Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Jim Ford Creek Subbasin

Subbasin at a Glance

Hydrologic Unit Code 17060306
Size 65,838 acres
§303(d) Listed Stream Segments Jim Ford Creek and Grasshopper Creek
Beneficial Uses Affected Primary contact recreation, secondary contact recreation, agricultural water supply, cold water biota, domestic water supply, salmonid spawning (below waterfall)
Pollutants of Concern Sediment, temperature, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, pathogens, ammonia, oil and grease, habitat modification, flow
Major Land Uses Timber production, grazing, recreation, dryland agriculture, urban, hydropower
Date Approved by U.S. EPA June 2000
EPA Approval Letter

Overview

Jim Ford Creek is a third order tributary of the Clearwater River in the southern part of Clearwater County, Idaho. It drains a 65,838-acre watershed that has two distinct portions. In the upper portion, Jim Ford Creek flows through rolling forested uplands and the Weippe prairie until it reaches the City of Weippe. Below Weippe, the creek enters into a narrow steep basalt canyon nearly 14 miles long. A 65-foot waterfall at the top of the canyon restricts fish passage upstream.

In 1994 Jim Ford Creek was classified as a high priority water quality limited segment under §303(d) of the Clean Water Act from its headwaters to the confluence with the Clearwater River. Grasshopper Creek, a tributary to Jim Ford Creek, was also classified as a water quality limited segment in 1994.

Three point sources are permitted to discharge in the Jim Ford Creek watershed. The primary nonpoint sources of pollutants in the Jim Ford Creek watershed are grazing, timber harvest activities, non-irrigated croplands, urban runoff, land development activities, and hydropower.

Key Findings

Existing data indicate fine sediment is not degrading the water quality of Jim Ford Creek; therefore, a TMDL was not written for fine sediment. However, a channel stability analysis and habitat survey indicated coarse sediment is impairing salmonid spawning and rearing in lower Jim Ford Creek, so a TMDL was developed for coarse sediment. A temperature TMDL was established to protect chinook salmon and steelhead spawning and other cold water biota.

The presence of visible nuisance algae growth and low dissolved oxygen levels indicate that Jim Ford Creek is impaired as a result of excess nutrients. Nuisance algae growths are present in the upper reaches of Jim Ford Creek, and low dissolved oxygen levels are present throughout the watershed. The nutrient and dissolved oxygen TMDLs were combined. An assumption was made that by meeting the instream nutrient target the dissolved oxygen water quality standard will be achieved as well.

A bacteria TMDL was written to protect primary contact recreation. No TMDL for secondary contact recreation was necessary due to low bacteria levels during the secondary contact recreation period (October through April). Data indicated a TMDL for ammonia was not needed. The nutrient effects of ammonia were considered in the nutrient TMDL.

Limited sampling for oil and grease was conducted in 1998. None of the samples had a measurable amount of oil and grease. Given these results and because a regulatory framework exists to address oil and grease problems, a TMDL for oil and grease was not developed.

Subwatersheds and Pollutants for Which TMDLs Were Developed

Grasshopper Creek
Coarse sediment, temperature, total inorganic nitrogen, total phosphorus, bacteria
Heywood
Coarse sediment, temperature, total inorganic nitrogen, total phosphorus, bacteria
Jim Ford Creek
Coarse sediment, temperature, total inorganic nitrogen, total phosphorus
Jim Ford Creek (Mainstem)
Coarse sediment, temperature
Kamiah
Coarse sediment, temperature
Miles/Wilson
Coarse sediment, total inorganic nitrogen, total phosphorus, bacteria
Weippe (Downstream)
Coarse sediment, temperature, total inorganic nitrogen, total phosphorus
Weippe (Upstream)
Coarse sediment, total inorganic nitrogen, total phosphorus
Winter Creek
Coarse sediment, temperature, total inorganic nitrogen, total phosphorus, bacteria

Subbasin Document