Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Bear River Basin/Malad River Subbasin

Subbasin at a Glance

Hydrologic Unit Codes 16010102, 16010201, 16010202, 16010204
Size Over 2,800 square miles (1,792,000 acres) in Idaho
Water Bodies with EPA-Approved TMDLs (Category 4a)

Alder Creek, Alexander Reservoir, Battle Creek, Bear River, Beaver Creek, Black Canyon, Burton Creek, Campbell Creek, Cub River, Dairy Creek, Deep Creek, Deep Creek Reservoir, Densmore Creek, Devil Creek, Dry Creek, Eightmile Creek, Elkhorn Creek, Evans Creek, Fivemile Creek, Indian Mill Creek, Little Malad River, Lower and Middle Pearl Creeks, Lower Bailey Creek, Lower Cottonwood Creek, Lower Skinner Creek, Malad River, Maple Creek, Mink Creek, North and South Fork Skinner Creeks, North, South, and Lower Stauffer Creeks, Oneida Narrows Reservoir, Ovid Creek, Preuss Creek, Right Hand Fork Georgetown Creek, Sheep Creek, Skinner Creek, Smith Creek, Snowslide Creek, Soda and Lower Soda Creeks, Soda Creek Reservoir, South Wilson Creek, Stauffer Creek, Strawberry Creek, Sulpher Canyon, Susan Hollow, Thomas Fork, Trout Creek, Upper and Lower Georgetown Creeks, Upper and Middle Wright Creeks, Upper Bailey Creek, Weston and Upper Weston Creeks, Whiskey Creek, Williams Creek, Worm Creek and tributaries, Wright Creek

Beneficial Uses Affected

Cold water aquatic life, salmonid spawning, contact recreation
Major Land Uses Agriculture, range, forest, urban
Date Approved by EPA June 2006
Date Addendum Approved by EPA

September 2013
EPA Approval Letter

Subbasin Characteristics

The Bear River spans over 550 miles, draining a 470,000-acre watershed that encompasses parts of Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho. The river begins and ends in Utah. These documents address only the Idaho portion of the Bear River and its Idaho tributaries.

2006 Subbasin Assessment and TMDL

Thirty-nine stream segments in the Bear River Basin were listed on the Idaho 1998 §303(d) list. Several streams in the Bear River Basin enter Utah from Idaho and thus must comply with any TMDLs established by Utah. The recommended pollutant targets in this document match or exceed state of Utah targets for those streams.

Historically, Bear River water bodies sustained several beneficial uses. Current information suggests some beneficial uses, such as cold water aquatic life and salmonid spawning, are impaired and are not fully supported in several subbasin streams.

Several potential sources of pollutants have been identified in the Bear River Basin, including agriculture, livestock grazing, changes in the natural hydrograph (e.g., water diversion), degraded stream channels and banks, roads, mining, recreation, mass wasting (e.g., landslides), and wastewater treatment plants.

Data indicate North, St. Charles, and Maple Creeks are meeting their beneficial uses for cold water aquatic life. It is recommended that North and St. Charles Creeks be removed from future §303(d) lists. Although Maple Creek supports cold water aquatic life, it has high levels of bacteria so a bacteria TMDL was developed. Meadow and Samaria Creeks are intermittent streams with optimum flows less than one cubic foot per second; it is suggested that these streams be removed from future §303(d) lists.

TMDLs were not developed for Dry Creek, Preuss Creek, Snowslide Canyon, Co-Op Creek, Strawberry Creek, and Dairy Creek due to a lack of data. Data sufficient to develop load analyses for each of these streams should be collected in 2006 for completion of a TMDL in 2007.

Several stream segments are listed for flow or habitat alteration. EPA considers certain unnatural conditions such as flow and habitat alteration, that do not result from the discharge of specific pollutants, as "pollution." TMDLs are not required for water bodies impaired by pollution, but not specific pollutants; therefore, TMDLs were not established for flow or habitat alteration.

Data imply there are other (unlisted) water bodies with impaired beneficial uses due to high levels of phosphorus and suspended solids. TMDLs were prepared for some of these streams and others are recommended for inclusion on future §303(d) lists.

2006 TMDL: Streams and Pollutants for Which TMDLs Were Developed*

Alder Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Baily Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Battle Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Bear River
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Bear River Old Channel
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Burton Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Cottonwood Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Cub River
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Deep Creek (HUC 16010202)
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Deep Creek (HUC 16010204)
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Densmore Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Devil Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Eightmile Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Elkhorn Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Fivemile Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Georgetown Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Little Malad River
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Malad River
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Maple Creek
Bacteria
Mink Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Ovid Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Pearl Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Sheep Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Skinner Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Smith Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Soda Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Stauffer Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Sulphur Canyon Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Thomas Fork
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids, total nitrogen
Trout Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Weston Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Whiskey Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Williams Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Worm Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids
Wright Creek
Total phosphorus, total suspended solids

*Includes instances where a load is allocated but a load reduction is not needed to meet the allocation.

2013 Addendum

This document was developed to address five water bodies in the Bear River Basin on Idaho’s §303(d) list that were not addressed in the original Bear River Basin TMDL (approved in June 2006) due to a lack of data. Adequate data have since become available, resulting in the need for TMDLs to control excess sediment in Dry, Preuss, Snowslide, and Strawberry Creeks and to control excess nutrients in Dairy, Dry, and Strawberry Creeks. The goal of the actions is to restore the water bodies to conditions supporting their beneficial uses: cold water aquatic life, salmonid spawning, and primary contact recreation. In addition, in light of recent data, the lower and upper segments of Co-Op Creek are removed from the state’s list of water bodies impaired by excess sediment and nutrients and the lower segment relisted for flow alteration only.

Additionally, this addendum addresses discharge allocations for six municipal wastewater dischargers in the Bear River Basin. Based on recent data, it establishes limits for Georgetown’s discharge of total phosphorus and total suspended solids and revises the total phosphorus wasteload allocations for the Montpelier, Soda Springs, Grace, Preston, and Franklin wastewater treatment plants.

2013 Addendum: Streams and Pollutants for Which TMDLs Were Developed

Beaver Creek
   Sediment
Dairy Creek
Nutrients
Dry Creek
Sediment, nutrients
Preuss Creek
Sediment
Snowslide Creek
Sediment
Strawberry Creek
Sediment, nutrients

Subbasin Documents


Staff Contacts

Water Quality Manager
Lynn Van Every
DEQ Pocatello Regional Office
444 Hospital Way #300
Pocatello, ID 83201
(208) 236-6160
lynn.vanevery@deq.idaho.gov

Related Pages

Frequently Asked Questions about Subbasin Assessments and TMDLs

TMDL Implementation Plans

Table of Subbasin Assessments, TMDLs, Implementation Plans, and Five-Year Reviews