Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Salt River Subbasin

Subbasin at a Glance

Hydrologic Unit Code 17040105
Size  414 square miles (264,960 acres)

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

 TMDL submitted for approval August 2015

Approved E. coli TMDLs – Bear Canyon, Smoky Creek, Crow Creek, Draney Creek, and Lower Stump Creek

Beneficial Uses Affected Cold water aquatic life, secondary contact recreation, salmonid spawning
Major Land Uses Mining, sheep and cattle grazing, agriculture, and recreation
Date Submitted to EPA August 2015
Date 2015 E. Coli TMDL Approved by EPA January 2018
EPA Approval Letter
Date Sediment TMDL Approved by EPA August 2018
EPA Approval Letter

Subbasin Characteristics

The Salt River subbasin is located in southeastern Idaho and western Wyoming. Streams located in the Idaho portion of the drainage flow east off the Caribou Mountains to the Salt River, which in turn joins the Snake River at Palisades Reservoir. Major tributaries in Idaho include Jackknife, Tincup, Stump, Tygee, and Crow Creeks.

2015 Subbasin Assessment and TMDL

Sediment, bacteria, habitat modifications, and selenium are stressors affecting beneficial uses in the subbasin. Much of the basin is grazed by livestock on US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and private lands. This activity can impact streams by destabilizing banks, reducing riparian vegetation, and widening the stream channel. Livestock grazing can also impact the beneficial use of contact recreation by increasing bacterial concentrations in streams. The Salt River subbasin contains historic and active phosphate mines. Waste rock dumps and open pits have the potential to pollute nearby water and impact beneficial uses of aquatic life. Other suspected stressors include erosion caused by recreation and roads.

Assessments identified sediment as the pollutant source in 16 assessment units (AUs) in the subbasin, and TMDLs were developed for each of these AUs. In the Salt River subbasin, excess sediment is primarily the result of bank erosion initiated by livestock grazing on public and private lands.

Nonpoint sources of E. coli in the subbasin include feces of livestock and wildlife. TMDLs were developed for 5 AUs impaired by bacteria.

Selenium listings are not addressed as part of this subbasin assessment and TMDL. Rather, these listings are being addressed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), a mine reclamation program.

2015 TMDL: Streams and Pollutants for Which TMDLs Were Developed

Bear Canyon Creek
Lower Stump Creek
Bacteria, sediment
Smokey Creek
Bacteria, sediment
Draney Creek
Bacteria, sediment
Crow Creek
Bacteria, sediment
Newswander Canyon
Tincup Creek
Luthi Canyon
Haderlie Creek
Upper Boulder Creek
Graehl Canyon
Tygee Creek
White Dugway Creek
Beaver Dam Creek
Rock Creek

Subbasin Documents

Staff Contacts

Water Quality Scientist
DEQ Pocatello Regional Office
444 Hospital Way #300
Pocatello, ID 83201
(208) 239-5010

Related Pages

Table of Subbasin Assessments, TMDLs, Implementation Plans, and Five-Year Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions about Subbasin Assessments and TMDLs