Water Pollution Prevention Program (W.P.P.)

Owyhee River Site

The primary mission of the Shoshone-Paiute Water Pollution Prevention (WPP) program is to protect the Water Resources on lands owned by the Shoshone Paiute Tribes. These lands are the Duck Valley Indian Reservation (DVIR) and lands recently acquired south of the DVIR. The Water resources are Surface Water and Groundwater.

The Tribes WPP program is supported by CWA 106 funds administered through the U.S. Environmental Protection Program. Hence two of the primary goals of the program is to satisfy the goals set forth by the Clean Water Act and to satisfy administrative goals of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes. Section 101 of the CWA states “The objective of this Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and Biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” Likewise, the goal of the Tribes is to manage its resources so that the water bodies on tribal lands are fully supporting designated or existing beneficial uses in accordance with the Tribes Water Quality Standards.

Monitoring is a fundamental activity of the WPP program. The program currently gathers biological (Aquatic Insects as biotic indicators), chemical (Water Quality samples that are analyzed for chemistry) and Physical habitat (ecological) assessment data and information. The program has upgraded the Quality Assurance Project plan documents for Surface Water monitoring and Bio-assessment that have been approved of by EPA in 2012. The program has recently set up monitoring stations on the Owyhee River and other water-bodies to collect continuous (15 minute intervals) water quality (dissolved oxygen, pH and Specific conductance) data, temperature data (TIDBIT devices) and determination of flow discharge (simple staff gages).

The Tribal WPP program conducts Bio-assessment (Biological assessment) to support the Biological aspect of the CWA’s objective and assess the streams and Owyhee River using Biological indicators. Aquatic insects are collected annually from 12 locations and analyzed. The insects identified can be classified into 6 metrics. A metric is a measurement of biological condition. The metrics that were calibrated by Tetra Tech. Inc. for Tribal surface water’s are Coleoptera taxa, percent Plecoptera, percent intolerant individuals, percent Chironomidae, percent clingers and collector taxa. The metrics are summed and the result is the Stream condition index (SCI). The value of the SCI corresponds to excellent, good, fair or poor. Hence this aspect of Bio-assessment indicates how supportive a water-body is of the aquatic life beneficial use. In the summer of 2012, The WPP program also collected Bio-mass for periphyton analysis. The use of this Biotic assemblage as an additional Biological indictor is in the stage of development.

The Water Pollution Prevention program is also involved in protecting human health as well as the ecological environment. Fish have been collected on the three reservoirs and analyzed for Mercury concentration. There are plans for fish sampling events in the future as well. Other WPP activities include working with state and federal agencies as well as industry and stakeholders in the clean-up of the closed Rio Tinto mine and other events that have the potential to negatively impact human health.

The program works with others to achieve results. These include other tribal programs as well as the administration and Tribal Council. The government entities that the WPP program works on are projects for Federal and State. Professional consultants contribute to the success of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribal Water Pollution Prevention program.


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