Watershed Information & Education

Newman Lake is listed on the 303(d) list for exceeding the state’s surface water standards for total phosphorus levels. This excess nutrient problem has caused extreme algal blooms which have included noxious blue green algae. These blooms decrease dissolved oxygen, limit fish/aquatic habitat, and increase nutrient recycling. As a result, Newman Lake’s desirability for recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, boating and water-skiing is greatly reduced.

Under a Grant from the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), the Newman Lake Flood Control Zone District, in cooperation with Washington State University and Watershed Monitoring Volunteers from the greater Newman Lake area, used several methods of data gathering and recording to achieve a greater understanding of nutrient input sources and potential management strategies. The Watershed Monitoring and Education Grant, which was a major funding source for this project, provided a useful tool for continued education and future considerations.

The Newman Lake Watershed inlets, the focus of this project, contribute approximately 35-40% of phosphorus into the Lake. Much of the nutrient input is derived from the delivery of nutrient-laden sediments into said inlets. This is largely the result of erosion derived from improperly designed roads and culverts, new construction and maintenance activities conducted without employing proper Best Management Practices (BMPs), and the use of off-road vehicles in or near streams and drainages. Historical channelization of watershed streams can also cause a loss of connectivity with floodplains, which are an important nutrient “sink”. Sediments and nutrients are dropped from suspension as water velocities decrease when the stream goes over bank into the floodplain. Channelized streams also have a tendency to incise and degrade, thus introducing greater bedload into the Lake and further disconnecting from established floodplains.

With knowledge of these potential inputs, this project addressed the nutrient problem by taking additional measures to assess and control external forces of phosphorous. A vast majority of the work involved the formation of a Watershed Monitoring Plan that included the formation of a citizen-based volunteer monitoring program, interaction with Mountain View Middle School, and increased public awareness campaigning carried out through community meetings, the creation of the NLFCZD website, and the semi-annual distribution of the Newman Lake Newsletter.

The following links represent the culmination of the research and analysis of the Watershed Monitoring and Education Project. Special thanks are greatly deserved to Ecology, Washington State University, and the numerous Watershed Volunteers from the greater Newman Lake community. This effort would not have been possible without the invaluable help of such varied agencies, institutions and private citizens.