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Musselshell Watershed TMDL Development

Page history last edited by Christina Staten 2 months ago Saved with comment

Main Page          Monitoring and Assessment          TMDL Development          Restoration and Protection

 

Wetlands          Outreach          Contact Information


Page Contents:



 

Project Purpose

The state of Montana monitors its waters and conducts water quality assessments to determine if waterbodies are supporting their designated uses. Waters that are determined not to be supporting their designated uses are called impaired and are placed on Montana’s list of impaired waters. Impaired waterbodies and their associated probable causes and sources of impairment are published within Montana’s biennial Water Quality Integrated Report.

 

Montana’s state law, and the federal Clean Water Act that was established by Congress in 1972, require development of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for all waterbodies impaired by a pollutant (e.g., metals, nutrients, sediment, temperature, etc.). A TMDL is the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards (think of a TMDL as a loading rate). TMDL development includes four main steps:

  • Characterizing the impaired waterbody’s existing water quality conditions and comparing those conditions to Montana’s water quality standards. During this step, measurable target values are set to help evaluate the stream’s condition in relation to the applicable water quality standards.

  • Quantifying the magnitude of the pollutant contribution from each significant source

  • Determining the total allowable load of the pollutant to the waterbody (the TMDL)

  • Allocating the total allowable pollutant load into individual loads for each significant source (referred to as load allocations for nonpoint sources and wasteload allocations for point sources)

 

The TMDL planning process for this project incorporates a combination of water quality sampling and hydrologic modeling to further identify and quantify metals, nutrient, sediment, and temperature contributions from all significant sources to the streams identified in the table below. For more information about the development of TMDLs, please see the What is a TMDL? page on this site or download our pamphlet: Understanding the TMDL Process.

 

 

Steps for Completing a TMDL Document

The Musselshell TMDLs are being completed in a series of TMDL documents, with E. coli TMDLs being completed first in 2021. The remaining TMDLs are not yet scheduled. The below steps will be followed for producing each of the TMDL documents. 

 

  1. A stakeholder group is formed to work with DEQ in an advisory capacity throughout this project (contact Lou Volpe if you would like to be added to our email distribution list for project updates)
  2. DEQ drafts the TMDL document
  3. Stakeholders review and comment on the draft document (see table below)
  4. DEQ works with stakeholders to address their comments in the document
  5. A public comment period is held to solicit public input on the draft document (a notice will be posted on the Project Outreach page)
  6. DEQ prepares responses to written public comments and makes final document edits
  7. DEQ submits the TMDL document to the U.S. EPA in Denver for approval
  8. Once EPA approval is received, DEQ publishes a final TMDL document and notifies stakeholders the document is available
  9. DEQ works with local stakeholders to implement the water quality improvement recommendations contained in the TMDL document

 

 

Draft TMDL Documents

There are currently no TMDL documents under development for the Musselshell. Draft TMDL documents will be posted for stakeholder review in the table below as they become available. Following stakeholder review, a public comment period will be held and stakeholders will also have the opportunity to comment on the draft document during the public comment period. A notice will be posted in the table below and on the Project Outreach page when public comment begins. 

 

 

Document

Contents

Date Posted

Submit Comments To:

Stakeholder Review Draft of Musselshell E. coli TMDL Document

A project overview, watershed description, water quality improvement recommendations, and E.coli TMDLs and allocations for: 

  • American Fork
  • Big Coulee Creek
  • Fish Creek
  • Fords Creek
  • Half Breed Creek
  • McDonald Creek
  • Musselshell River
  • NF Musselshell River
  • SF McDonald Creek 

5/20/21

The stakeholder review draft was removed from this table on 6/24/21. Public comment took place from July 5 through August 2, 2021. More information on the final document can be found in the tables below. 

 

Contact Lou Volpe with any questions. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Completed TMDL Documents

 

A few waterbodies in the Musselshell River watershed were included in the 2013 Judith Mountains TMDL document, shown below.

 

TMDL Document

Waterbody (Assessment Unit)

Assessment Unit ID

Metals TMDLs

Sediment TMDL

2013 Judith Mountains Project Area TMDLs and Framework Water Quality Improvement Plan

 

Found at:

https://deq.mt.gov/water/Programs/sw 

Chippewa Creek,

Headwaters to confluence with Manitoba Gulch

MT40B002_040

Antimony,

Arsenic,

Cyanide,

Iron,

Mercury

Sediment

Collar Gulch Creek,

Headwaters to mouth (Fords Creek)

MT40B002_030

Aluminum,

Arsenic,

Cadmium,

Copper,

Lead,

Zinc

--

Fords Creek,*

Headwaters in Chicago Gulch to East Fork Fords Creek

MT40B002_020

Arsenic,

Cadmium,

Lead,

Zinc

--

*Fords Creek is listed as “Chicago Gulch” in the Judith Mountains TMDL document

 

 

TMDL Document

Waterbody (Assessment Unit)

