Official Government Website

Bear River Basin/Malad River Subbasin

Data Details
Hydrologic Unit Codes 16010102, 16010201, 16010202, 16010204
Size 1,290 square miles (825,600 acres)
Water Bodies with EPA-Approved TMDLs (Category 4a) Boise River, Lake Lowell
Beneficial Uses Affected Cold water aquatic life, salmonid spawning, domestic and agricultural water supply, primary and secondary contact recreation
Major Land Uses Range, grazing, forest, agriculture, urban
Date Approved by EPA January 2000 Approval Letter
Date Approved by EPA Subbasin assessment only; not subject to EPA approval
Date Sediment and Bacteria Addendum Approved by EPA June 2008 Approval Letter
Date Lake Lowell TMDL Addendum Approved by EPA December 2010 Approval Letter
Date 2015 Sediment and Bacteria Addendum Approved by EPA September 2015 Approval Letter
Date 2015 Total Phosphorus Addendum Approved by EPA December 2015 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 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 1 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

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

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

Streams Pollutants
Beaver Creek Sedimen
Dairy Creek Nutrients
Dry Creek Sediment, nutrients
Preuss Creek Sedimen
Snowslide Creek Sedimen
Strawberry Creek Sediment, nutrients

2008 Addemdum

This is an addendum to the Lower Boise River TMDL for sediment and bacteria approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency on January 25, 2000. The addendum provided the Avimor Development and the City of Kuna, Idaho, with wasteload allocations for
total suspended solids and E. coli bacteria for a discharge to Dry Creek and Indian Creek, respectively. DEQ also outlines in this addendum the manner in which the sediment reserved for growth shall be allocated to new and existing sources in the
future. The bolded changes in the addendum are made on pages 61, 62, 64, and 72 of the original document. Table 15 was revised in June 2012.

Subbasin Documents

This accordion will not appear on the screen

DEQ Pocatello Regional Office
444 Hospital Way, #300
Pocatello, ID 83201
Ph: (208) 236-6160
Fax: (208) 236-6168
Toll Free: (888) 655-6160

ver: 3.4.0 | last updated:
Jump back to top of page button