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

(253) 552-1603
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Nisqually Reservation Water Resources

Project Summaries

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WA160 - Water Resources of the Nisqually Indian Reservation - Completed FY1973

Problem - The Nisqually Indian Reservation is in western Washington, is approximately five miles long, averaging slightly less than one mile wide (approximate area 4.5 sq. mi.). It is bordered on the northeast by the Nisqually River. Very little is known of the water resources of the reservation. The Indians are in the process of establishing a development plan for the reservation, including housing developments. An understanding of the present use and quality of the resource and potential for development is necessary for design of a plan and protection of the Indians' water rights.

Objectives -Determine flow characteristics of the Nisqually River and tributaries on the reservation and the extent of salt-water intrusion in the Nisqually River, and delineate flood-prone areas. Determine the present use of water on the reservation. Appraise the ground-water resource on a semi-quantitative basis and define the potential for development.

Approach - Flow characteristics of Nisqually River near the mouth will be determined by miscellaneous discharge measurements relationships to two upstream gages on the Nisqually River. Flood-prone areas will be delineated on a map. Salinity profiles will be obtained in the estuary to determine the tidal effects on river salinity. Present water use will be determined. An appraisal of the available ground water will be made. The chemical and sanitary quality of the surface and ground water will be determined. A special analysis of water availability for housing developments will be made.

WA184 - Water Resources of Areas Contiguous to the Nisqually Indian Reservation - Completed FY1978

Problem - The Nisqually Indian Tribe lost control of 5 square miles of their 7.5 square mile reservation when Fort Lewis was established in World War I. The Tribe wishes to regain control of the 5 square miles, or at least the water resources associated with the area. The Tribe needs an evaluation of the water resources of the former reservation area to establish the usefulness of that area to the Tribe.

Objectives -

  1. Appraise water resources of area; and
  2. Evaluate potential for low flow augmentation by ground-water pumpage.

Approach - To aid the Tribe, the U.S. Geological Survey will appraise the water resources of the area by collection of lake level, water quality, stratification, and bathymetric data for Nisqually Lake; and evaluate the potential for low-flow augmentation by ground-water pumpage by making a well and spring inventory and geologic reconnaissance.

WA227 - Investigation of the Availability of Ground Water in the Vicinity of the Nisqually Tribal Fish Hatchery - Completed FY1983

Problem - The Nisqually Tribe's fish hatchery is presently supplied with water from a deep well and spring-fed stream. These sources are not adequate in terms of quantity, quality, or operating cost. An earlier study by a private consultant indicated that ground water should be available in considerably larger quantities than are currently produced by the deep well. In order to plan for the development of the most satisfactory source of water for the hatchery, the Tribe needs to know if ground water of good chemical quality is available in large quantities.

Objectives -The objective of the study is to make a quantitative assessment of the ground-water resources of that part of the Nisqually River Valley within the Nisqually Indian Reservation to a depth of 100 feet.

Approach - Existing data will be reviewed, and a reconnaissance conducted to locate data points, observe surficial geologic/topographic conditions, and select sites for additional data collection. Twelve auger holes will be bored to collect water samples and water level measurements. Water levels in the holes and river will be measured periodically to determine seasonal changes in relationship. Auger holes penetrating productive aquifers will be tested to provide aquifer characteristics data. The difference in the altitude of the water table and the river will be determined. A two-dimensional digital model to simulate the movement of ground water in the area will be constructed to determine the availablility of ground water.

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