Surface Water Health
Watershed Health Monitoring Data
Pierce County has a surface water quality monitoring program to assess watershed health. A watershed is an area of land where all the water that is under it or on it drains to the same place. The four major watersheds in Pierce County that drain to Puget Sound are: Clarks/Cover; Key Peninsula-Gig Harbor; Nisqually and Puyallup. Pierce County regularly monitors water quality in all four watersheds. Want to know where the water from your neighborhood goes? Check out Where Does Your Water Go.
Pierce County's Surface Water Management (SWM) conducts monthly water quality monitoring at over 50 streams. The data is used to monitor water quality trends over time; more information can be found here. SWM also collects stream insects (macroinvinterbrates) from over 30 streams. The types of insects found in a stream is a way to determine the overall stream health. For more information, click here.
The monitoring section helps ensure Pierce County meets the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase I Municipal Stormwater Permit. SWM collects local data to measure whether water quality is getting better or worse and identify patterns in healthy and impaired Puget Lowland streams and Puget Sound urban shoreline areas. SWM also collects data for NPDES driven modeling and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL
Pierce County conducts shellfish beach sampling and coordinates with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and other partners on programs to keep pollutants out of shellfish beds.
Web-Based Tool to Monitor Stream Health Data
Access stream and shellfish monitoring data we collect and analyze.
- Instructions for accessing the data portal and glossary
- Access the data portal
- Washington State water quality standards on freshwater and saltwater
How Streams Get Their Grades
We issue an annual Surface Water Health Report Card on the health of surface water quality in each major watershed. The report card grades a number of streams on a scale of "A" to "F" based on a combination of WQI scores and BIBI scores. These factors combined provide a realistic overall understanding of stream health, and help direct our clean up efforts. The report card also includes an assessment of some lakes in the county.
Interim Water Quality Manager
Phone: (253) 798-2467
Fax: (253) 798-4225
7:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
2702 S 42nd St, Ste 201
Tacoma, WA 98409-7322