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Rick Dinicola,
Associate Director, WA Water Science Center,
934 Broadway,
Suite 300
Tacoma, WA 98402

(dinicola@usgs.gov)
(253) 552-1603
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Lummi Indian Reservation

Project Summaries

  
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WA395 - Ground-water resources of the Lummi Indian Reservation, Phase I - Completed FY1996

Problem - The Lummi Indian Nation is interested in protecting the water resources of its reservation for the beneficial uses of the members of the Nation. Protection from overuse and degradation of quality are the main areas of interest. Concerns have arisen that the present rate of use of ground water exceeds the rate of recharge, and that increased rates of withdrawal are anticipated. There is also concern that the present rate of withdrawal has caused seawater intrusion into parts of the Reservation and that increased rates of withdrawal will induce further intrusion.

Objectives - The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) has recently completed a reconnaissance-level study (Phase I) of a part of the Reservation. This study (Phase II) will complete the reconnaissance of the Reservation. The objectives of Phase II are to attempt to define the geohydrology and to investigate the quality of ground water in those parts of the Reservation which were not addressed in Phase I. Drillers' logs will be used to interpret the general geohydrology. Analysis of ground water for dissolved cations and anions will be used to determine the general water type and may indicate whether areas of relatively large chloride concentrations represent relic seawater or seawater intrusion.

A plan of potential future investigations will be composed during Phase II. This plan will identify a variety of approaches aimed at obtaining a better understanding of critical elements related to recharge, seawater intrusion, and available ground-water supply.

Approach - The area of well inventory will include all parts of the Reservation not addressed in Phase I. The well inventory will include all known wells for which access can be obtained (about 100-120 of the approximately 158 wells that have been drilled in the Phase II study area). The inventory process will include measuring water levels, sampling the wells for water temperature, specific conductance, and chloride concentration, and sampling selected wells (about 40) for analysis of all major dissolved cations and anions.

At least three geohydrologic sections and maps of water levels, chloride concentrations and specific conductance will be constructed. Water levels and chloride concentrations will be compared to historical values.

The Phase I and II data, together with information from earlier studies, will be used to help define what types of future investigations could be conducted to better define the quantity of ground-water available for development, the rate of recharge to the ground-water system, and the future extent of seawater intrusion assuming present and increased rates of withdrawal. The proposed future investigations will be presented as a series of workplans with individual purpose and scope statements and individual estimated budgets.

WA154 - Water Resources of the Lummi Indian Reservation - Completed FY1974

Problem - The water-resources problems of the Lummi Indian Tribe are divided into two major categories. The first is the need for proper definition of the availability and quantity of ground water to guide the development, management, and legal protection of the ground-water resource for the tribe. The second major problem is the quality of the fresh and marine water under the control of the tribe particularly as applied to the development and operation of an aqua culture program. The effects of known potential sources of contamination are unknown.

Objectives - The objective is to determine the quantity and quality of ground and surface waters available to the reservation so the development of these resources can be carried on in an efficient manner, particularly as it relates to the present planned development, and for protection of the Lummi Tribe's rights. It will be necessary to quantitatively determine the ground-water supply, particularly in areas of known present or potential development, establish the effect, if any, of septic tank effluent on the quality of the ground water, and the potential for intrusion of salt water. Define the quantity of water flowing in some of the sloughs and distributaries of the Nooksack River, and the quality of the water in the Nooksack system and the marine environment in Lummi and Bellingham Bay.

A plan of potential future investigations will be composed during Phase II. This plan will identify a variety of approaches aimed at obtaining a better understanding of critical elements related to recharge, seawater intrusion, and available ground-water supply.

Approach - The ground water system study will include scheduling all wells, sampling many for certain constituents, geologic reconnaissance, test drilling, aquifer tests, and potential for salt-water intrusion with special emphasis on the potential in areas where growth is expected. The movement of water in Bellingham and Lummi Bays, Strait of Georgia, and Hale Passage will be observed using float sticks and dye. The flow will be determined in some of the sloughs and distributaries of the Nooksack River. Samples will be collected at various locations to determine pesticides, trace metals, chemical and biologic quality both from the river system and bays.

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