Sampling Locations

CWA §106 Sampling Locations

Presently, the Tribe's water quality monitoring program, under U.S. EPA's CWA §106 program, includes two sampling locations:

Reservation Wetland

The sampling location for this site is at the northeast corner of the Table Bluff Reservation, in a seasonal wetland.  Until March 2006, surface wetland waters were collected for samples; in March, two shallow-water monitoring wells were installed in the wetland and serve as the sample collection sites.  The original site was sampled for physical parameters every one to two weeks during wet seasons; now the sites are sampled every two weeks throughout the year.  The sonde is deployed for approximately fifteen minutes, with a 3-5 minute equilibration period and an 8-10 minute sampling period with four-second intervals. Grab sampling is performed annually.  Surrounding land uses that could potentially result in contamination of the wetland include agricultural production of beef cattle and hay, and the adjacent management of the reservation’s community septic leach field.  The potential contaminants to be detected in the wetland would include nitrates and phosphates, as well as fecal coliform.

Other Sampling Locations

The Tribe would like to include into the existing CWA §106 water quality monitoring program sites stretching from the Eel River estuary to Humboldt Bay.  The Tribe currently monitors the majority of the sites listed below in order to make data available to the publics and collaborate with water quality experts at Humboldt State University's (HSU) Chemistry Department and the Cental and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS).  The data collected has proven to be of significant value as there is a lack of continuous water quality monitoring in Humboldt Bay.  Currently, a computer model is being made that will take into account the physical parameters that control circulation in Humboldt Bay and predict the way light is transmitted through the water column.  These water quality parameters can affect the way that light is transmitted through the water column, which is especially important to the productivity of eel grass and oysters in Humboldt Bay.  The amount of suspended sediments, nutrients, and algae are primary water quality concerns to oyster farmers and advocates for eel grass habitat as Humboldt Bay is resident to ~40% of the eelgrass in California and yields 50% -70% of the oysters sold in California.

McNulty Slough

The sampling location for this site is at the seaward side of the tide-gate located just south of McNulty Lane, adjacent to the old Wiyot Rancheria.  The site is sampled for physical parameters every two weeks during mid and high tides; the sonde is deployed for approximately fifteen minutes, with a 3-5 minute equilibration period and an 8-10 minute sampling period with four-second intervals.  Grab sampling is performed annually.  The water quality at this site is threatened by historical solid waste/hazardous waste accumulation and burn/ash pits, surrounding agricultural land use for dairy and beef cattle, illicit methamphetamine production, failing residential septic systems, non-operational vehicle storage and/or abandonment, and improperly abandoned residential wells.  Prior to abandoning the well that supplied the Tribe’s drinking water up until April 2010, it was possible that pollutants carried into McNulty Slough could have impacted the water quality.  Potential contaminants at this site include fecal coliform, nitrates and phosphates, pesticides, metals, and petroleum hydrocarbons.

Indian Island

The sampling location for this site is adjacent to one of the old pilings between old industrial site on the Tribe's land and the middle channel of north Humboldt Bay.  Up until January 2006, the site was sampled for physical parameters every two weeks during mid tides; the sonde was deployed for approximately fifteen minutes, with a 3-5 minute equilibration period and an 8-10 minute sampling period with four-second intervals.  Since January 2006, long-term deployment methods have been used at the site - except for periods of site construction (which pose a hazard to the sonde) and equipment malfunction; during these periods, descrete sampling methods identical to the methods used prior to January 2006 are used.  Grab sampling is performed annually.  The Tribe’s land on Indian Island, historically the site of an old dry-dock facility and foundry, is currently undergoing a Brownfields cleanup project for metals and dioxin contamination.  Potential contaminants include metals, dioxin, PCBs, and suspended solids.

Humboldt Bay Entrance

The sampling location for this site is inside the Bay, just northeast of the east edge of the north jetty. The site is sampled for physical parameters every two weeks during tha last hour of the incoming tide; the sonde is deployed for approximately fifteen minutes, with a 3-5 minute equilibration period and an 8-10 minute sampling period with four-second intervals. Grab sampling is performed annually.  The bay is on the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s (NCRWQCB) “watch list” for impairment due to sediments; long shore currents bring sediment from the Eel River watershed into Humboldt Bay; additionally, several of the bay’s tributary streams are 303(d) listed for sediment impairment.  This monitoring site would determine water quality coming into the bay from outside the Humboldt Bay watershed.  Potential contaminants include suspended solids.

Mad River Slough

The sampling location for this site is at the Samoa Boulevard Bridge over the Slough.  The site is sampled for physical parameters every two weeks during the outging tide; the sonde is deployed for approvimately fifteen minutes, with a 3-5 minute equilibration period and an 8-10 minute sampling period with four-second intervals.  Grab sampling is performed annually.  This site is near operational lumber mills with known historic dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination (Humboldt Bay is presently 303(d) listed for impairment due to dioxin and PCB contamination) and dairy cattle ranching.  Potential contaminants include fecal coliform, nitrates and phosphates, dioxin, and PCBs.

Eel River Estuary

The sampling location for this site is at the "Million Dollar Bridge" on Cannibal Island Rd. in the Eel River estuary.  The site is sampled for physical parameters every two weeks during a period within 3 hours of low tide; the sonde is deployed for approvimately fifteen minutes, with a 3-5 minute equilibration period and an 8-10 minute sampling period with four-second intervals. Grab sampling is performed annually.  The Eel River lower main stem and delta is 303(d) listed for sediment impairment and water temperature.  Tribally owned lands are surrounded by landowners utilizing their lands for timber production and dairy cattle ranching.  Other threats to water quality include, but are not limited to, failing legacy logging roads, exposed hillsides from timber mismanagement, illegal diversions, nutrient overloads from large, illegal marijuana grows, NPS runoff from surrounding urban areas, and a geologically unstable river canyon.  In the lower Eel estuary, potential contaminants include fecal coliform, nitrates and phosphates, and suspended solids.

Hookton Slough

The sampling location for this site is at the boat ramp access at Hookton Slough Wildlife Area in southern Humboldt Bay.  The site is sampled for physical parameters every two weeks during the outging tide; the sonde is deployed for approvimately fifteen minutes, with a 3-5 minute equilibration period and an 8-10 minute sampling period with four-second intervals.  Grab sampling is performed annually.  This site is near the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge (HBNWR) and is a main waterway for migrating salmonid species that utilize the newly restored Salmon Creek.  Surrounding land uses are dominated by dairy cattle ranching but other threats include NPS runoff from surrounding urban areas.  Potential contaminants include fecal coliform, nitrates and phosphate, and suspended solids.

Data Management/Sharing and Collaboration

To disseminate the data collected from the water quality monitoring program, the Tribe collaborates with the local branch of CICORE, the Center for Integrative Coastal Observation, Research, and Education, sited at Humboldt State University.  CICORE is maintaining an internet server that houses water quality data for Humboldt Bay and the surrounding coast.  The sharing of collected data is a powerful tool for those interested in protecting and enhancing local natural resources. The data collected from the Tribe's monitoring program are available for review and download on the CICORE website.

The Tribe also shares its water quality data with the US Environmental Protection Agency, via the national STORET program.

Every year, the Tribe generates a water quality assessment based on the data collected via the water quality monitoring program and other available data.