USGS Washington Water Science Center
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The Puyallup River Basin in western Washington is drained by the Puyallup River and its main tributaries, the White and Carbon Rivers. The basin supports several salmon runs and hosts a variety of recreational activities. Communities in the basin include Tacoma, Puyallup, Fife, Sumner, Orting, Auburn, and the Puyallup and Muckleshoot Tribes. The types of land use in the basin vary from forests and crop lands to industrial, commercial, and residential areas.
Studies of the Puyallup River resulted in 1994 in the development of a preventative total maximum daily load (TMDL) to the river. A TMDL is the maximum amount of compounds and materials that the river can receive and still meet water-quality standards. Monitoring data since 1994 indicate that levels of dissolved oxygen have dropped on several occasions, for unknown reasons.
In coordination with the Puyallup tribe and the Washington Department of Ecology, the USGS is studying dissolved oxygen in the lower Puyallup and White Rivers through continuous monitoring, sample collection, and data analysis.