Creek

Headwaters to Nevada Lake

Cadmium,

Mercury

Not Impaired (Delist)

Murray Creek

Headwaters to mouth (Douglas Creek)

Arsenic

Arsenic

Middle Blackfoot

Kleinschmidt Creek

1.5 miles upstream to mouth (North Fork Blackfoot River)

Arsenic,

Copper

Arsenic

1. Impairments included in the “2012 Water Quality Integrated Report” (IR).

2. Metals water quality assessments were performed by DEQ in 2013. Updated metals impairment determinations are reflected in the “2014 Water Quality Integrated Report.”

 

 

Temperature TMDLs for the Blackfoot River (Middle Blackfoot TMDL Planning Area)

Temperature TMDLs were written for the portion of the Blackfoot River between Nevada Creek and Belmont Creek (Map 2 above). This stretch of the river composes two waterbody segments (Table 1 above), resulting in two temperature TMDLs that were written as an addendum to the 2008 Middle Blackfoot - Nevada Creek TMDL document (see the Completed TMDLs in the Blackfoot River Watershed page). The addendum also includes the metals TMDLs discussed above and the sediment TMDL for Nevada Lake. The final  "Middle Blackfoot - Nevada TMDL and Water Quality Improvement Plan Addendum" approved by EPA in December 2014 is available on DEQ's Final TMDL Documents webpage.

 

Sufficient temperature data existed for the river and additional data was not collected during this project. 

 

 

Sediment TMDLs for Sandbar Creek & Nevada Lake

Sufficient sediment data existed for both Sandbar Creek and Nevada Lake, therefore additional data was not collected during this project. The Sandbar Creek sediment TMDL was written as an addendum to the 2004 "Blackfoot Headwaters Water Quality and Habitat Restroation Plan and TMDL for Sediment," and the Nevada Lake sediment TMDL is included in an addendum to the 2008 Middle Blackfoot – Nevada Creek TMDL document (see the Completed TMDLs in the Blackfoot River Watershed page). Please note that previous TMDLs were not revised; only new TMDLs were completed.

 

Both addendums are availabe on DEQ's Final TMDL Documents webpage:

  • "Blackfoot Headwaters Planning Area Water Quality and Habitat Restoration Plan and TMDL for Sediment Addendum - Sandbar Creek" approved by EPA in November 2014, and
  • "Middle Blackfoot - Nevada TMDL and Water Quality Improvement Plan Addendum" approved by EPA in December 2014. 

 

 

 

Nutrient TMDLs (Lower Blackfoot TMDL Planning Area)

 

Nutrient TMDLs were written for Camas, Elk, Union, Washoe, and West Fork Ashby creeks in 2014 (Table 1 above and Map 3 below) and published in the "Lower Blackfoot Nutrients TMDLs and Water Quality Improvement Plan" that was approved by EPA in September of 2013 and available on DEQ's Final TMDL Documents webpage. 

 

Map 3: Nutrient TMDLs Completed in 2013

(Click on map to enlarge)

Map of nutrient TMDLs completed in the Lower Blackfoot

 

Three rounds of nutrient sampling took place on multiple tributaries in 2012 (East & West Forks of Ashby Creek, Day Gulch, and Camas, Elk, and Washoe Creeks). A table and map of sampling locations can be found in the 2012 Lower Blackfoot River tributaries nutrient sampling and analysis plan. A spreadsheet of the 2012 data (~0.8 MB) (or in PDF format (0.1 MB)) is also available. Updated water quality assessments were performed in 2013 and TMDLs were written for those waterbodies found to be impaired for a nutrient (Table 1).

 

The Blackfoot River was listed as impaired for ammonia on the 2012 list of impaired waters, however the impairment was reassessed in 2013 and the river was determined not be impaired for ammonia and an ammonia TMDL was not written. Sufficient ammonia data had previously been collected and the river was not included in the 2012 sampling effort. Additionally, the impairment on the Blackfoot River was linked to the sediments from the reservoir, and those sediments have been excavated.

 

 


 

Project Contacts

 

 

Project Member *

Role / Organization

Email

Phone

Peter Brumm (EPA)

Metals Project Manager,

Nevada Lake Sediment Project Manager

brumm.peter@epa.gov

(406) 457-5029

Paul Kusnierz (DEQ)

Lower Blackfoot Nutrients Project Manager,

Blackfoot River Temperature Project Manager,

Sandbar Creek Sediment Project Manager

pkusnierz@mt.gov

(406) 444-4205 

Jennifer Schoonen

Blackfoot Challenge

blackfootchallenge.org

jennifer@blackfootchallenge.org

(406) 793-3900 or

(406) 549-2502

* This was a joint project between the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Montana Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 


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Page Released: June 22, 2012

Last Updated: July 30, 2015