The Washington State Department of Agriculture’s (WSDA) Dairy Nutrient Management Program monitors fecal coliform bacteria in the Miller Creek region of the Lower Stillaguamish Basin, east of Marine Drive and west of Silvana. The area is home to seven dairies, some non-dairy agriculture, and rural residences.
Since 2014, the program has visited dairies and asked for help in cleaning up the watershed. WSDA collects samples at sites downstream from the dairies. If results show high bacteria levels, further work is done to track the source of the bacteria. If a dairy is identified as the source, WSDA works with the dairy to find the cause and fix the problem.
Extensive sampling by WSDA has led to actions taken by dairy producers to protect water quality. Dairies have made improvements by protecting a vulnerable stretch of ditch with a culvert, and redirecting clean water through gutters to avoid runoff through manured areas.
Even so, sampling continues to show elevated bacteria levels in some areas. WSDA continues to work with dairies and refers non-dairy sources to the appropriate agencies. This effort in identifying sources of pollution protects the downstream recreational water uses and commercial shellfish harvesting areas.
Select the map below to view WSDA sample locations and local watershed improvement projects through 2014-2015.