Pierce County aims to improve Swan Creek water quality

Swan Creek residents and business owners can learn about an effort by Pierce County to improve the creek’s water quality at a community meeting next week.

Swan Creek is a valuable resource for the area and we want to make sure it remains that way for many years,” said Public Works and Utilities water quality manager Dan Wrye. “We want to share information about our plans with the community around the creek and explain why it’s important they are involved.”

Pierce County staff will share information about the development of a watershed characterization and action plan for Swan Creek at the meeting, which will be held on Weds., Feb. 19, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Mid-County Community Center, 10205 44th Ave. E., in Tacoma. Community members are encouraged to ask questions and become involved as stakeholders in the process.

For the watershed characterization, Pierce County will collect new data, conduct field observations, and review existing data to build a more complete picture of the creek’s health. This data will help create an action plan for improving Swan Creek, which will include strategies for maintaining and improving the creek’s health and re-evaluating previously identified projects based on the new information.

Earlier studies of the creek by the county and other agencies identified high levels of fecal coliform, nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the creek, which reduce the quality of habitat for fish and wildlife. While these studies provided important information, the goal of this project is to understand the root cause of the problems and address them in a cost effective manner.

The watershed characterization and action plan will be completed by the end of this year. Funding for this project comes from a Washington State Department of Ecology grant. More information is available online at piercecountywa.org/swancreek.

Swan Creek is also part of the county’s Raise the Grade program which identifies water bodies with poor water quality. The county then works with the community to develop solutions.