Assessment Unit ID

E. coli TMDL

2021 Musselshell E. coli TMDLs and Water Quality Improvement Plan

 

Found at:

https://deq.mt.gov/water/Programs/sw 

American Fork,

Confluence of Middle and North Forks American Fork to mouth (Musselshell River)

MT40A002_120

E. coli

Big Coulee Creek,

Confluence of North and South Forks Big Coulee Creek to mouth (Musselshell River)

MT40A002_130

E. coli

Fish Creek,

Headwaters to mouth (Musselshell River)

MT40A002_070

E. coli

Fords Creek,

East Fork Fords Creek to mouth (Box Elder Creek)

MT40B002_021

E. coli

Half Breed Creek,

Headwaters to mouth (Musselshell River)

MT40A002_090

E. coli

McDonald Creek,

North and South Forks to mouth (Box Elder Creek)

MT40B002_010

E. coli

Musselshell River,

North & South Fork confluence to Deadmans Basin Diversion Canal

MT40A001_010

E. coli

Musselshell River,

Deadmans Basin Supply Canal to HUC boundary near Roundup

MT40A001_020

E. coli

Musselshell River,

Flatwillow Creek to Fort Peck Reservoir

MT40C003_010

E. coli

North Fork Musselshell River,

Bair Reservoir to confluence with South Fork Musselshell River

MT40A002_012

E. coli

South Fork McDonald Creek,

Headwaters to confluence with North Fork McDonald Creek

MT40B002_070

E. coli

 

 

TMDLs Still to be Written

 

Waterbody (Assessment Unit)

Assessment Unit ID

Metal TMDL(s)

Nutrient TMDL(s)

Sediment TMDL

Salinity TMDL(s)

Big Coulee Creek,

Confluence of North and South Forks Big Coulee Creek to mouth (Musselshell River)

MT40A002_130

Iron,

Selenium

Nitrate-Nitrite (Nitrite plus Nitrate as N),

Total Nitrogen

--

--

Box Elder Creek,

Headwaters to mouth

MT40B002_001

Iron

--

--

--

Fish Creek,

Headwaters to mouth (Musselshell River)

MT40A002_070

Iron

Nitrate-Nitrite (Nitrite plus Nitrate as N)

--

--

Flatwillow Creek,

Headwaters to Highway 87 bridge

MT40B001_021

Iron

--

Sediment

--

Flatwillow Creek,

Highway 87 bridge to mouth (Musselshell River)

MT40B001_022

Iron,

Selenium

--

--

--

Fords Creek,

East Fork Fords Creek to mouth (Box Elder Creek)

MT40B002_021

Iron

--

--

--

Half Breed Creek,

Headwaters to mouth (Musselshell River)

MT40A002_090

--

Nitrate-Nitrite (Nitrite plus Nitrate as N)

--

--

McDonald Creek,

North and South Forks to mouth (Box Elder Creek)

MT40B002_010

Iron

--

--

Salinity

Mill Creek,

Headwaters to mouth (North Fork Musselshell River)

MT40A002_040

--

--

Sediment

--

Miller Creek,

Confluence of East and West Forks Miller Creek to mouth (Little Elk Creek) 

MT40A002_110

--

--

Sediment

--

Musselshell River,

North & South Fork confluence to Deadmans Basin Diversion Canal 

MT40A001_010

Iron

--

--

--

Musselshell River,

Deadmans Basin Supply Canal to HUC boundary near Roundup 

MT40A001_020

Iron,

Lead

--

Sediment

--

Musselshell River,

HUC boundary near Roundup to Flatwillow Creek 

MT40C001_010

Iron

--

--

--

Musselshell River,

Flatwillow Creek to Fort Peck Reservoir 

MT40C003_010

Iron

--

--

--

North Fork Flatwillow Creek,

Headwaters to confluence with South Fork 

MT40B001_040

--

--

Sediment

--

North Fork Musselshell River,

Bair Reservoir to confluence with South Fork Musselshell River 

MT40A002_012

Iron

Total Phosphorus

--

--

North Willow Creek,

Headwaters to mouth Musselshell River) 

MT40C002_010

Iron

Total Nitrogen,

Total Phosphorus

Sediment

Salinity,

Sulfate

Painted Robe Creek,

Headwaters to mouth (Musselshell River) 

MT40A002_080

--

Total Nitrogen

--

Salinity,

Sulfate

South Fork McDonald Creek,

Headwaters to confluence with North Fork McDonald Creek 

MT40B002_070

Iron

--

--

--

Trail Creek,

Headwaters to mouth (North Fork Musselshell River) 

MT40A002_030

--

Total Phosphorus

Sediment

--

 

 

Project Contacts

Role

Contact

Email

Phone

Project Manager for nutrients, sediment, & salinity TMDLs

Lou Volpe

lvolpe@mt.gov

(406) 444-6742

 


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Last Updated: August 17, 2021