Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Clearwater River, North Fork (Upper) Subbasin

Subbasin at a Glance

Hydrologic Unit Code 17060307
Size 1,294 square miles (828,000 acres)

Water Bodies with EPA-Approved TMDLs (Category 4a)

Cold Springs Creek, Cougar Creek, Deception Gulch Creek, Grass Creek, Gravey Creek, Grizzly Creek, Marten Creek, Middle Creek, Orogrande Creek, Osier Creek, Sneak Creek, Sylvan Creek, Tamarack Creek, Tumble Creek

Beneficial Uses Affected Cold water aquatic life, salmonid spawning (federal Bull Trout protection)
Major Land Uses Roads, recreation
Date Approved by EPA December 2003
Approval Letter
Date Lake Creek Temperature TMDL Approved by EPA September 2018
Approval Letter

Subbasin Characteristics

The North Fork of the Clearwater River is located in north-central Idaho, running 130 miles from the divide on the Montana-Idaho border westward toward Orofino, Idaho. The Upper North Fork Clearwater River subbasin is that portion of the North Fork Clearwater River watershed above the US Geological Survey (USGS) gaging station immediately above the confluence of Beaver Creek with the North Fork Clearwater River.

2003 Subbasin Assessment and TMDL

Nineteen stream segments in the Upper North Fork Clearwater River subbasin were listed on the 1998 §303(d) list. Eleven of those water bodies are federally protected as Bull Trout watersheds. Based on the available data, none of those water bodies meets the federal Bull Trout water temperature standard. Orogrande, Tamarack, Hem, Sylvan, Sneak, and China Creeks have populations of Cutthroat Trout but do not meet the state's water temperature standard for this species. Hem Creek, however, is in near pristine condition and it is concluded that the temperature regime in this creek is natural. Deception Gulch has Rainbow Trout but does not meet the state's water temperature standard for rainbow trout. Tumble Creek has a population of Brook Trout and it is concluded that the state's water temperature standard for salmonid spawning is being met during the Brook Trout spawning season.

All the water bodies are §303(d) listed for sediment (only Osier Creek is listed for temperature). However, data analysis indicates that only one of the listed water bodies, Deception Gulch, is water quality limited as the result of sediment. Except for Deception Gulch, it is recommended that all the water bodies be removed from the §303(d) list for sediment. A sediment TMDL was developed for Deception Gulch and temperature TMDLs were developed for every §303(d) listed water body except Hem Creek and Tumble Creek.

2003 TMDL: Streams and Pollutants for Which TMDLs Were Developed

China Creek
Cold Springs Creek
Cool Creek
Cougar Creek
Deception Gulch
Temperature, sediment
Gravey Creek
Grizzly Creek
Laundry Creek
Marten Creek
Middle Creek
Upper Orogrande Creek
Lower Orogrande Creek
Osier Creek
Sneak Creek
Sugar Creek
Swamp Creek
Sylvan Creek
Tamarack Creek

2017 Lake Creek Temperature TMDL

Watershed at a Glance

Lake Creek (17060307CL033_03) was placed on the 2010 §303(d) list of impaired water for temperature criteria violations. Effective target shade levels were established for one assessment unit based on the concept of natural background temperature levels. Lake Creek lacks a minor amount of shade, most likely as a result of minor channel widening. On average, Lake Creek lacks 4% shade when compared to target shade values for the Clearwater National Forest breaklands forest and alder-forest mix landtypes. Some portions of Lake Creek have abundant shade that exceeds targets.

2017 Temperature TMDL: Streams and Pollutants for Which TMDLs Were Developed

Lake Creek

Subbasin Document

Staff Contacts

Surface Water Quality Manager
Sujata Connell
DEQ Lewiston Regional Office
1118 "F" St.
Lewiston, ID 83501
(208) 799-4370