USGS Washington Water Science Center
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In response to concerns that increased use of ground- and surface-water supplies in watersheds in Washington leaves insufficient in-stream flow for fish and other users, the Washington State legislature passed the Watershed Management Act of 1998, which encourages watershed planning at the local level. As part of this planning, stakeholders within a Water Resources Inventory Area (WRIA) need to assess the status of water resources in the WRIA and determine how much water is available for additional allocation within the WRIA.
One such area is Water Resources Inventory Area 17, which includes about 400 square miles on the northeastern corner of the Olympic Peninsula, mostly in eastern Jefferson County. Population growth in WRIA 17 is concentrated in the lower parts of the Big and Little Quilcene River Basins and in the Chimacum Creek Basin. Competition for water resources in these areas has generated a need for a better understanding of the distribution of ground water and the interactions between the shallow aquifer and local rivers and creeks.
To help assess the status of water resources in WRIA 17, the USGS is investigating the interactions between the surface-water and ground-water systems of the Big and Little Quilcene Rivers, Tarboo Creek, and the Chimacum Creek Basin, and defining the geometry of the aquifers and confining units and the movement of ground water in the ground-water system in the unconsolidated deposits of the Chimacum Creek Basin. The information gained from this study can help local watershed managers evaluate water-supply and land-management options that optimize the quantity and quality of water resources available for a variety of competing water uses.