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Feb 24

Local Water Quality - Muck and Tanwax Creeks

Posted on February 24, 2020 at 3:02 PM by Allan Warren

Updated Watersheds Map
"The Nisqually Watershed drains land from the Nisqually River and includes the communities of Ashford, Elbe, Mineral, Eatonville, McKenna, Roy, Yelm, Fort Lewis and portions of Graham, Lacey, DuPont, and Rainier.” (Quote from the Nisqually River Council website)

Muck Creek for webVolunteer Monitor: David Friscia Muck Creek is located in the Nisqually watershed. It flows approximately 20 miles from headwaters in a broad prairie near Graham to its confluence with Lacamas and South Creeks. Muck Creek supports runs of coho, chum, and steelhead salmon. Site 20.0 is located at the Morse Wildlife Preserve.

Tanwax for webVolunteer Monitor: Daniel Miszewski Tanwax Creek flows approximately 14 miles from its headwaters near Lake Kapowsin through a series of lakes including, Tanwax Lake, to the confluence with the Nisqually River. Coho, chum, pink, and kokanee salmon are known to use Tanwax Creek. Site 10.1 is located at the 84th Ave E. crossing in Eatonville.

Volunteer collected data from 2019 for dissolved oxygen and water temperature is show above. The dissolved oxygen state standard for Muck Creek is ≥9.5 mg/l and the water temperature standard is ≤16°C. Muck Creek did not meet the dissolved oxygen standard for the majority of sampling times. The site tends to be marshy with slow flow, plus the monitor noted a beaver dam built in 2019. Slow flowing water tends to hold less dissolved oxygen. Muck Creek also failed to meet the water temperature standard one time during the summer when air temperatures are warmer. The monitor also noted duckweed and reed canarygrass at the site.

The dissolved oxygen state standard for Tanwax Creek is ≥8.0 mg/l and the water temperature standard is ≤17.5°C. Tanwax Creek did not meet the dissolved oxygen standard for the majority of sampling times. The site is also marshy and slow flowing. The monitor noted bird and wildlife activity. Reed canarygrass and algae are also present at this site.

Both of these sites experienced low dissolved oxygen due to site conditions such as marshy land. Sometimes our stream sites will not meet state standards due to natural land morphology. This is not an indication of negative impacts on the land, but helps us understand the broader context of stream health.

STREAM TEAM is a volunteer water quality monitoring program operating in Pierce County since 1994. Monitors measure pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, turbidity, water temperature, flow and record habitat observations on prioritized sites. 

Goals include:  
  • Watershed education 
  • Involve the community in citizen science monitoring 
  • Increase available water quality data 
  • Identify areas of concern 
2019 Stream Team Reports can be found here: PierceCD.org/248/Stream-Monitoring
If you are interested in joining Stream Team to make a difference in your local watershed, contact Belinda at belindap@piercecd.org.