Media Advisory: Accompany a USGS Field Crew as they Evaluate the Health of Washington Streams

Release Date:

How do urbanization and agriculture affect the health of Puget Low­lands and Willamette Valley streams? Journalists are invited to meet up with U.S. Geological Survey field crews as they work to find answers by assessing aquatic life in 88 streams in 10 days.

TACOMA, Wash. — How do urbanization and agriculture affect the health of Puget Low­lands and Willamette Valley streams? Journalists are invited to meet up with U.S. Geological Survey field crews as they work to find answers by assessing aquatic life in 88 streams in 10 days.

Findings will be coupled with 10 weeks of water-quality sampling to provide insight on which human and environmental factors are the most critical in affecting stream quality and aquatic life. This information can help decision makers develop approaches to protect or improve the health of streams in the Pacific Northwest region.

Scientists are evaluating stream health by assessing aquatic life, aquatic habitat, and water and sediment quality. Streams are being tested for a wide suite of contaminants, including: pesticides, pharmaceuticals, hormones, mercury, nutrients, wastewater-indicator compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, commonly known as PAHs. Fish, amphipods and mussels are sensitive to many contaminants, notably some current-use insecticides and PAHs. Contaminant exposure is of particular interest because of the potential effects on several salmonid species are threatened or endangered in Pacific Coast streams.

What: Reporters will have an opportunity to watch as USGS scientists assess aquatic life and habitat to determine the health of streams. Media are welcomed to film as USGS scientists perform these important operations and scientists will be available for to answer questions and provide interviews.

Where: Bear Creek at Union Hill Road
Redmond, Wash.
See Google Map link to location

When: Wednesday, June 24, 2015
9-11 a.m. Pacific Time

RSVP: Please RSVP to Ryan McClymont at rmcclymont@usgs.gov if you plan to attend.

As part of the National Water-Quality Assessment, the USGS has been measuring and monitoring water quality in the Puget Sound basin for about 25 years. The Pacific Northwest Stream Quality Assessment is the third regional USGS study, and is similar in scope as the previously completed Midwest and Southeast assessments. To learn more about the NAWQA in the Puget Sound basin, visit the webpage.