West Fork Carson River Multiple Pollutants Vision Project

The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board) has identified that water quality in the West Fork Carson River (Alpine County, CA) is impacted by multiple pollutants including chloride, nitrate, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfates, total dissolved solids, turbidity and fecal bacteria. For these parameters, data collected by the Water Board’s Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) and other stakeholders shows that concentrations in the waterbody exceed the water quality objectives set by the Water Board to protect beneficial uses of water related to human water contact (REC-1) and cold freshwater habitat (COLD). Assessment of this data requires that the West Fork Carson River be included on the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 303(d) list of impaired waters. Placement of the waterbody on the 303(d) list requires the development of a regulatory action plan to address the impairments to the waters of the West Fork Carson River.

In 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) announced the new Long-Term Vision for Assessment, Restoration, and Protection under the Clean Water Act Section 303(d) Program (The Vision). The Vision encourages States to develop a prioritization framework with which to attain water quality restoration and protection, and encourages the use of alternative approaches, in addition to TMDLs, where such approaches are better suited to implement priority actions that achieve water quality goals.

In 2015, the Water Board identified the West Fork Carson River as one of two “Vision Watersheds” to be addressed through the development and implementation of a Vision Project Plan (Vision Plan). The West Fork Carson River Vision Plan will guide water quality restoration and protection efforts in the West Fork Carson watershed. Collaboration with stakeholders and local landowners in the watershed will be integral the Vision Plan success.

There have been four stakeholder forums held to support the development of the WFCR Vision Plan. Recordings of those meetings are available at the Alpine Watershed Group’s West Fork Carson River Vision Plan webpage

Stream reaches impacted by fecal bacteria, Bishop Creek
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