Lower Bonaparte Springs

Science Center Objects

The Issue: The Confederated Colville Tribes are concerned with maintaining and enhancing endangered summer steelhead fish stocks in the Okanogan River and its tributaries. One Okanogan River subbasin of particular interest is Bonaparte Creek where almost 50 percent of the summer steelhead captured in 2008 were of natural rather than hatchery stock. The Colville Tribes are working to ensure enough water in the lower 1.6-mi of Bonaparte Creek below the natural fish-passage barrier at Bonaparte Falls to sustain spawning and rearing by these summer steelhead.

How USGS will help: In cooperation with the Confederated Tribes, the USGS will identify springs in the lower Bonaparte Creek basin that contribute water to Bonaparte Creek and help sustain summer-fall baseflow in the lower 1.6-mile reach of the creek. The Tribes will use the streamflow, discharge from springs, and surface-water/groundwater exchange information for lower Bonaparte Creek basin to develop possible alternatives to enhance summer and early fall streamflow.

9722-DZ300 - Investigation of springs in the Lower Bonaparte Creek basin, Okanogan County, Washington - Completed FY2009

Problem - The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (referred to as the Colville Tribes) are concerned with maintaining and enhancing summer steelhead fish stocks in the Okanogan River and its tributaries. The steelhead of concern for this study are in the Okanogan population of the Upper Columbia steelhead Distinct Population Segment that is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. To sustain spawning and rearing by summer steelhead, the Colville Tribes are working to ensure enough water is present in the lower 1.6-mi of Bonaparte Creek that is below a natural fish-passage barrier at Bonaparte Falls. The Colville Tribes need additional information on streamflow, discharge from springs, and surface-water/groundwater exchange in the lower Bonaparte Creek basin to develop possible alternatives to enhance spring through fall streamflow.

Objectives - The primary objective of this study is to identify springs in the lower Bonaparte Creek basin that contribute water to Bonaparte Creek and help sustain spring through fall streamflow in the lower 1.6-mile reach of the creek.

Relevance and Benefits - This study addresses issues related to water availability in streams of western Washington that provide important habitat for endangered salmonids. The study is consistent with two USGS strategic science directions identified in the strategic Science Plan of the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey, 2007): understanding ecosystems and predicting ecosystem change--ensuring the Nation’s economic and environmental future; and a water census of the United States: quantifying, forecasting, and securing freshwater for America’s future. The study also represents a significant effort by the USGS Washington Water Science Center to fulfill the trust responsibility of the U.S. Department of the Interior to American Indian and Alaska Native governments.

Approach - The USGS and Colville Tribes will measure the discharge of selected springs in the lower Bonaparte Creek basin that potentially contribute flow to lower Bonaparte Creek. During late spring and late summer, we will estimate how much of the spring discharge contributes to streamflow in Bonaparte Creek. This will be accomplished through field observations and surface-water discharge measurements in the tributary channels and main stem of Bonaparte Creek. If access and channel conditions allow, we will collect stream-temperature data using Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) technology to augment our interpretation of groundwater discharge to Bonaparte Creek.